Marine vessels play a vital role in offshore oil and gas
operations. These vessels are the workhorses of the industry.
Picture yourself playing a key role in maintaining the safety,
integrity and stability of such a vessel and the resources it
delivers. If you possess a strong character, good technical skills
and stamina, this may be the career for you!
There are many specialized vessels that support offshore
operations. These include large oil shuttle tankers, floating
drilling/production platforms, production storage and offloading
vessels, tugboats, drill ships, fireboats and supply vessels.
Marine Deck Officers and crew are typically employed by oil and
gas and marine servicecompanies.
What do Marine Deck Officers and their Crew do?
Marine Deck Officers and Deck Crews typically
consist of six positions:
- Masters or Captains
who guide, pilot, maintain and navigate the vessel.
- Chief Mates who
supervise the deck crew and oversee mooring, ballast
control,loading/unloading and night watch activities.
- Second Mates or Officers of
the Watch, who maintain watch of vessel control
- Third Mates or Officers of
the Watch, who maintain watch and ensure the safety of
thevessel and crew.
- Boatswains who
supervise deckhands and maintain all internal and external
equipmenton the vessel.
- Deckhands who do a
variety of maintenance jobs on the vessel.
How do I become a Marine Deck Officeror member of the Deck
All Deck Officers must be certified by Transport Canada. A high
school diploma and Deck Officer Cadet Program from an approved
marine college is required before you can enter a certification
program. These marine colleges are located in the Maritimes, as
well as Ontario and British Columbia. Many employers will accept
two years of related experience as a Deck Hand in lieu of the Cadet
Program. The certification program consists of several levels.
Progression from one level to the next requires additional
experience, training and testing. All Transport Canada courses
offered by marine colleges also require experience at sea. The
higher the level of certification and experience you attain, the
greater your position and responsibilities on the vessel.
Boatswains and Deck Hands do not require certification. These
positions require high school graduation and experience working
atsea. To be a Boatswain, four years of experience as a Deck Hand
What are the working conditions like?
Many companies operating sea vessels provide crew quarters and
meals. You may experience the rough sea conditions together with
varied weather conditions. Worker safety is a number one concern
for the oil and gas industry, so protocols and rules are strictly
adhered to. Everyone works as a team. Officers and their crews work
4 hours, then have 8 hours off with the possibility of over time.
This cycle is every 24 hours while the vessel is at sea.
Appropriate time off is given depending on the rotation.
Do I fit the bill?
Do you think you have what it takes to become a Marine
Deck Officer or member of the Deck Crew?
- I am good at solving problems under
- I am a great
- I have good concentration skills and
am not easily distracted.
- I can understand and relay technical
- I have good leadership skills (for
- I am innovative and enjoy finding out
how things work.
- I have the stamina and enthusiasm to
work at sea on ships and platforms.
- I can follow safety rules and
precautions, and understand their importance when dealing with
potentially hazardous material and equipment.
- I can handle physical exertion and
exposure to heights.
- I am capable of working rotational
shifts, long hours and changes in routine.
- I am a good swimmer.
- I can cope with helicopter travel and
possible basket transfer between vessels.
- I can work and live in confined
quarters with limited privacy.
- I can be absent from home for
prolonged periods, sometimes up to three weeks.
- I believe in team work.
- I believe that I have what it takes
to be an excellent member of a Marine Deck Crew!
Quick tips and next steps!
- Research offshore oil and gas
industry's major projects off the east coast of Canada. In
particular, check out the informative websites for the Hibernia,
Sable Offshore Energy, Terra Nova, White Rose Oilfield Development,
and Cohasset-Panuke offshore production projects.
- Visit career fairs and talk to
offshore petroleum operation employers. Check with employment
centres, educational institutions, newspapers, petroleum-related
magazines and the internet for information on career
- Check Transport Canada's website at
www.tc.gc.ca to learn more about
certification standards for this occupation.
- Check the websites of marine colleges
and universities to learn about the topics taught in their
- Ensure that you are comfortable with
marine working conditions before beginning your certification
- Look for summer jobs that involve
being on a vessel out at sea.
Want more info?
For information on other industry occupations check out