Watchkeeper Deck

Find information on training, sea service and other requirements for the Watchkeeper Deck certificate, including how to apply and pay for your certificate, and where to find more help.

Your Watchkeeper Deck certificate is valid for five years.

With this certificate, you can perform the functions and duties of officer in charge of a navigational watch (navigational watchkeeper) on ships of any gross tonnage in any operating area. While on watch, you are responsible at all times for the safe navigation of the ship.

From Watchkeeper Deck, you can progress to Chief Mate on ships less than 3000 gross tonnage, Chief Mate, Master on ships less than 500 gross tonnage, or Master.


Before you spend time doing sea service and training, we recommend you check that you can meet the medical fitness and eyesight standards (including for colour vision), and that you understand the fit and proper person requirements.

A summary of the requirements for this certificate is provided below. You need to meet all of these requirements to get your Watchkeeper Deck certificate.

  • prove you have the minimum sea service requirements for the option you choose
  • complete and pass the approved qualification for Watchkeeper Deck
  • have the required STCW ancillary certificates and the STCW global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) certificate of competency
  • pass Maritime NZ’s final exam
  • prove that you are a fit and proper person
  • be medically fit and have good eyesight and
  • be at least 18 years old.

You must also have English conversation, reading and writing skills appropriate to the responsibilities and functions for the level of your certificate, so that you can satisfactorily complete training, pass examinations and discharge your duties.

Each of these requirements and how to prove that you meet them is explained in the full guideline below.

Watchkeeper Deck[PDF: 2.37Mb, 20 pages]


The application fee for this certificate is $368, which includes goods and services tax (GST)

Application process

This is the application process for this certificate of competency.

Contact us for more help

If you have any questions about seafarer certification, please contact our Personnel Certification team.


New Zealand (toll free):
0508 SEACERT or 0508 732 237

Call Personnel Certification now

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