Level 4

(Also known as Deck Watch Rating (DWR), STCW Able Seafarer Deck (AB Deck))

Study maritime crewing to become a Deck Watch Rating (DWR)

Gain the skills and knowledge required to work as crew on general commercial vessels or cruise ships or train towards being a navigation officer and be well prepared for a rewarding career in a global industry.

Programme highlights

Turn your experience into a globally recognised licence.

If you are new to the industry with no experience and want to become a Deck Watch Rating (DWR) or start your training towards becoming a navigation officer, this is the programme for you.

You'll gain the skills and knowledge required to work as crew on general commercial or passenger vessels. You will learn about shipping operations, shipboard practice and survival at sea.

You may find yourself working on a wide range of foreign-going ships from cruise liners, ferries and container vessels, through to support vessels in the oil and gas industry. You will carry out crewing duties at a support level to watchkeepers and masters, and be well prepared for a rewarding career in a global industry.

This qualification leads to a Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) certificate. Expand for more detail.

You need to complete this qualification including sea time (two months) and your MNZ approved Training Record Book (TRB), before applying to MNZ for a:

With further sea time (12 months as a DWR) you could apply to MNZ for a:

Award of the MNZ DWR or AB Deck certificate of competency will also require the completion of:

  • Sea service
  • MNZ medical fitness certificate
  • Eyesight test (including for colour vision)
  • Fit and proper person check
  • Final exam
  • Ancillary certificates
  • Steering certificate.

See maritimenz.govt.nz for all requirements needed before you apply.

If you want to become a navigation officer you can continue onto further study with the New Zealand Diploma in Nautical Science (Level 6).

This is an internationally recognised programme, meeting the standards of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) STCW code (Standard for Training and Certification for Watchkeepers), (regulation II/5).

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


Open entry for domestic students

There are no academic requirements that need to be met to enter this programme.

International students: English language entry requirements

For the minimum English language requirements refer to the requirements set out in the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/providers-partners/qa-system-for-teos/english-international-students/

International students will generally be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency, for this programme an IELTS General or Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 is required. Equivalent acceptable evidence can be seen at the following NZQA link:  https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/about-us/our-role/legislation/nzqa-rules/nzqf-related-rules/the-table/

Important information

Entry to this qualification is open but completion does not guarantee the award of a Maritime New Zealand licence.

All persons wishing to qualify for a seafarer licence must also check the Maritime New Zealand prior certification and minimum service requirements for that licence. Also: Seafarers Framework which outlines medical fitness requirements https://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/rules/part-34/default.asp and Maritime New Zealand Part 34:Medical Standards https://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/rules/part-34/Part34-maritime-rule.pdf.


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You will complete your test in one day, plus get free online tuition to help you succeed. We offer paper-based or computer-delivered IELTS. Choose computer-delivered IELTS and get your results in 3-5 days.

Give yourself credit with Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Did you know you can use the knowledge and experience you already have to your advantage?

Your previous work experience and on-the-job skills, volunteering, professional development, and other providers’ qualifications can be recognised as prior learning, matched against credits in our courses, and put towards your qualification – potentially saving you money and possibly helping you to complete your qualification faster Learn more.

Programme structure

Programme structure

You will need to complete five compulsory courses as well as the courses from your chosen strand (60 credits):

Compulsory courses

Level 2

942.212 STCW Basic Safety training – Basic Sea Survival (Personal Survival Techniques) (5 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response on board a vessel.

942.213 STCW Basic Safety Training – Basic First Aid (Elementary First Aid) (5 credits)

Apply safe work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response to first aid on board a vessel.

942.214 STCW Basic Safety training – Personal safety and Social Responsibility (3 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable work practices, demonstrate effective communication and emergency response on board a vessel.

942.215 Proficiency in Security Awareness (2 credits)

Providing knowledge, understanding and proficiency to personnel intending to work on ships who will not have any designated security duties.

Level 4

942.459 STCW Basic Safety Training – Basic Fire Fighting (Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention) (5 credits)

Apply safe work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response to a fire on board a vessel.

Courses related to your chosen strand

Deck Crew

Level 3

942.342 Vessel Operations and Maintenance (5 credits)

Contribute as a deck hand to shipboard maintenance and repair.

Level 4

942.461 Assist Bridge Watchkeeping (20 credits)

Contribute to a safe navigational watch.

942.462 Cargo Operations and Storing (5 credits)

Contribute to handling of cargo and stores.

942.463 Assist Deck Watchkeeping (5 credits)

Contribute to the safe operation of deck equipment and machinery.

942.464 Proficiency in Survival Craft (PISC) (5 credits)

Operate survival craft and rescue boats.

Optional course

942.477 Marine Dangerous Goods (5 credits)

To develop student’s knowledge of the principles involved in ship operations carrying hazardous cargoes in solid or bulk form.

Do you want to study a single course, without enrolling into the full programme?

Courses within some of our programmes may be offered as an individual Certificate of Proficiency (COP). Programme entry requirements and course fees apply. For more information, please speak to our friendly Ask Me! team.

Careers and pathways

Further training or study

If you want to become a deck (nautical) officer you can continue onto further study with:

Upon successful completion of this programme, you can pathway onto a Chief Mate or Master of a vessel with a:

Career opportunities

Combined with sea time, this certificate leads to careers as Deck Watch Rating (DWR).

Completion of this certificate leads to entry into the New Zealand Diploma in Nautical Science (Level 6).

DWR trainee, DWR qualified (after two months at sea) and AB qualified (after 14 months at sea).

For potential salaries visit careers.govt.nz.

Free study for the first year of your Level 3 or above qualification may be available under the government’s fees-free study scheme. Visit feesfree.govt.nz for eligibility criteria and more information. Students must be eligible to study as a domestic student. All free study is subject to funding confirmation. Proof of residency status required. Entry criteria, and some costs, may also apply. Eligibility for student allowances or student loans may vary. Contact StudyLink for more information.

Information is correct as at 29 November 2023. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2024 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2024 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2024 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here www.manukau.ac.nz/cssf. Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2024 are based on the 2023 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2024. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology is part of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. Te Pūkenga is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.