Ship's Officer

Summary

Ships' officers navigate and supervise the safe operation of ships at sea, in port and at anchor. They coordinate the activities of the crew and control cargo stowage loading and unloading operations.

Duties & Tasks

Ships' officers may perform the following tasks:

  • liaise between the master and the crew of the ship
  • keep watch from the bridge in watches (shifts)
  • determine the position of the ship and other vessels and obstructions by using navigational aids
  • supervise the work done by the crew
  • provide medical and/or first aid treatment for the crew
  • make sure safety regulations are observed
  • perform designated safety and firefighting drills in emergency situations
  • observe and record the ship's course and any alterations, the weather conditions and the ship's position in the daily logbook
  • observe the ship's on-board security procedures and take part in security drills
  • coordinate cargo loading and discharge operations and maintenance
  • update charts and other nautical publications
  • ensure that all necessary documentation has been completed.

Specialisations

Ship's Master

A ship's master oversees navigation and manages the operation of ships at sea, in port and at anchor. They consult weather forecasts, make voyage plans and conduct equipment and inventory inspections in preparation of a vessel leaving port.

Ship's Pilot

A ship's pilot assists the ship's master with navigating and steering ships in and out of harbours. Ships' pilots direct the speed and course of the ship with their specialised knowledge of wind, tides, current and weather. They are sometimes on stand-by duties at a port with a tugboat so that they can assist an incoming ship when needed.

Working Conditions

Officers may be required to work or remain on duty for long periods. Generally they work in two watches of four hours on and eight hours off over a 24-hour period, depending on the type of ship they are working on. Other duties are performed during off watch periods.

Personal Requirements

  • willing to spend time at sea, away from home for long periods
  • pass a medical examination
  • pass an eyesight test and have normal colour vision
  • responsible and diligent
  • able to work as part of a team.

Related Courses:

Related Careers