OOW qualifications

Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by F169, Nov 22, 2006.

Welcome to the Navy Net aka Rum Ration

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial RN website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Does anyone know what the new system is like for qualifying for a Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate in the modern RN? Training times, supervision, task book requirements etc? Is there any open source document/one accessible on the internet I can look at?

    Many Thanks.
  2. In the basd old days it was whether or not the captain could sleep soundly if you were on watch on your own or not.

    What ever the rules today are I would suspect that is still the acid test.

  3. F169 - the new system was designed to tie in with Chapter II ("Masters and Deck Officers" of STCW 95 - the 1995 Amendments to the "International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers", as defined by the IMO, part of the United Nations.

    This meant in theory that, if you ticked the right boxes, your RN qualification was recognised by the Red Ensign types (or Liberian ensign!) worldwide and - subject to a few extra modules such as loading, passenger liaison and 1st Aid - could be transferred. In practice, it has been a bit harder to get civil recognition of naval qualification, because they don't seem to recognise time on warships as counting towards the minimum qualification periods for certification.

    But to answer your question, from memory, as I do not have access to the DCIs at home, and I cannot find any reference to STCW on the pisspoor RN webshite.

    After 8 months as a YO on Common and Specialist Fleet Time, (different Task Books for both halves and with a brief "Initial Warfare Officer Navigation" Course between the two) and a pass in his Fleet Board, a baby Warfare Officer goes to HMS COLLINGWOOD for his Initial Warfare Officer Course (previously called Junior Warfare Officer Course, X Course, and OOW Course). The first part of this is a week's assessment (the "Nav Sea Week") in the bridge simulator of basic OOW skills and bridgemanship, which if successful leads to award of...

    The Navigational Watch Certificate (NWC). This is a prerequisite to keep a watch on a warship or take "charge of the ship" (although not unsupervised - only if he passes his Platform Endorsement (see below), and has the confidence of the CO, then can he keep a watch unsupervised in (and I quote) a "benign warfare environment"). Because of the beefed-up Astro content of Specialist Fleet Time, and an exam taken in Nav Sea Week, this is equivalent of the old Ocean Navigation Certificate. Your Qualifying Sea Service (QSS) starts from the day you set foot on a ship with a NWC.

    The next level up, equivalent to the old Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate is:

    Bridge Warfare Qualification (BWQ). After 6 months minimum/12 months maximum into his first job, an OOW will sit a much harder test, which can be conducted by FOST staff, but normally by the CO, asking questions about warfare serials, berthing, shiphandling, met and other stuff. If he passes this, then he is allowed to keep watches in a "Challenging warfare environment".

    An extra part of the STCW requirements is the requirement that an OOW knows all about a ship before he's allowed to keep a watch unsupervised. Thus, after a few weeks on a ship (or shorter), any new OOW (including PWOs, XO and even the CO) will sit a Platform Endorsement (PE) test by the CO and NO, to see if he knows the ships systems, can cope with Machinery and Steering Gear breakdowns, launch seboats and helicopters and conduct Man Overboard Recovery. This is just a formal way to record the CO's confidence in an OOW, is class-specific (ie T23 rather than just HMS RICHMOND) and lasts for 5 years after leaving that appointment.

    The final part of the jigsaw is the Command Qualification 1 (CQ1). In a nutshell, after reaching a certain minimum seniority as a Lt (I forget the number of years), you can sit the 7 Command Exams (Navigation 1-5, Seamanship and Warfare 6 - Meteorology) for the first stage of Command. Only once these are passed, can you sit an oral board and a bridge simulator practical to assess your knowledge of everything that you need as a CO (oral grilling by a Cdr(X) about ME, NBCD, ROE, Admin, Logistics etc - practical about conduct of a ship in difficult nav/vis conditions). If you pass this (and only about 30% do first time), and have a minimum of 5 years QSS (ie seatime) since award of the NWC, then you are now CQ1, which is the same as a STCW II.2 award, entitling you to command a MCMV, Patrol Boat and (bizarrely) an SSN or SSBN. It is this that you then take to civvie street and use to drive the Gosport Ferry, subject to the extra stuff I talked about.

    The qualification to command a big ship (CQ2) is a lot more exams, a lot harder oral board and bridge practical but has no extra STCW award tacked onto it.

    Hope this helps!

    EDITED to correct a typo
  4. Please don't acquire the current trend of qualifications that seem to be so prevalent these days.

    Personality removal, completely arrogant attitude to all they deem lower than themselves and a total inability to talk to maintainers in a polite and civil way :x
  5. You're forgetting the standards of people they put on CVSs as OOWs, fishmeister. Normally people who need very close and very senior supervision. Knowing a few of them, your comment doesn't surprise me. Maintainers give me my toy, make it go fast, refit it and work long hours. You're all right by me and can marry my sister any day.
  6. I might not have asked the question, but thank you geoffrey for a really interesting post!
  7. :oops: (blushing!) You're welcome!
  8. Having fairly recently gone through the process, perhaps I might shed some light on this.

    All RN OOW are required to complete at least 6 months 1 in 3 watch keeping to be eligible for the award of an NWC. UY candidates are able to defer some of this through completion of a bridge experience certificate (300 hrs) but the IWO school generally look for 600 hours+ supervised watchkeeping experience.

    The CQ1 command exams can be taken at any time after completion of NWC- indeed fighter controlers (who may be on their first job) get meteorology as part of their course. However, you are not eligible to take the oral board until you have at least 24 months qualifying sea service- which excludes time appointed to ships in refit etc. If you are keen to crack CQ1, the quickest route tends to be through Frigate Navigator's Course, which grants exemptions from all exams, with the exclusion of met and the oral. You do however, have to become a navigator......

