Entry Senior

Marine Deck Officer and Crew

About This Career

Marine Deck Officers are certified crew members who are responsible for the safe navigation of a marine vessel and coordination of all vessel operations. This includes cargo loading and discharging, working with equipment maintenance systems, documentation control, vessel security, supervision of marine non-certified crew members, and maintenance and operation of safety equipment. Deck Officers include the following:

  • Masters or Captains guide, pilot, maintain and navigate the marine vessel. They are responsible for the safety of all crew members and work closely with the Chief Engineer, Chief Officer and other supervisors on the vessel.
  • Chief Mates or First Mates supervise the Deck Crew and oversee mooring, ballast control, loading and unloading, as well as night watch activities.
  • Second Mates or Officers of the Watch maintain watch of the vessel’s control systems.
  • Third Mates or Officers of the Watch maintain watch and ensure the safety of the vessel and crew.

Marine Deck Crew are non-certified crew members and conduct activities such as bridge helmsmen and lookout, general cleaning and maintenance duties, and maintenance and operation of safety equipment. A Marine Deck Crew includes:

  • Boatswains supervise deckhands and maintain all internal and external equipment on the vessel.
  • Deckhands do a variety of maintenance jobs on the vessel.

The roles required on a vessel depend on its size, complexity and type. Some vessels may have jobs that are very specialized; others may be more generalized in nature.

Education: Marine Deck Crew members typically require a high school diploma (or equivalent) and experience working at sea. All Deck Officers must be certified by Transport Canada. A high school diploma (or equivalent) and the completion of a Deck Officer Cadet program or at least two years of experience as a member of a Deck Crew is typically required before entering a certification program. This certification program consists of several levels, and progression from one level to the next requires additional experience, training and testing. 

Employment: This occupation is found in offshore environments and is typically employed in the exploration and production (E&P), oil and gas services and marine transportation sectors of the oil and gas industry.

Example titles: Master, Captain, Chief Mate, Second Mate, Third Mate, Officer of the Watch, Boatswain, Deckhand

Work Activities
Applying Health and Safety Principles
Ensuring the health and safety of passengers and crew on board.
Training the crew for emergency procedures.
Ensuring all hands use proper safety procedures and equipment.
Maintain lifesaving, fire fighting and other emergency equipment.
Applying Information
Standing security-related watches (e.g., gangway watch or anchor watch while the ship is not underway).
Completing Training
Maintaining government-issued certifications, as required.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Maintaining a navigational bridge watch when underway in transit.
Checking to see that the vessel is on the correct course while underway in transit.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others
Posting qualified and alert lookouts to ensure a properly maintained and efficient watch while the vessel is underway
Determining Compliance
Ensuring knowledge of applicable international and domestic marine laws is up-to-date and that operations are in compliance.
Ensuring that the condition and repair of lifeboats, life rafts, life rings, life jackets and other lifesaving equipment meet acceptable regulatory compliance safety standard.
Ensuring that the condition and repair of all fire fighting and other safety or emergency equipment meet acceptable regulatory compliance safety standards.
Documenting/Recording Information
Verifying that all charts and navigational publications needed are onboard.
Maintaining accurate records of inventory and deck work logs.
Maintaining accurate records of inventory and deck work logs.
Evaluating Information
Reviewing verbal and written reports from subordinates to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the vessel.
Guiding, Directing and Motivating Subordinates
Overseeing all activities related to the relocation of the MODU.
Maintain ballast control operations on MODU while on location.
Overseeing cargo loading and unloading.
Supervising deck operations during the handling of special operational equipment.
Handling and Moving Objects
Lowering and manning lifeboats when emergencies occur.
Monitoring and Controlling Resources
Coordinating the stocking of the ship's deck stores.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices or Equipment
Operating controls for the launch and recovery of lifeboats and other safety gear during drills and emergencies.
Performing General Physical Activities
Safely loading and unloading cargo, equipment and supplies.
Performing general maintenance on the vessel.
Maintaining all painted surfaces of the vessel, all lines, running gear, and cargo handling in a safe operating condition.
Repairing and Maintaining Electrical Equipment
Ensuring that bridge electronics, navigational and alarm systems, and lights are in good working order.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
Maintaining all navigation equipment on the bridge as the ship's designated navigation officer.
Training and Teaching Others
Instructing all seaman in the safe and proper operation of anchors, cranes, winches and other deck equipment.
Public Safety and Security
Operation Monitoring
Equipment Maintenance
Career Path
  • Able Seafarer
  • Boatswain
  • Chief Mate
  • Master Mariner
  • Second Mate
  • Third Mate
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Working Conditions
  • Stress
    High Stress Situations
  • Variable weather
    Inclement Weather
  • Road
    Remote Locations
  • Industrial excavator
    Active Machinery
  • Arrow
    Shift Work
  • Load
    Heavy Lifting
  • Standing
    Long Periods of Standing
  • Physical
    Physically Demanding
  • Heights
    Working from Heights
  • Longshifts
    Long Shifts
  • Overtime
    Some Overtime Required
  • Offshore
Similar Jobs In Other Industries
Careers also exist in the following industries:
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Public administration, including regulatory
  • Water transportation
Job Details

Job Category

Marine and Nautical Services




Oil and gas services


2273, 7532

Qualifications + Experience


  • High School Diploma (or equivalent)


  • Specialized training and certifications through Transport Canada may be required.
  • Standard and emergency first aid
  • H2S Alive
  • Basic survival training
  • Offshore Survival Introduction (OSI)
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)

Additional Requirements:

  • A signed medical from an approved doctor certifying physical fitness.
  • Valid passport as offshore work may involve traveling in international waters and to other countries.