MCA Deck Officer Exam Preparation


Deck Officer (Master or Officer of the Watch)  oral exams are conducted by the MCA. Candidates will hold the necessary pre requisites and have completed the necessary sea time and additional modules (see below). Prior to the MCA Oral Exam most candidate benefit from some training/preparation. This is a bespoke 1:1 product and can be completed online over zoom or at our centre in Southampton. We provide exam preparation for;

  • Master 200 (Code Vessel)& OOW 500 (Yacht) Limited
  • Master 200 (Code Vessel)& OOW 500 (Yacht) Un-Limited
  • Master 500 (Workboat)
  • OOW 3000 (Yacht)
  • Master 500 (Yacht)
  • Master 3000 (Yacht)
  • MCA Celestial Exam for Master 500/3000 candidates
  • OOW Unlimited
  • Master Unlimited


The OOW and Master Prep courses are bespoke and usually 1:1. Most students initially buy 12 or 16 hours. Some then choose to top up. We find three or four 4-hour session works very well, however session can be shorter if required.


Master 200 (code) & OOW 500 (yacht) Limited Master 200 (code) & OOW 500 (yacht) Unlimited OOW 3000 (yacht) Chief Mate 3000 (yacht) Master 500 (yacht) Master 3000 (yacht) Master 500 (work- boat) from Master 200 Master 500 (work- boat) from OOW 3000 (yacht) Master 500 (work- boat) from OOW unlimited Master 500 (work- boat) from Fishing Class 1
Minimum Age 18
Master 200 (Code vessel)
OOW 3000 (Yacht)
OOW (Unlimited)
UK Class 1 Fishing COC
ENG1 Seafarer’s Medical
STCW Personal Survival Techniques
STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft & Rescue boats
STCW Fire Fighting & Fire Prevention
STCW Advanced Firefighting
STCW Proficiency in Security Awareness
STCW Elementary First Aid
STCW Medical First Aid
STCW Medical Care
HELM (Human Element Leadership & Management) Operational Level)
HELM (Human Element Leadership & Management) Management level
ECDIS ✅ (5)
Efficient Deckhand (EDH)
RYA Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased
RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence
RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased
RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence
STCW GMDSS ROC (Restricted Operator Certificate) ?
STCW GMDSS GOC (General Operator Certificate)
Navigation & Radar (OOW yacht)
GSK General Ship’s Knowledge (OOW yacht)
Seamanship and Meteorology (Master Yachts)
Stability (Master Yachts)
Business and Law (Master Yachts)
Navigation, Radar & ARPA (Master Yachts)
Celestial Navigation (Master Yachts) ✅ within last 12 months
Notice of Eligibility from MCA
Sea Time 6 months seagoing service while holding RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence (1) 6 months seagoing service while holding RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence (1) 36 months onboard yacht service. inc. 12 months seagoing service on vessels of 15 metres or over (3) 36 months onboard yacht service. inc. 12 months seagoing service on vessels of 15 metres or over (3) 12 months onboard yacht service as a Deck Officer, inc. 120 days watch- keeping service, in vessels of 15m or over while holding OOW 3000 24 months onboard yacht service as a Deck Officer, inc. 240 days watch- keeping service , in vessels of 15m or over  (inc. 12 months in vessels of 24m) (2) while holding OOW 3000 36 months sea service in vessels of any size, inc. 12 months sea service and 120 days watch-keeping service in vessels 15 metres or over whilst holding a Master (Code vessel 200 GT). also inc. 6 months sea service on a workboat of 15m or over
Completion of Approved Training Record Book ✅ (4)
  1. Not required if your Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence was issued prior to 31 July 2003.
  2. Or 6 months in vessels of 500 GT or more;
  3. A minimum of 250 days’ ACTUAL sea going service and115 days of any combination of the following:
    • Actual sea service
    • Stand-by service (max 14 consecutive days may be counted at one time and no period of standby service may exceed that of the previous voyage;
    • Yard service (max 90 days)
  4. Completion of Yacht Training Record Book is not required if the candidate can provide evidence of 36 months actual sea service onboard yachts of at least 24 metres.
  5. Candidates who have not completed a MCA approved ECDIS course or NARAS/NAEST will have their COC endorsed: “Not for use on ECDIS equipped ships”


The course is a mix of teaching, revision and mock questions. The Instructor will focus on the areas you feel you require help.