    In terms of converting to MN service, RN OOW are required to have at least 36 months qualifying sea service, and are then required to complete a three month chunk of 'fam' time in MN service. This is in addition to the courses detailed by geoffrey.

    Also concur on the quality of OOW on CVS- capital ships tend to be seen as the creche for the less good OOW- there is always at least 1 SPEC (N) to keep an eye on them.

    Feel free to PM if you have any other questions- I have a fair bit of the info to hand, and can certainly find out that which I don't in short order.
  9. Thank you Geoffrey and Bongo - most helpful.
  10. But those exemptions are not exemptions per se any more - you still have to do the full CQ1 exams, just not at the same time as the rest of the RN. You're right about Freddies doing Warfare 6 on FC Course, but according to the DCI (para 2a of DCI RN 32/04 - I brought it home with me tonight!)... "RN Warfare Officers are eligible to be examined in SCE1 subjects 24 months after award of the NWC". On my last ship, the FC2 was refused permission to sit Nav exams under that very rule.

    Methinks you are slightly mistaken about the 24 months thing to sit the oral board - where did you see that? It seems to me you can achieve PCE1 (passed all the SCE1 subjects, including any board) without having any QSS, but you will not be CQ1 until you have 36 months QSS - as you say, on a seagoing unit. And it is CQ1, not PCE1, that entitles you to drive. As QSS expires, that is why the OJAR records "PCE1" as your qualification, not "CQ1".

    The other rule, which is often disregarded, is that "Officers may subsequently commence SCE2 subjects 5 years after award of the BWQ or on achieving 5 years seniority as a Lieutenant (whichever comes first)". I know lots of people, including me, who sat SCE2 exams before achieving either of those, but no-one ever seems to check that one. However there is a get out clause that says that DNCM can grant dispensation to those requirements in exceptional cases such as aircrew or junior MM/PP command.
  11. Geoffrey,

    you may well be right on this 24 month thing- it had been passed down to me by a colleague, and backed up by another. However, I today spoke to one of the staff at COLLINGWOOD, and was given 36 months QSS as an answer.

    Is it now the case that exemptions granted as a result of professional training are no longer valid? I was always under the impression that it was possible to 'bank' exam passes acheived on course, regardless of when they were acheived? If this is the case, it removes a great deal of the motivation to acheive an early (second job) FNO pass!


  12. The exams you do on professional courses are the SCE exams. There is no "exemption", you've passed them already!

    However, how that ties in with early FNO, FC or HM courses I've no idea....One to ask the appointer (although mine isn't best pleased with me at the moment, so can some-one else volunteer to do that!!)
  13. Never a good move to upset the appointer, the one person who singlehandedly can make your life a missery for the next few years.

  14. ah well, i never wanted to amount to much any way and this "shore life" and "relationships" lark doesn't mean a lot to me either......!
  15. Just a little comment for all you 'Rodneys' out there thinking of transferring to the Mercantile Marine - Just remember that all this OOW stuff where you get help - Watch on deck, lookouts, coffee making, signalman, quartermaster, 2nd OOW, bridge messenger, duty fixer (of most anything) and a lot of ships these days the Engine room shuts down before dinner! so you get to watch the dials too - YOU get to do the whole damn lot except that you may get a lookout at night (he too is doing fire checks etc for the duration of his watch so I'd say you only have him for 80% of the watch). this may explain why the opposition to 'rodney' OOWs who can only take charge but don't actually do anything! Oh and yes as well as the above you actual have to navigate the ship during your watch including collision avoidance (the other watchkeeper on a small ship may actually be the Master (Captain) himself - he won't take to kindly to be woken up to alter a couple of degrees to avoid another ship). Actually the best ex RN to take over as OOW on a Merchant ship is an ex Killick or PO - they still know how to work! I know because I did!
  16. I comiserate with your appointer issue - I've managed to fall out with my 1RO, which is potentially much more serious!

    Regarding exemptions, Para 1i of the DCI says that "exemptions awarded prior to 1 Apr 04 will remain extant." So it looks like you're OK!
  17. Safe walrus, sounds like you should get along like a house on fire with Slim.

    No doubt before you left the RN you were fully qualified to be an OOW during Flyexs; CASEXs, ADEX 323s, that your blind pilotage skills would safely take a frigate into Guzz etc etc. As much as the RN introduced equivalency for some Merchant Marine quals I doubt many officers would bother joining the merchant navy trogging around from A to B for the rest of eternity. For most they have made the decision when they went to the AIB. You chose the Eddie Stobart, I suspect most warfare officers prefer the Maclaren Mercedes option. You know, 30kts through the Channel as opposed to half that. Its horses for courses.
    Besides, dont know when you were last at sea but it doesnt sound as though it was in a type 23 or MCMV.
  18. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    F169 - That made me smile - I think they must be brothers!! It never ceases to amaze me as to what some people think about Bridge Watchkeepers etc - the only people that I know who do understand are those who actually form part of the team.. and I include the Ops Room team in this.
  19. Considering though the ammount of automation particularly on a merchant marine ship bridge the work load isn't that bad, one still has time to make coffee and call the relief.
  20. In my day the OOW only reported contacts to the CO if they fell within the limits laid down in Standing Orders. If avoiding action was required the captain would be informed of your plans, I only twice called the captain to the bridge once for a fishing boat that altered onto a collision course, and the other occasion was for a ship which started behaving erratically as we approached the Cunbrae gap, NUC lights came on as he got to the bridge, steering gear failure. I do remeber once making the report 'fishing boats from green 30 to red 90, intend feeling my way through' captain mumbled back up the voice pipe OK.

Share This Page