Deck Officer

Navigating global waters with professionalism and expertise


A Deck Officer, also known as a Navigation Officer, is a professional responsible for the safe navigation and operation of a ship. Deck officers are an essential part of the maritime industry and play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the vessel, crew, and cargo.

The primary responsibility of a Deck Officer is to navigate the ship, both at sea and in port. They are skilled in using navigational instruments, charts, and electronic systems to plot the ship's course, determine its position, and ensure that it follows the intended route. Deck Officers must have a thorough understanding of maritime laws, regulations, and international conventions to ensure compliance and prevent accidents.

Deck Officers also oversee the maintenance and operation of deck equipment and systems, such as lifeboats, davits, mooring equipment, and firefighting apparatus. They conduct regular inspections, ensure the proper functioning of safety equipment, and provide training to the crew on emergency procedures.

Additionally, Deck Officers are responsible for supervising the loading, stowage, and discharge of cargo, ensuring it is properly secured and distributed on the ship. They collaborate closely with other crew members, including the engineering department, to ensure smooth operations and resolve any technical issues that may arise.



To become a Deck Officer, typically known as a Navigation Officer or a Deck Cadet, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria and complete specific training and certification. While the specific requirements may vary slightly depending on the country and maritime regulations, here is a general overview of the eligibility criteria:

  • Age: You should be at least 18 years old to join as a Deck Cadet or undergo training to become a Deck Officer of 12 months. Some countries may have specific age requirements, so it's essential to check with the relevant maritime authority.
  • Education: A high school diploma or an equivalent qualification is typically required to pursue a career as a Deck Officer. The students can enrol in B.Sc in Nautical Science which is a three-year degree programme. 
  • Physical Fitness: You should be in good health and meet the medical standards set by the maritime authority or relevant institutions. This requirement ensures that you can handle the physical demands of the job and be able to cope with emergencies at sea.
  • Eyesight and Colour Vision: Good eyesight is crucial for a Deck Officer. You must have 20/20 vision and should not be colour blind. Certain visual acuity and colour vision tests may be conducted during the medical examination.
  • Maritime Training and Certification: To become a Deck Officer, you will need to undergo structured maritime training and obtain the necessary certifications. The training typically includes academic studies in subjects such as navigation, seamanship, meteorology, maritime law, and ship handling. You will also need to complete practical training at sea, usually as a Deck Cadet on board a ship.
  • Certification Requirements: Upon completion of the necessary training, you will need to pass the relevant examinations and obtain the appropriate certifications. The certifications may vary depending on the country and the level of officer you aspire to become. Examples of certifications include Officer of the Watch (OOW), Chief Mate, and ultimately, Master (Captain).

It's important to note that the maritime industry is regulated by international conventions, national laws, and maritime authorities. The specific requirements for becoming a Deck Officer may vary between countries and regions. 

Job Roles

The job roles of a Deck Officer vary depending on the rank and type of vessel they serve on. Here are some common job roles and responsibilities of a Deck Officer:

  • Navigational Duties
  • Watchkeeping
  • Safety and Emergency Response
  • Cargo Operations
  • Maintenance and Inspections
  • Communication and Documentation
  • Bridge Team Management
  • Nautical Planning and Regulations
  • Training and Mentoring

Top Recruiters

In India, several maritime companies and organisations recruit Deck Officers. Here are some of the top recruiters in India for Deck Officers:

  • Shipping Corporation of India (SCI)
  • Great Eastern Shipping Company (GE Shipping)
  • Fleet Management Limited
  • Anglo-Eastern Ship Management
  • Essar Shipping
  • V.Ships India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Executive Ship Management (ESM)
  • MOL Maritime (India) Pvt. Ltd.
  • Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (India) Pvt. Ltd.
  • Synergy Maritime Recruitment Services Pvt. Ltd.
  • NYK Shipmanagement Pvt. Ltd.
  • Dynacom Tankers Management Pvt. Ltd.
  • Wallem Ship Management (India) Pvt. Ltd.
  • Univan Ship Management Limited
  • MMS Maritime (India) Pvt. Ltd.

These companies are renowned in the maritime industry and often recruit Deck Officers for various types of vessels, including bulk carriers, tankers, container ships, and offshore support vessels. It is advisable to check their respective websites or contact their recruitment departments for current job openings and application procedures.



The salary of a deck officer can vary depending on several factors such as experience and the specific area of expertise within maritime. Here are some general salary ranges for a deck officer:


Level of Salary

Annual Level Salary 

Starting Salary

Approx ₹300,000 to ₹600,000

Mid Level Salary

Approx ₹600,000 to ₹10,00,000

Senior Level Salary

Approx ₹18,00,000


  • Navigation Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Leadership and Teamwork
  • Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
  • Attention to Detail
  • Adaptability and Resilience
  • Knowledge of Regulations and Safety Standards
  • Problematic Seamanship Skills
  • Cultural Sensitivity and Multicultural Awareness
  • Continuous Learning and Professional Development


The career scope of a Deck Officer offers a wide range of opportunities and growth in the maritime industry. Deck Officers can pursue a rewarding and fulfilling career path with various options for specialisation and advancement.

Continuous professional development is vital for Deck Officers to stay abreast of industry advancements, regulatory changes, and emerging technologies. By pursuing additional certifications, advanced training programs, and specialised courses, Deck Officers can enhance their skills and knowledge, opening doors to new career opportunities and higher-level positions.

The global nature of the maritime industry also provides the opportunity for international career prospects. Deck Officers can work on vessels that sail worldwide, gaining exposure to diverse cultures, ports, and trade routes. This international experience broadens their horizons and opens doors to global employment opportunities.


  • Exciting and Dynamic Career: Being a Deck Officer offers the opportunity to work in a dynamic and ever-changing environment. 
  • Travel Opportunities: Deck Officers have the chance to travel to different parts of the world, visiting various ports and experiencing diverse cultures. 
  • Lucrative Salary and Benefits: Deck Officers are often well-compensated for their skills and responsibilities. They typically enjoy competitive salaries, benefits such as accommodation and meals provided onboard, and opportunities for bonuses or incentives.
  • Career Growth and Advancement: The maritime industry offers ample opportunities for career growth and advancement. With experience and additional certifications, Deck Officers can progress to higher ranks.
  • Job Security: The demand for qualified Deck Officers remains steady in the maritime industry.


  • Extended Time Away from Home: Deck Officers often spend extended periods away from home, which can lead to a challenging work-life balance. 
  • Demanding Work Schedule: Deck Officers work in shifts or watches, which means they have irregular working hours. This can lead to fatigue and disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Isolation and Limited Social Life: Spending extended periods at sea can result in a sense of isolation and limited social interactions. 
  • Physically Demanding Environment: The maritime industry is physically demanding. Deck Officers are exposed to harsh weather conditions, long hours on their feet, and heavy lifting. They need to maintain a good level of physical fitness.
  • Potential Risks and Safety Concerns: The nature of working at sea carries inherent risks, such as rough seas, extreme weather conditions, or potential accidents.