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About this course

This course enables senior seafarers to achieve STCW 95 Officer of the Watch Unlimited certification by the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) exam route.  

You'll receive tuition and assessment in HNC Nautical Science Part 1 units and the NARAS(O) course, as well as preparation for the SQA exams and MCA signals and oral exams. You’ll be expected to engage fully in the learning process and carry out some work independently. 

You'll undertake a two-term course of study with continuous assessment and end-of-course tests in most subjects, plus two written exams in Navigation, and Stability and Operations, conducted by the SQA on behalf of the MCA. Successful candidates are awarded an HNC Part 1 in Nautical Science. 

See career progression chart for this course

What you'll study

  • HNC (Nautical Science) Part 1 unit in Bridge Watchkeeping, Celestial Navigation, Chartwork, Tides and Sailings, Emergency Response and Communications, Cargo Work, Meteorology, Ship Stability, Ship Construction, and Law and Management. 
  • Preparation for SQA Navigation, and Stability and Operations papers. 
  • Preparation for MCA signals and oral exams. 

Navigation, Radar and ARPA Simulation Training (Operational Level) (NARAS(O))

Candidates for certificates of competency as officer in charge of a navigational watch on ships of 500GT or more must complete this mandatory course during the final stages of their training. 
The training will equip you with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to keep a safe navigational watch and to use radar, automatic radar plotting aids (ARPA), electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS), automatic identification systems (AIS) and other electronic aids to maintain safety of navigation. 

On completion, you should be able to:  

  • interpret and use the information presented by electronic navigation systems, including, but not limited to, radar, ARPA, ECDIS, AIS and other shipboard navigational aids to determine the ship's position and maintain safety of navigation; 
  • apply effective bridge resource management principles and apply leadership and teamworking skills to maintain a safe navigational watch. 

MCA Signals exam

Candidates for a deck officer Certificate of Competency are required to pass an MCA Signals exam covering topics such as transmitting and receiving of Morse Code, identification of signal flags, understanding the single letter meaning of flags, and general communications. 

Tutorials and learning materials are provided as part of our deck certification programmes and you must arrange your exam date at your convenience during your attendance with us. 

Notice of Eligibility (NoE) and oral exams guidance

When you have accrued sufficient sea time to sit an oral exam with the MCA, you are required to apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE). 

This form can be downloaded from the MCA website and must be returned with original copies of your supporting documentation (sea service testimonials, STCW certificates, exam pass certificates and ENG1) to prove you are eligible for an oral exam. 

Once you have your NOE you can book your oral exam at any of the MCA offices throughout the UK. The MCA office you have chosen will not confirm your booking until you have received your NOE. Be aware they do have busy periods, so it's best to book your oral exam well in advance to ensure you get your preferred date. 

A Notice of Eligibility is valid for five years from date of issue, and for three years after a successful oral exam. You must apply for your NOE well in advance of your anticipated exam date as they can take up to six weeks to be processed. 


You must have a minimum 36 months' sea service, including six months' bridge watchkeeping duties under the supervision of a qualified officer. (Note: a. this is not the same as watchkeeping service; b. candidates holding a yacht OOW 3,000GT CoC or above do not need to provide any evidence of watchkeeping duties).  

You must also hold STCW 95 certificates in Medical First AidAdvanced Fire FightingProficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue BoatsGMDSS General Operators Certificate, and Efficient Deck Hand before taking your MCA oral exam. If not already held, these courses can be undertaken with us outside of the main certification course. 

You must have a valid personal medical fitness certification recognised by the MCA. 

International students must hold an appropriate English language qualification at IELTS 4.0 or equivalent. 

Course information

  • Next available date

    On demand

  • Duration


  • Price


  • Approvals


  • Career progression

    OOW Unlimited

  • Prerequisites

    See main course description.

Course availability

Please contact our short course sales team for more information around course
023 8201 5066

Contact us

Please contact our short course sales team if you require more information about this course.

Online bookings will be confirmed with joining information within one working day of the booking being made. Confirmation of payment should be received in the normal way.

Please ensure that you follow the booking process and do not enter payment details more than once, unless you are booking more than one course. If you experience any issues, please email

Admissions Team

Normal office hours are (UK time):

08.30 - 17.00 Monday to Thursday
08.30 - 16.30 Friday