As a Navigation Officer (usually called a deck officer), you'll be a vital member of the ship's management team, and with the prospect of sophisticated and expensive vessels, valuable cargo or passengers in your charge, it's a big responsibility.

While on duty (called a 'watch'), it will be down to you to make decisions on steering and maneuvering the ship, controlling navigation and communications. Using the latest technological systems, you'll have control at your fingertips. In port you'll be responsible for cargo handling and ship stability. As a senior deck officer, you'll be a leading member of a small team of skilled, professional seafarers, including junior officer and ratings. You'll direct and supervise the work of your team - maintaining the ship and its equipment at optimum efficiency. Your ultimate goal on board would be to become the Master (Captain).

What qualities & skills will you need?

You'll need to be decisive, calm and able to inspire confidence in others. You'll be a good team member with mathematical ability, an interest in technology, and good written and verbal communication skills. Beyond that, confidence, enthusiasm and self-reliance are essential attributes. Below you can see the epaulettes (the ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used to show job roles (ship ranks) in the Merchant Navy).

Officer Trainee
Third Officer
Second Officer
Chief Officer
Master