Ships Officer

Career information

What do they do?

Ships officers command the vessel and are also called masters, skippers or mates. They work on all types and size of vessel. They have knowledge of running a ship; navigation, control, chart reading and hazard identification. They also manage cargo, ballast and fuel, and must understand maritime laws and safety procedures such as firefighting, rescue and collision prevention.

A typical day

Typically shift work, on the vessel.

Ships Officers may navigate and control ships, take charge of ships when on watch, arrange repairs, fuel and supplies, supervise the loading, unloading and storage of cargo, organise crew activities on deck and organise ship security.

Sound like you?

Study areas
  • Sciences or Workshop Technologies
  • Maths, Accounting or Economics
  • Computing, ICT, Information Management.
  • Confident communicator
  • Good literacy and numeracy
  • Confidence with IT, computers, technology
  • Good initiative/‘can do’ attitude.
Helpful experience
  • Administration, planning or organising things
  • Working with facts and figures
  • Working with computers
  • Boating experience or crewing.
Preferred work environments
  • Outside (marine)



NCEA Level 2 recommended in:

  • Maths
  • Physics
  • English
Entry level jobs


  • Skipper Inshore
  • Watchkeeper Deck
  • Mate
  • Chief Mate/Master
Advancing jobs

Higher learning

  • Skipper Coastal
  • Chief Mate
  • Master Coastal
Senior jobs

Higher learning

  • Master Foreign Going
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner

The logistics sector needs skilled people

Learn more on the qualifications available.

Find out more

Available jobs

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