It is necessary for a seafarer to hold relevant maritime certification to work on board a vessel. And of course training is a crucial aspect of learning the skills and acquiring the qualifications needed for a career at sea. In addition to this there are also some very specific character traits that all mariners need, no matter whether they’re looking for entry level maritime jobs or are further along in their career.

Of course, the requirements for seafarers depend upon the type of maritime employment a job seeker is looking for - clearly a ship’s cook is going to need a very different skill set to that of an able seaman. However one thing that all positions have in common is that the seafarer’s certifications must be valid, and that includes any that did not have an expiry date previously.

Here we’ll take a look at just some of the certification a few of the main roles on board a ship require a mariner to possess. These are all positions that we’re normally looking to fulfill here at Martide, so if you’re interested in applying for any of the following roles, check you meet the criteria, and then get in touch with us! We’ll start with the ship’s captain, or master, and deck officers. The requirements for these two job roles are generally the same and demand that anyone applying for one of these positions holds a Certificate of Competency or Certificate of Equivalent Competency which is specific to their rank and the flag of the vessel. They will also need STCW (The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers) qualifications in Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting and Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities. Medical competencies are also necessary, as are GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress Safety System) and Designated Security Duties training.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to start maritime studies with a goal of becoming a chief engineering officer, there will be plenty of maritime career opportunities for you as you learn how to competently manage a vessel’s engineering department. An engineering officer will be expected to know how to operate and repair all equipment on the ship, whether it’s of a mechanical, pneumatic electrical, or hydraulic nature. In addition, First Aid at Sea or Medical First Aid as well as ENG1 or equivalent Medical, plus Advanced Fire Fighting and CPSC & RB (Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats) certificates are looked for by employers.

Cargo ship job vacancies often include positions for able seamen. This role entails sweeping, polishing and general cleaning of the deck as well as loading and unloading cargo. ABs also assist in the mooring of the ship and taking a watch at sea. An Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) or Able Seaman certificate is required as are STCW Elementary First Aid, STCW Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting and a Navigational Watch Rating Certificate, among others.

Last but by no means least, is the position of cook, which sometimes appears in vacancies for agency careers involving ocean work. Unsurprisingly, qualifications usually needed include a Cook’s Certificate of Competency or Ship’s Cook Parts 1 and 2, and Food Hygiene. But so too are STCW Personal Survival Techniques, STCW Elementary First Aid and STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities.

One other thing to be aware of is that Security Awareness Training is becoming increasingly required by some companies. Please also note that in addition to the requirements listed above, applicants for any of these roles should also hold a number of other certifications. And training aside, of course for jobs in shipping companies a mariner’s personality plays a crucial part in a successful career. No matter whether you’re a ship’s master or a fitter, being able to work to deadline, resourcefulness and being able to handle spending time away from loved ones while at sea is an absolute must.