Third Officer

The third officer is responsible for the safety and navigation of the ship, working in a watch pattern with a bridge team which can consist of second officers, a chief officer and captain. On a day-to-day basis they will navigate the ship from A to B, or monitor the ship’s operations if in port. In addition to this they are responsible for the maintenance of the ship’s safety equipment, with the support of the rest of the bridge team.

At Trinity House, the vessel’s operations mean that there is also a requirement for assisting in the maintenance of aids to navigation such as buoys and lighthouses around the country. At times it will be necessary to work away from the ship to assist in maintenance of major aids to navigation such as lightvessels and lighthouses. 

An officer onboard a ship will generally work on a rota with time spent onboard followed by a period spent at home- this varies with the company but can be anything from a week onboard followed by a week at home to four months onboard followed by two months at home, with many variations in between.

Pathways to this role

Trinity House offers several shore-based apprenticeships.  For more information, visit their site: Apprenticeships | Trinity House

They also offer a Merchant Navy Scholarship Scheme to provide financial support for young people seeking careers as officers in the Royal Navy: Merchant Navy Scholarship Scheme | Trinity House

Deck Cadet courses:

East Coast College, Lowestoft: Merchant Navy Deck Cadet Programme

Merchant Navy Deck Cadet Programme – East Coast College

Southampton Solent University: Deck Cadet Foundation Degree Programme

Deck cadet foundation degree | Deck training | Warsash Maritime (

BP: Deck Cadet Deck cadet | Careers | Home (

Royal Navy: Cadetships: Cadetships | Royal Navy (