Plan and conduct safe navigation
  1. Demonstrate an ability to undertake voyage planning, taking into consideration:
    1. restricted waters
    2. meteorological conditions through interpretation of synoptic charts, and to forecast local area weather, and the characteristics of various weather systems
    3. restricted visibility
    4. reporting in accordance with ship reporting systems
    5. limitations of electronic chart systems including ECDIS and RDS navigational chart systems
    6. port radio information services: knowledge of the type of service available to aid vessels entering ports, berthing, VTIS and VTS systems as indicated in the Admiralty List of Radio Signals – Vessel Traffic Services, Port Operations and Pilot Stations
  2. maritime buoyage systems – IALA region A and B
Establish and maintain safe watchkeeping arrangements and procedures
  1. A thorough knowledge of the principles of navigational watchkeeping at sea, including under pilotage, at anchor and in port
  2. A thorough knowledge of the content, application and intent of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ColRegs)
  3. Knowledge of principles of establishing a safe engineering watch at sea, anchor and in port
  1. Compasses commonly fitted onboard the ship concerned – variation and deviation, causes and effects, siting of other equipment with reference to magnetic compasses
  2. Knowledge of the purpose of correctors/corrections
Ship Manoeuvring and Operation of Small Ship Power Plant
  1. Anchoring and working anchors and cables in all circumstances
  2. Proper procedures for berthing and unberthing
  3. Knowledge of factors affecting safe manoeuvring and handling
  4. Knowledge of the operation of small ship power plant and auxiliaries

Response to Emergencies

Response to Navigational Emergency
  1. Action to be taken when disabled and in distress, abandoning ship, survival procedures, use of rockets and rocket apparatus
  2. Measures to be taken following collision, grounding, heavy weather damage and ingress of water
  3. Towing and being towed
  4. Knowledge of emergency steering systems
  5. Knowledge of search and rescue procedures, assisting a ship or aircraft in distress rescuing the passengers and crew of a disabled ship or ditched aircraft
  6. Use of the International Aeronautical and Marine Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual (Volume III), distress and emergency signals
  7. Emergency communications within the GMDSS Regulations
Response to Other Emergencies
  1. a)  Method of dealing with fire aboard a vessel; prevention of fire in port and at sea
  2. b)  Use and maintenance of firefighting equipment, fire dampers, doors and screens, anddetection equipment
  3. c)  Organisation and direction of fire-fighting drills and training
  4. d)  Launch and manage survival craft, recover rescue boats at sea
  5. e)  The organisation and direction of lifeboat and liferaft drills and training
  6. f)  Understand the fundamental actions to be taken in the event of partial loss of intactbuoyancy
  7. g)  Precautions for the protection and safety of passengers in emergencies
  8. h)  Appreciation of action to be taken when emergencies arise in port
  9. i)  Sources of medical information available

Onboard Ship Operation

Pollution Prevention Requirements
  1. Precautions to be taken to prevent pollution of the marine environment as required by the MARPOL Conventions, including special areas
  2. Take appropriate action in response to pollution incidents onboard and found at sea
  3. Knowledge of the contents of the SOPEP manual, Garbage Management Plans and anti-pollution equipment.
  4. Masters duties, obligations and liabilities, including the keeping of records
Seaworthiness of the Ship
  1. Precautions to be taken prior to the onset of heavy weather, management of small ships in heavy weather, and handling a disabled ship
  2. Understand the fundamentals of watertight integrity
  3. Preparation for dry-docking and undocking, with or without damage – general procedure and precautions to be observed
  4. Working knowledge of stability and trim information

Legislative Requirements

Knowledge of the Following Legislative Requirements:
  1. Contents and use of Merchant Shipping Notices (MSNs), Marine Guidance Notes (MGNs), Marine Information Notes (MINs) and Annual Summary of Admiralty Notices to Mariners
  2. Knowledge of the application of current Merchant Shipping Health and Safety legislation, including the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen1, and the main elements of risk assessment
  3. Knowledge of relevant IMO conventions concerning safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment
  4. Crew agreement, the official log book and laws relating to entries, inspection of living quarters and storerooms, and complaints procedures
  5. Reports required by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB)
  6. Load-line marks – entries and reports in respect of freeboard, draft and allowances
  7. The requirements of regulations concerning life-saving and fire fighting appliances
  8. Application of hours of work and rest legislation
  9. The law relating to the reporting of dangers to navigation
  10. A knowledge of the Master’s obligations with respect to pilotage
  11. Purpose and application of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code
  12. Purpose of Flag State and Port State Control
  13. Purpose and application of the International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS)


  • 1:1 Tuition (can be face to face or remote, over zoom)
  • Tea/coffee and on site parking (or zoom login)


  • Your NOE (Notice of Eligability)
  • Your MCA oral exam


Please discuss bespoke dates with us.


Our Lead Deck Officer Instructor is the MCA’s former Chief Examiner. This is the man who recruited and trained many of today’s MCA examiners as well as set the standards they should follow. If you book our classroom or zoom preparation course, he will be involved in the delivery of your training and will carry out your 1:1 mock exam. There is no one better to have on your team as we help prepare you for your MCA oral exam.


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