Deckhand Guide – How to get a NWR certificate

What is a Navigational Watch Rating (NWR)?

The 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 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.”

What is the required experience for deckhands to apply?

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.

How to apply 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 and apply to the MCA for a NWR training record book, go to

Alongside completing the application form you will need to submit the following items.

  • Certified copy of passport (and visa if applicable)
  • Discharge book or certificates of discharge (original copies) or yacht service record book
  • Sea service testimonials (original copies)
  • 1 passport size photo (countersigned)
  • Completed Watch Rating training record book (link above)
  • Valid medical fitness certification ENG1 or a recognised non-UK equivalent
  • The Fee as noted on the payment page of the application form (£67 – £87 depending on delivery location)

For further help on getting your NWR and details on our current opportunities, get in touch with Sean who looks after our Deck department.