Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked John Harding from ESB to give some advice for people considering this job:


John Harding

Mechanical Engineer


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  John Harding
To be an engineer, a person must firstly have a degree. Having an interest in what you are working at is always half the battle. Being technically minded is also a great benefit.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Occupation Details

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Merchant Navy - Deck Officer

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€21k >  
Merchant Navy Deck Officer
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€21 -  
Related Information:
junior officer: 21k
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2013

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Responsible for navigation, checking that cargo is safe and stable, supervising crew members and ensuring that the ship is fit to sail.

The Work header image

There are normally two main departments on board ship - deck and engine. The deck department is concerned with the overall operation of the ship. A deck officer's responsibilities include navigation, communications, cargo and stability, maintenance and safety. They undertake navigational watchkeeping, which involves plotting the ship's position, giving steering instructions and following the 'rule of the road'. Deck Officers use satellite and radar equipment and computer systems to check the ships position, monitor speed and fuel consumption, access weather reports and input navigation routes.  
Deck officers also oversee the storage and securing of cargo and passenger care, make stability calculations and maintain safety and equipment as well as supervising crew members. The ship's captain (the senior deck officer on board) is in overall charge of the total ship operation and is responsible for the safety of passengers, crew and the ship. Deck Officers work in shifts which vary according to the size of the ship.  
Everyone on board may be required to share in maintaining the cleanliness of communal accommodation and their own quarters. On ships with small crews, everyone may take a turn in the galley (kitchen). They also help with hosting social functions. Senior officers handle administration, legal and commercial matters.  
Sometimes, deck officers have to work in difficult and uncomfortable conditions. Merchant Navy officers spend long periods of time away from family and friends.


Personal Qualitiesheader image

Leadership and management skills are essential, together with commercial awareness and flexibility to meet the challenge of developing technology. You must also be able to show initiative and self-reliance. Team working skills are important. You must be responsible and able to remain calm in an emergency. Good maths ability would be a bonus.

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Cork Institute of Technology
  Address: The Admissions Office, Rossa Avenue, Bishopstown, Co. Cork
  Tel: (021) 432 6100
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: National Maritime College of Ireland
  Address: Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork
  Tel: (021) 497 0600
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: IMDO Irish Maritime Development Office
  Address: Wilton Park House, Wilton Place D02 NT99, Dublin 2, Ireland
  Tel: (01) 7753900
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Maritime, Fishing & Aquaculture

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Further Ed & PLC Course Suggestions
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