Deck (Navigation) Officer

OFO No:  


What is a Deck (Navigation) Officer? 

A Deck (Navigation) Officer is an important member of the ship’s management team. They are in charge of the very expensive ship, cargo and/or passengers on board. The goal of most Deck (Navigation) Officers is to become Captain. 

What does a Deck (Navigation) Officer do?

  • lead and supervise their team
  • navigate a ship safely
  • control navigation and communications
  • use sophisticated and highly technical equipment
  • perform shipboard operations to contribute to successful voyages
  • maintain ship equipment

Are you . . . ?

  • passionate about working at sea?
  • a leader?
  • able to make important decisions?
  • a team player?
  • a good communicator? (write & speak)
  • confident?

How do I become a Deck (Navigation)  Officer?

TETA suggests the following:

Certificate of Competence: Deck Officer in charge of a watch (SAMSA)

It can be obtained from:



Successful completion of S1 and S2 (Certificate in Maritime Studies) will allow you to apply for employment (as a navigating cadet) with a ship-owner or a port
authority. This is a one- year study and forms part of the National Diploma in Maritime Studies.

In order to qualify with a certificate of competence (deck officer) you will be required to complete an approved cadetship of 24 months (or an approved on-board accelerated training of 12 months) and to pass an oral examination of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Additional studies, sea-service and examinations are required for certification as chief navigating officer.

Please note that:

  • Alternative pathways to obtaining the qualification are also available
  • Qualification requirements are considerably different for equivalent positions in the fishing industry.


  • Grade 12 with Mathematics & Science with a pass rate of 60% on standard grade.
  • 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.

This qualification is also a stepping stone requirement for scarce skills such as:

  • Tugmaster
  • Harbour Master
  • Ship Surveyor
  • Salvage Officer

For approved cadetships and accelerated training programmes

  • TETA

OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Boat Builder or Trout Farmer

Is becoming a Deck (Navigation) Officer right career choice for me?

See below for more info.