Level 2 Able Seafarer (Deck)

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Man in Marine uniform

Level 2 Able Seafarer (Deck)

The Level 2 Able Seafarer (Deck) apprenticeship with UKSA delivered  in partnership with the Marine Society & Sea Cadets (MSSC) is an 18 month programme designed to give the apprentice all the skills, knowledge and behaviours to work on a wide variety of specialist vessels in the Merchant Navy and Royal Navy.

No experience required

About Programme

This occupation is found in a wide range of specialist vessels, both commercial and military, be it carrying cargo, equipment, passengers, or crew.

Seafarers are employed in both the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy and the vessels they work on vary considerably in their size, type, and use. The broad purpose of the occupation is to support the vessel arriving at its destination or meeting another objective (such as unloading cargo), in line with the requirements set out by the ships Master.

Key competencies include:

  • Navigation and Seamanship: have proficient navigation skills, including chart plotting, route planning, and the use of navigational equipment.
  • Ship Operations: Carry out ship operations effectively, including cargo handling, anchoring, mooring, and manoeuvring the vessel in different conditions.
  • Watchkeeping: Perform watchkeeping duties, closely monitoring the ship’s position, activities, and safety systems. They will know how to respond to emergencies and ensure the safety of the crew and vessel.
  • Equipment and Machinery Operation: Be knowledgeable about operating and maintaining various ship machinery and equipment, such as engines, pumps, generators, and communication systems.
  • Safety and Emergency Procedures: Be well-versed in maritime safety regulations and emergency procedures, including firefighting, life-saving techniques, and the use of safety equipment.
  • Seamanship and Knot Tying: Have practical seafaring skills, such as knot tying, rope handling, rigging, and general deck maintenance.
  • Environmental Awareness: Understand the importance of environmental protection and sustainability, following best practices to minimize the ship’s impact on marine ecosystems and complying with environmental regulations.

Career options

A seafarer apprenticeship can open up a range of career options and opportunities for progression within the maritime industry. With further training and experience, an apprentice can progress to become a deck officer, they can work their way up the ranks from third officer to second officer, chief officer, and ultimately, captain. Seafarers may choose to specialise in specific areas such as dynamic positioning, marine surveying, maritime law, maritime safety, or maritime research. Specialisation allows for career growth in niche sectors and can lead to higher-ranking positions or shore-based roles.

In partnership with the Marine Society & Sea Cadets (MSSC) UKSA is providing the training for this apprenticeship over 12 to 18 months.

Recruitment options will be advised upon separately once suitable employers have been signed up with MSSC.

MSSC Deck Ratings Leaflet 


  • No experience required
  • Apprentices must be a UK national or have been resident for at least 3 years. EU nationals must have settled status.
  • You must be aged 16+
  • Individual employers will determine their own entry requirements but due to the nature of the role it is expected that candidates will meet certain medical standards of physical health.  Possession of a driving licence is likely to be advantageous.
  • GCSE English  and Maths Level 1
  • Every civil apprentice without exception will need to pass the MCA’s strict ENG 1 medical requirements.

Qualifications gained

  1. STCW Basic Safety Courses: Personal Survival Techniques, Firefighting and Fire Prevention, Emergency First Aid, Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities
  2. STCW Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  3. Certificate in Maritime Studies: Able Seafarer (Deck)
  4. Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Certification

Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking their end point assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.

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