Deck Officer/Navigation officer also known as Chief Mate is in charge of the navigation of the ship. He is not only responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel but also for the discipline on the ship and safety of passengers, crew and the cargo. He must ensure the observance of national and international codes of conduct guiding sea transportation.
The captain of the ship is further assisted by first mate, second mate and third mates. The First Mate also known as the Chief Officer is the most important helping hand of the Captain as he works as the second in-command on the ship. He overseers all the cargo planning, assists during navigation, allocates duties and works for the maintenance and upkeep of the ship to the Deck Cadets and deck crew, ensures that discipline and order are maintained. The Second Mate / Second officer that works as an assistant to the First Mate is in-charge of checking all mails and keeping the navigational equipment and charts in good condition and also assists in navigational watches at sea and cargo watches at port. The Third Mate / Third officer is responsible for keeping safety equipments like -the lifeboats, firefighting and signaling equipment in excellent working condition. He acts in the capacity of signal officer and assists with cargo work. And the responsibility- for all these works to be done in proper manner- lies on the Deck Officer as he is the overall in charge of the ship. Thus to discharge these duties and take work from his team is the work of Deck Officer.
With the globalization and opening of the world markets for the global trade the role of water ways has increased many folds in goods transportation across the continents during last couple of decades. In fact it has acquired the lion’s share i.e nearly 80% of total goods transportation throughout the world. Thus scope of the professionals in the Merchant Navy has increased to a great extent and Deck Officer as a profession is one of the most coveted post attached with the Merchant Navy. This is one of the most cherished professions among the youths from years.
But to perform as a deck officer is not an easy task. One has to be on his toes all the time for the safe journey of the ship to its destination as there is no margin of error in the sea. Thus to discharge his duties one has to be very dedicated towards his responsibilities, brave, and hardworking. Besides the aspirant need to be intelligent, intuitive, willing to work as a team, flexible, patient; have a liking for solitude, willing to live apart from loves ones for long stretches of time.
Those opting for a career in merchant navy jobs should not be sea sick. To become a Deck Officer one has to undergo some special marine courses along with regular course from a reputed marine institutes required to work on a ship as a Deck Officer
Eligibility to become a Deck Officer
1. Educational Qualification
The minimum educational qualifications for pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Nautical science is plus two or equivalent with high percentage of marks in science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. These courses are of 4 years duration. Chennai School of Ship Management offer Alternate Training Scheme (ATS) of three years to become a Marine Engineer/Deck Officer.
The candidate must have attained the age of 17 years on 1st July of the year of examination The upper age limit is also relaxed in favor of certain categories of employees working under the Government of India and Defense Services Personnel.
The minimum height should be 150cms with correlated weight and proportionate chest with minimum 5-cm expansion.
He should also pass a medical fitness test for sea service under standard norms and with eyesight 6/6 with no color blindness.
How to become a Deck Officer?
To become a Deck Officer one has to follow the below given steps:-
As a first step the aspirant has to take IIT-JEE exam to get admission in B.Sc. Nautical Science degree of TS Chanakya, Mumbai
Note:- The notification for the examination with relevant details regarding rules and syllabus is published in the month of Feb-Mar and the test helds in month of may.
After applying to IIT for appearing in JEE, candidates are required to submit a separate application to the Directorate General of Shipping, Jahaz Bhavan, W.H Marg, Mumbai 400 001. The Alternate Training Scheme (ATS) of Chennai School of Ship Management was structured by International Maritime Organisation.
Once the aspirant has completed his qualification then there is hundred percent placement for these professionals. One can applying for the job is the public sector or private sector shipping companies as Deck Cadets.
Further promotions of the Deck Cadets depend on examinations conducted by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), the quality of experience and personal merit. On successfully completing these examinations the candidate receives the 'Certificates of Competency' needed for promotion to the respective classes. This examination is conducted by the Ministry of Surface Transport, in association with the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) Mumbai, for determining the promotion prospects for the officers.
Direct entry to Merchant Navy
Students who have completed their 12th with PCM (Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics) are eligible to join as Deck Cadets. Direct entry Deck Cadets are required to undergo basic pre-sea training arranged by the recruiting company itself.
Deck Officer Salary
Deck Officers is one of the highest paid profession from very beginning. It has some other attractive exemptions also which are not there in any other profession. At the entry level itself, a Deck Officer receives excellent pay package. A Deck Cadet can earn around Rs.20,000 – Rs.30,000 per month in Indian ships and around Rs.50,000 - Rs.60,000 in foreign ships. A Deck Officer will get up to Rs. 1,50,000 per month.
Paid holidays for around six months is the most attractive part of this career. Another advantage of this career is that by virtue of travelling in a ship for more than six months, a person gets NRI status and thus the remuneration he gets is exempted from tax. Besides the promotional aspects of this profession is also fastest among all the other professions.
In Merchant navy ships, the career path of a Deck Officer progresses periodically by undergoing several examinations conducted by the Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India.