Deckhands – Do you have your NWR certificate?

The Navigational Watch Rating (NWR) certificate is becoming an increasingly common requirement for the majority of deckhands on large yachts which follow a commercial or passenger yacht code. The NWR is achieved by showing you have advanced deck skills and completed a specific set of watchkeeping tasks to become a valuable crew member. It also helps to signal that you’re someone who takes their role seriously and is looking to further your career and experience.

What is the required experience for deckhands?

A Chief Officer on a 100m+ yacht told us: “On the yacht I am currently on, we need a minimum of three deckhands who hold the NWR certificate for our MSM/Safe manning requirement. Those who hold the ticket have a better understanding of what happens on the bridge. As a Chief Officer I can rely on deckhands who are already qualified as they can teach the other less experienced deckhands whilst refreshing their own knowledge and training.”

So, if you’re thinking seriously about your maritime career, we recommend you look into obtaining the NWR certificate as soon as possible. It acts as an official record of your experience which can be taken from yacht to yacht throughout your career. Before you begin, you’ll need to be at least 17 years old and have a minimum of six months serving at sea on a vessel of at least 15m. You’ll also need to have completed the four elements of STCW basic training and hold an ENG 1 or MCA accepted equivalent.

What does the NWR training involve?

One of our candidates, a recently certified deckhand, told us: “I completed my NWR training to strengthen my knowledge of the bridge and to prove that I am fully competent at launching life rafts and life boats, anchoring whilst maintaining good communication to the bridge, identifying other vessels and channel markers while at sea. I completed my NWR rating over 16 hours with the help of my First Officer who came from a cruise ship background and this gave me a professional approach to my work. It’s been invaluable to me.”

wilsonhalligan’s Deck recruitment consultant Louise Forster worked to gain her NWR certification and saw it as a fun challenge. She said: “I worked with officers from varied backgrounds and picked up many tips and tricks. For me, gaining the NWR certificate meant I felt more confident when acting as lookout on the bridge and was able to understand the flags and lights we saw along the way, and how to keep a safe navigational watch”.

What you need to get an NWR Certificate:

To gain your certificate, you’ll need to complete a log and prove that you have completed a specific set of watch keeping tasks including (but not limited to): safe navigational lookout, points of the compass, communicating effectively, steering the ship, and learning light and flag signals. To find out more information or to apply to the MCA for a NWR training record book, go to