Officer of the Watch (OOW) Unlimited

There are three different qualification routes available to UK seafarers looking to obtain an Officer of the Watch (OOW) Unlimited CoC. These are;

1. Take an Honours Degree, Foundation Degree or Scottish Professional Diploma (HD, FD, SPD) as part of an MNTB approved cadet training programme.
2. Take an HNC or HND as part of an MNTB approved cadet training programme.
3. The experienced seafarer route.

Whichever route you take you must be over 18 years of age and meet the following criteria;

Hold the following certificates –

STCW Personal Survival Techniques – Issued within the last 5 years
STCW Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting – Issued within the last 5 years
STCW Elementary First Aid
STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats – Issued within the last 5 years
STCW Advanced Fire Fighting – Issued within the last 5 years
STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid
Signals Certificate - Issued within the last 3 years

Pass SQA Exams in Navigation and Stability & Operations

Hold a medical fitness certificate – ENG 1

Sea Service Requirements

If you are following an approved MNTB programme (HD, FD, SPD, HNC or HND) the complete list of qualifications will be met within your course programme, as will your required seagoing service. You need to complete 12 months at sea, 6 months of which must be engaged in bridge watchkeeping duties, and complete the MNTB OOW Training Record Book (TRB).
Additionally, if you are on an HD,FD,SPD approved programme, you can earn exemptions from the SQA exams if you achieve high enough marks in your course exams, you can find the full details in MSN 1856

If you are an experienced seafarer, you need to complete 36 months of seagoing service of which 6 months must be engaged in bridge watchkeeping service. There is no need for you to complete the TRB.

Once you have the sea-time you must apply to a nautical college to undertake an approved training programme which will prepare you for the SQA exams. This is normally delivered as an HNC (Part 1) and delivered over two terms, although some colleges are now offering this as an online / distance learning programme.

The college you apply to for your training programme may include some of the STCW short courses as part of this. Any that are not included, however, you will need to complete for yourself. As an experienced seafarer, there may be funding available to help achieve this, which may also cover the costs of your college programme. For details on funding organisations please contact us.

MCA Oral Examination

Whichever your route to achieve the OOW qualification, you will need to pass MCA Oral Examination C (Syllabus here)

As long as you have completed your sea service and have your ENG1 you can apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NOE) using form MSF 4274. You need not have completed all your training to do this but you will have to complete everything before you apply for your oral exam date. Once you have your exam date you can apply for an Oral exam prep course.

OOW Unlimited Further Information

OOW Unlimited

The information provided on this page is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of writing. Regulations are, however, updated by the MCA on a regular basis and requirements change accordingly. Whilst we do our best to keep as up to date as possible, the full details of the requirements for the OOW Unlimited CoC are included in the relevant M-Notices, which are listed below.

MSN 1856

MSF 4274

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