£16,000 Starter - £30,000 Experienced
53 to 55 variable (evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
You can get into this job through an able seafarer (deck) Level 2 apprenticeship. You'll usually need some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent.
You can apply directly to shipping companies or the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
Your training will combine college-based study with placements at sea to get practical experience of working on a ship. The length of training depends on your sponsoring company.
You'll need 3 to 4 GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in subjects like English, maths and physics, or combined science, or equivalent qualifications.
Employers will expect you to have good practical skills, enthusiasm for the career and the potential to complete ratings training.
You may also find it useful if you have qualifications and experience in:
catering, engineering, freight handling or navigation.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to work well with others
- sensitivity and understanding
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to use your initiative
- excellent verbal communication skills
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- observation and recording skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to pass a medical check
What you’ll do
- load and unload cargo
- inspect and clean holds, tanks, cranes and winches
- repair and paint the ship's hull, fixtures and fittings
- test fire-fighting and life-saving equipment
- carry out routine mechanical and electrical maintenance
- monitor equipment controls
- prepare meals in the galley and serve food and drinks
- clean cabins, corridors and decks
- track stock and re-order supplies
You could work on a ship.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, cramped, at height and you may spend nights away from home.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
You could progress to the ranks of leading hand, petty officer and chief petty officer. With the necessary skills and experience, you could take further training to join the junior officer ranks.
You could also use your skills to move into onshore engineering or a hospitality and catering career.