Deck Hand (Wiper)



What is a Deck Hand (Wiper)? 

A Wiper has the most junior, but responsible job on a ship. Their main job is to clean engine spaces and machinery. They may also get the chance to help engineers.  

Becoming a Wiper is a stepping stone to more challenging career opportunities in engineering.

What does a Deck Hand (Wiper) do?

  • clean engine room
  • assist with general maintenance in engineering section
  • help other crew members with their jobs
  • learn and you earn

Are you . . . ?

  • passionate about working at sea?
  • a team player?
  • reliable?
  • responsible?
  • willing to learn?
  • a hard worker?
  • mechanically minded?

How do I become a Deck Hand (Wiper)?

TETA suggests the following:

Certificate of Competence: Wiper (SAMSA)

In order to qualify with a certificate of competence (wiper) you will be required to 6 months approved sea service on ships of 100GRT on unlimited voyages or near costal voyages. You will also need to complete onboard training and have been issued with a provisional certificate of qualification as a Wiper by the Chief Engineer of the ship.

Please note that:

  • Qualification along this route serves as one of the alternative pathway to obtaining higher qualification ( a wiper or engineering officer)
  •  Qualification requirements for deckhands are different in the fishing industry.



For approved training programmes


  • Preference will be given to those with Grade 12 with Maths & Science
  • Good physical condition.
  • No colour blindness. (You will have to get a Vision Certificate for the SA Maritime Safety Atuhority SAMSA)
  • Be able to swim.


  • TETA


Is becoming a Deck Hand (Wiper) right career choice for me?

See below for more info.

Maths Required Qualification Required Science Required