Officer of the Watch (Near Coastal)

Course Overview

This Apprenticeship has been developed in collaboration with employers and we will work to ensure that it continues to meet the needs and requirements of the industry.

The Officer of the Watch (Near Coastal) qualification is for individuals working on a wide range of specialist commercial vessels such as tugs, fishing boats and workboats working close to the shore, in waters designated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as “near coastal” (an area of operation restricted to 150 miles from a safe haven on the coast of the UK and 30 miles from Ireland). These vessels cannot be more than 500 gross tonnage.

Upon acquiring required sea time and additional short courses as well as passing external examination, candidates might be able to progress to Master (Near Costal) under 500 GT.

Course Length

36 months (6 months for End Point Assessment)

12 months for experienced seafarers

Course Cost Maximum £15,000 - Non levy employer contribution (5%)
Apprentice Requirements

The apprentice must:

  • have the right to work in England
  • be 18 or older
  • obtain a Maritime and Coastguard Agency ENG medical (medical fitness certificate)
  • have Level 2 English and Math (GSCE 4-9). Candidates not meeting English and Maths requirements will need to undertake Functional Skills and work towards qualifications prior to End Point Assessment.

Career Options and Progression

The Officer of the Watch (Near Coastal) apprenticeship programme is designed to prepare candidates for operating a wide range of vessels under 500 gross tonnage, including commercial ships, military crafts, tugs, fishing boats and workboats operating within 150 nautical miles from the coast of the UK and 30 miles from Ireland.

This qualification can lead to progression within the maritime sector, particularly when it is taken as a component of an Apprenticeship in Maritime Occupations. Completion of this qualification can lead to career progression to Master of a vessel less than 500 gross tonnage (near coastal).


Further information

Apprenticeship Standard and End Point Assessment

Level 3 Diploma in Maritime Studies: Officer of the Watch on Merchant Vessels of less than 500 gross tonnage (Near Coastal)