Naval Officer Ranks: Deck Officer

Many youngsters out there want to become a deck officer as a profession. We will now in this article give you a slight insight into the life and the duties of the different naval officer ranks. I am sure this will help you to take a better decision on whether you would like to take this as a profession.

What Is A Deck Officer?

The deck officer as the name itself suggests is responsible for all the operations that happen at the deck. They are there to help the operations that happen on the deck. Their colleagues work on the propulsion and the inner working of the ship. This does not mean that the job is not an important one. It definitely is. It requires a lot of hard work, discipline and concentration. The deck crew is headed by the captain of the ship or the master. There are many levels in deck officers and these are chief officer, second officer, third officer, able and ordinary seamen, boatswain is also a position that is available on the deck. Each role has different responsibilities that are associated with them.

Ships are huge and unless division of labour is opted for the control of the ships will become a tough job. Nowadays the shipping companies are also cutting costs. As a result less number of cadets and deck officers are being hired. It becomes all the more necessary that the ones hired are assigned duties that they can do effectively and efficiently. We will now discuss the role of each deck officer in more details.

The boatswain or the seamen act as act as supervisor to the deck crew, they also act as the main coordinator at times on the ship deck as their experience increases with time. The IMO has said that there is no need for these posts in a ship. However, still many ships prefer to go with experienced boatswain. They ensure that the voyage is safe and the cargo is not misplaced. They also keep a track of the operations on the deck. If they find anything on the deck that is not usual they must immediately report to the captain.

The marine deck officer is a very important designation for a deck officer. These officers ensure that when the ship is in transit then the journey goes without many problems. These are the people who ensure that the lifeboats are in place and the people on board are safe. They are trained on life saving skills and handling machinery on the deck. In the olden days these officers were semi-skilled. However, IMO has made it compulsory that the deck officer must we well trained and aware of his duties. They must be certified and trained to be hired.

The officer of watch is another important role that is associated with the deck officer. They are primarily responsible to keep a watch on that is approaching a ship. They are the first to locate hazard and inform the crew. They sight anything that comes on the path of the ship first. Whether it is another ship, an unknown floating substance, a small boat the officer must inform the captain. They are supposed to keep the watch and ensure that the ship moves ahead safely in the sea. Even at night they are required to be very watchful. They have duties assigned to them under the convention of safety on high seas that they must follow. The job is generally given to the most experienced deck officers. They have the whole responsibility of managing a ship and ensuring that it does not meet with any unforeseen accidents. They are also trained on search and rescue operations as they might be the first to spot another ship that might need help. They are also responsible for the safety of the passengers and the crew members in the ship. The job requires training and certification.

Now that you know about the duties of the deck officers, let us discuss a little on what their life is like. The life of a deck officer is much disciplined. They need to report to the duty on time. They must be fully aware of what they are expected to do and how they must ensure that their duties are done to the best of their abilities. The number of deck officers hired on a ship depends on the shipping company, the policies that the shipping company follow, the size of the ship; the numbers also change from a passenger ship to a cargo ship. The deck officers work as a team. They help each other and coordinate with each other.

They ensure that the job is done well and they stand by each other in times of emergency. The deck officer’s work in shifts as it is a twenty four hour job what they do. They can give exams and take up training to get promoted in their job with time. They can reach to higher designation with hard work and training. The sky is the limit when we look at it from a career point of view.

The deck officers spend most of their time in ships. They have rooms where they stay. It is noted that most of the time they share the room with another deck officer. They spend at least three months at a stretch in a ship. At times when they hit a port they get some entertainments and they are all set for the next voyage. They do get to spend three month at a stretch with their family after each voyage is complete. They can also take leaves as per requirement. If on board they fall sick they get medical aid and if the situation worsens they can also be air lifted.

The pay for deck officers is good. The job is a challenging one. Each day is a learning experience. The thrill and adventure cannot be matched with any other profession. They can afford a good life style with the money that they make. However, like all other sea jobs the problem is that they will have to stay away from the family for months. With time a lot of changes have been made in the way the deck officers operate this ensures that they enjoy a better work life balance. The ships have now been updated with all modern facilities and even the rooms where the deck officers stay have been improved a lot. Sometimes the deck officers are also allowed to get their spouse and family to the ship. These combine and give the deck officers a much better life. These changes were required so that good students are attracted toward this profession.

I hope you have now got a good idea about the life of a deck officer and the challenges that they need to face. If you find this interesting then you can definitely apply for the courses that are offered in various colleges. You can also directly apply if you have completed your HSc/SSc standard exams. The job requires a lot of commitment and sense of responsibility. These are the two basic qualities that a good deck officer must have the rest can be acquired and learnt no doubts about that.

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