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Ship and hovercraft officers

£29,640 Average salary at age 20
£61,360 Average Salary
40 Average hours per week


Ship and hovercraft officers command and navigate ships and other craft, co-ordinate the activities of officers and deck and engine room ratings, operate and maintain communications equipment on board ship and undertake minor repairs to engines, boilers and other mechanical and electrical equipment.

Main Tasks

  • Allocates duties to ship’s officers and co-ordinates and directs the activities of deck and engine room ratings;
  • Directs or undertakes the operation of controls to inflate air cushions, run engines and propel and steer ships, hovercraft and other vessels;
  • Locates the position of vessel using electronic and other navigational aids such as charts and compasses and advises on navigation where appropriate;
  • Monitors the operation of engines, generators and other mechanical and electrical equipment and undertakes any necessary minor repairs;
  • Maintains radio contact with other vessels and coast stations;
  • Prepares watch keeping rota and maintains a look-out for other vessels or obstacles;
  • Maintains log of vessel’s progress, weather conditions, conduct of crew, etc.


Entrants usually possess GCSEs/S grades and A levels/H grades. Good colour vision without spectacles or contact lenses is required for some posts and candidates must undergo a medical examination. Training lasts three to four years and combines taught courses and assessed training at sea.

UK Prospects

15000 Workforce Size
5.05% Predicted growth 2022 - 2027
3170 Predicted Replacement 2022 - 2027

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