A CAREER AT SEA
If you have a sense of adventure, enjoy outdoor life and wish to pursue a career that is not your normal eight-to-five occupation, then a career at sea may be what you are looking for. The Maritime Industry offers careers that have nationally and internationally recognised tertiary qualifications, job satisfaction, a high level of responsibility, good advancement prospects and a wide variety of career opportunities, both at sea and ashore.
Officers, Petty Officers and Ratings man ships of the merchant navy, in three departments:
Deck (Navigating), Engineering and Catering. Harbour craft are crewed with officers and ratings. Training programmes with clearly structured career paths exist for Navigating and Engineering Cadet Officers, and for Ratings. These paths lead to senior officer status and could eventually realise shore-based management positions. A high level of skill and dedication is required from applicants who must meet certain minimum requirements. A basic requirement is that all applicants can swim.
Entry requirements for Deck Cadet Officers: You need to be physically fit and prove good eyesight with a vision certificate issued by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). Grade 12 with a minimum “D” on Standard Grade in English, Mathematics and a Science subject. You must then apply to enrol for the National Diploma in Maritime Studies at either Cape Peninsula University of Technology or Durban University of Technology. Successful completion of S1 and S2 of the Diploma course (one year) will allow you to apply for employment with a shipowner or a port authority. Applications to either University of Technology must be submitted by 30 September to start in the following year. Late applications may be accepted at the University of Technology’s discretion.
Entry requirements for Engineering Cadet Officers: You need to be physically fit, not colour blind, and have an aptitude for working with machinery. Grade 12 with a minimum “D” on Standard Grade in English, Mathematics and a Science subject. You may then apply to either Durban or Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the only tertiary level institutions which offer all required marine engineering subjects. You will need to complete S1 and S2 of this course (one year) before applying to a shipowner to enter a cadetship. You may also complete N4 in Mechanical Engineering at a Technical College before applying to do the Marine Engineering syllabus at either of the University of Technology’s mentioned above.
Entry into one of the three disciplines on board a ship as a trainee rating requires good physical condition and no colour blindness, and you must be able to swim. You need to have a Grade 12 certificate showing a pass and good references as to your character. Structured career paths exist and all training courses completed are usually at the shipowner’s cost. Entry into the Catering Department, requires either a completed training course at a hotel school or training will be provided on a ship combined with courses at an approved institution.
Commercial divers require the same entry levels as Cadets and are usually trained by the company that employs them. For further information write to the Dept of Labour in Pretoria, Cape Town or Durban, or contact one of the commercial diving companies.
High schools which offer maritime subjects as part of their curriculum in Grades 10, 11 and 12 are: Simonstown High in the Western Cape, New Forest High in Durban, and Tisand Technical High near Richards Bay.
For more information see our links page.
1. Durban University of Technology, Student Admissions, P.O.Box 953, Durban 4000.
2. Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Student Admissions, P.O.Box 652, Cape Town 8000