Seaman Apprenticeship length?

Mighty Mouse

Hello all!
I have my interview in Portsmouth in two weeks time, and am trying to revise and prepare the best I can. One question I cant seem to get a definitive answer to though is how long the apprenticeship actually is.

I know that it is 10 weeks at Raleigh followed by 4 months sea time, back to Raleigh for 3 weeks and then another 4 months at sea.
All that adds up to just under a year (assuming I would pass exams and everything) but i’ve read that the apprenticeship lengths vary from 18months - 2 years... am I missing something? Thanks!

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The Able Seaman Apprenitceship takes approximately 2 years to achieve. That is the actual apprenticeship not the Effieicent deck hand certificate which is one element completed at HMS after phase 2.
Because the MCA (Maritime Coast Guard Agency) require you to show your seatime (12 months after completing your Nav watch Rating certificate) then with leave periods etc it is going to be at least two years.

MSN 1862 - gives full details of the requirements of completing the Able Seaman qualification and therefore the apprenitceship, as you do not complete the apprenticeship until you have the AB qualification.

. Mandatory Requirements for a Navigational Watch Rating Certificate
2.1 To qualify for a Navigational Watch Rating (NWR) Certificate, STCW Code A-II/4, you must: (a) Be at least 17 years of age; (b) Have completed at least 6 months’ seagoing service on vessels2 of at least 15m in load line length. This seagoing service can be reduced to 2 months when undertaking 'special training', i.e. when following an MNTB course or MCA approved course;

5. Mandatory Requirements for an Able Seafarer Deck Certificate

d) Complete at least: 18 months’ seagoing service in the deck department while holding an NWR Certificate, regulation II/4; or 12 months’ seagoing service, while holding an NWR Certificate, regulation II/4, if following an MNTB approved programme o

So 2 months = 12 months + leave + Phase 1, Phase 2 and STCW short course of atleast 3 weeks takes you to around 2 years.

Just to reiterate the Apprenitceship is Able Seaman

From -

Occupation: Able Seafarer (deck)


The training for an able seafarer will need to include a period of time being taught basic practical seafarer and watchkeeping skills and related underpinning knowledge and theory, interspersed with application of these skills during onboard practice and to comply with international and national sea time requirements. Coupled with required periods of leave, it is expected that minimum completion time of the apprenticeship will be around 18-24 months (including sea time).

Qualifications and certification

All of the following are mandatory:

  • Level 2 Award in Maritime Studies: Deck Rating
  • Level 2 Certificate in Maritime Studies: Able Seafarer (Deck)

– together these qualifications cover regulatory fire fighting, first aid, survival in the water, safety and social responsibility

  • MNTB(1) Entry into Enclosed Spaces certificate
  • MCA(2) Steering Certificate
  • STCW(3) Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Certificate
  • STCW Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  • STCW Navigational Watch Rating Certificate (including 2 months statutory sea time)
  • MCA Efficient Deck Hand Certificate (including 12 months statutory sea time)
Hope that helps...

Mighty Mouse

Thank you so much! That makes much more sense! Now To focus on those interview techniques...
Oh, one more thing...
apart from RFA Mounts Bay in the Carribbean and RFA Wave Knight and Cardigan bay in the Gulf, are there any other ships on deployment? From what I can find on Vessel Finder, there doesn’t seem to be. Thank you

Mighty Mouse

Thanks for the reply! I’ll keep that in mind.

I’ve gone through the questions posted and have answers for all apart from how would you recognise a tanker from a picture. Apart from recognising the pennant number as a specific tanker, i have no idea...

Mighty Mouse

Thanks @Canoe, i’m feeling a whole lot more prepared now.
It’s definitely the career for me... I just really want to come across well and knowledgable in my interview and hopefully keep these nerves at bay.