Overview top

This is MCA approved 32* week programme covering the underpinning knowledge and short courses required to qualify for an Officer of the Watch (OOW) (Unlimited) Certificate of Competency.

bridge simulator


This course can be attended in two parts. 

The first part (approximately 12 weeks) can be studied in the comfort of your own home via remote learning on MS Teams.  Candidates will follow a normal timetable and will be learning alongside other candidates attending at the college.  With our facilitates it will allow you to interact with students from all over the world and the students attending face to face.  Additional academic tutorials will be given to enhance the remote learning.

For the second part of the course you will attend face to face lessons in the college.

Delegates will study towards an SQA Advanced Certificate which will cover the academic underpinning knowledge required for certification.  The course consists of two 12 week modules.

Module 1 – attended remotely

  • Celestial Navigation 
  • Navigational Mathematics & Science
  • Ship Construction
  • Emergency Response & Communication
  • Marine Law & Management
  • Meteorology

Module 2

  • Chartwork & Tides
  • Ship Stability
  • Cargo Operations
  • Bridge Watchkeeping
  • Nautical Science Graded Unit 1

During the academics to support your learning we will endeavor fully utilise all our world class resources, including our state of the art ship simulators, ‘live ship’ cargo software, meteorological instruments, ships compasses and our chartrooms.  We also have great links with companies at the Port of Tyne so ship and port visits are frequently on the agenda.

After completing the Advanced Certificate delegates will attend external MCA/SQA examinations in Navigation and Stability & Operations.

The fee for the programme includes HELM Operations and two weeks of MCA oral preparation.

The programme also consists of two required short courses and MCA signals exam, although an additional fee is required:

  • Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) – A steering Certificate is also required to hold this qualification
  • Navigation Aids and Equipment Simulator Training (NAEST) Operations.  This course includes an MCA approved ECDIS Course.
  • The MCA Signals examination (and associated signals course) is included in the programme

At the end of the programme you will attend two weeks of MCA oral preparation prior to your MCA oral exam. This course is specifically designed to cover the orals syllabus and each lecture is taught by a subject specific lecturer who will utilise our world class facilities and resources to their fullest extent.  You will also spend a day at our Marine Offshore Safety Training Centre getting hands experience of survival equipment and fire fighting appliances from our expert team.

All of the above courses are all part of the programme so you will be automatically enrolled.

In addition to the above, candidates must be in possession of the following short course certificates before the Certificate of Competency can be issued by the MCA.

  • GMDSS General Operators Certificate
  • STCW Advanced Fire Fighting
  • STCW Medical First Aid Onboard Ship

These courses are not part of the course of study and it is recommended that you complete these courses before commencing the full programme, although these courses can be completed during your time here.

To view our impressive facilities, take a look round our virtual tour here: 

Entry Requirements top

The MCA regulations require a candidate:

  • To be not less than 19 years of age
  • To have at least 36 months of qualifying sea service in an acceptable deck capacity with testimonials which show that at least 6 months have been spent on bridge duties.
  • To have discharge book entries verifying sea service.

A candidate who does not have a discharge book will need to obtain documentation from their shipping company verifying their sea service. 

It is the responsibility of candidates to ensure that all entry requirements for the course and the issue of a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) by the MCA are met prior to attending the course.

For sea time assessment a candidate may log onto the MCA's website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/maritime-and-coastguard-agency

Assessment top

For the Advanced Certificate all the assessments are internal and college based, with the MCA signals examination carried out in the college by MCA approved examiners.

The MCA/SQA written examinations are externally moderated and are hosted within the college.

The MCA oral exam is conducted by MCA examiners at the MCA North East Exam Centre located within the College.

Professional Opportunities top

With further sea service and experience candidates can progress onto further certification, including Chief Mates (Unlimited) and associated academics.

Further Information top

To apply for this course e-mail nautical.studies@stc.ac.uk for more information and an application form.

For UK students a £500 deposit is required and a deposit of £1000 for Non-UK students to reserve your place on the course (subject to availability).  For overseas students full payment will be required before a CAS (if required for this course) will be issued.

Any fees paid by Bankers Draft should be made payable to Tyne Coast College.

Accommodation is available in the college at Dr Winterbottom Hall or in private lodgings. For full details please refer to the separate information sheet or contact Dr Winterbottom Hall.  Please telephone: +44 (0)191 427 3666 or email DWH@stc.ac.uk for more information. http://www.stc.ac.uk/page/halls-residence


COVID Update

Covid-19 has challenged the delivery of professional programmes, but here at South Shields Marine School we have developed our professional standards for academic delivery with an effective approach to your programme of study which includes safe face-to-face teaching. This involves careful timetabling to dedicate each group (bubble) to a single classroom to prevent excessive movement and contact with others. Hand sanitiser and face coverings (masks) will be provided. Start times, coffee breaks, lunch and end times will be staggered as far as possible. Classroom windows will be open to increase fresh air flow.

Should there be a re-introduction of restrictions by the Government then we are also prepared to continue to deliver your programmes remotely.

The Curriculum Leaders remain active and will be meeting you during the first week to say hello, along with all of the lecturing team who will guide your learning and help with your assessments.  

In the coming months before commencing your studies please contact the marine administration office if you require any further guidance before joining us at nautical.studies@stc.ac.uk or telephone 0191 427 3592. 


Dates & Fees

Contact us for current course dates and fees.