SQA HNC in Nautical Science


This course leads to the Certificate of Competency for Officer of the Watch (Unlimited), which is a statutory requirement for a Junior Bridge Watchkeeping Officer.

You will be studying:

  • SQA HNC in Nautical Science including Ship Stability

  •  Ship Construction

  • Cargo Work

  • Navigation

  • Meteorology

  • MCA Orals/Signals


  • HELM Operational

  • MCA Orals/Signals


  • HELM Operational

  • NAEST Operational

  • Efficient Deck Hand

  • Signals


Entry Requirements​

You must be at least 18 years old and must have served at sea in ordinary trading vessels, for either three years’ sea service in any acceptable deck capacity OR for two and a half years as a cadet or trainee deck officer undergoing a training programme recognised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, in UK ships or in ships manned by UK senior officers, such programme being controlled from a UK based office.

During your final year’s sea service, six months of this period must be spent on duties associated with bridge watchkeeping under the guidance of a certified officer.

Visa Information



The Officer of the Watch course will involve approximately twenty weeks at college studying an HNC in Nautical Science, plus six weeks for Navigation Aids and Equipment Simulator Training (NAEST), two weeks on a GMDSS GOC radio course and one week on an Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) course.

Included in the period of study for an Officer of the Watch certificate are First Aid Onboard Ship and Fire-fighting courses, if required, at additional cost.

It is not necessary to study both the main block and short courses consecutively – they may be taken at intervals.

College and examination fees are subject to change from time to time. The fees payable at any stage is the fees current at the time of enrolment or application for examination.