Officer of the Watch (OOW) Prep Week

OOW Prep

To become OOW less than 3000 gt you first have to compete all of the pre-requisites as started in the MCA MSN 1858, page 6 item 3.3*, these are GMDSS GOC, STCW, Yachtmaster, also you must pass the modules for Navigation and Radar and General Ships Knowledge.

You will also have to have all of the logged sea time laid down in the MSN 1858.
When you have all these things you will be ready to apply to the MCA for a certificate of eligibility, once you have it you will be able to book an Oral examination at one of the MCA offices in the UK, The oral examination takes 1 – 1 ½ hrs. It is a very tough exam, and will consist of all of the parts of the syllabus in Annex B**.

As the time taken to gather all of the certificates, pass the modules and obtain the sea time can be quite a few years, and due to the fact that the syllabus is so in depth, the study that candidates needs to do to prepare for the oral exam is a very big task. Therefore to fully ensure that candidates are completely ready to have any chance of passing their oral exam, doing an oral prep week as part of a group or doing the prep one to one with a qualified and experienced captain/master has become popular with students. This is why we run prep weeks for OOW and Masters students who are about to sit their oral exam. (This is the course we do offer at Zephyr)

There is always something that you have missed in your own private study that you can benefit from by doing a prep course. As well as the fact that the experienced captain/master also has been through the process many times and knows the way to test the candidates to prepare them. Also current captains/masters are usually aware of the current legislation that is constantly changing.

It is highly advisable for candidates to do a prep week as close as possible to the date of their oral exam, in this way they are giving themselves a best chance of passing. The failure rate for the oral is quite high, particularly at OOW level.

*Requirements :

To qualify for the issue of Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch (OOW) yachts, less than 3000 GT, unlimited area , regulation II/1 Certificate of Competency you must meet the following requirements:
(a) Be at least 19 years of age;
(b) Hold either:  

**An RYA Yachtmaster certificate Offshore and a certificate of successful completion of a shore-based Yachtmaster Offshore course* (*Note: Not required if the candidate holds a Yachtmaster Offshore certificate issued before 31July 2003 ; or
**An IYT Master of Yachts Limited certificate;
(c) Since the age of 16 have obtained a minimum of 36 months’ onboard yacht service. This must include at least 365 days seagoing service on vessels of 15 metres or over in load line length, made up of:
**A minimum of 250 days’ ACTUAL sea going service and
**115 days of any combination of the following:
o Actual sea service;
o Stand-by service - A maximum of 14 consecutive days may be counted at one time, but on no occasion may a period of standby service exceed that of the previous voyage;
o Yard service - up to a maximum of 90 days continuously or in separate periods;
(d) Hold an MCA-approved Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) certificate (please link towards our EDH course);
(e) Hold the applicable ancillary course certificates listed in section 5;
(f) Successful completion of approved education and training, meeting the standards of competency identified by the MCA from section A-II/1 of the STCW Code as applicable to a yacht restricted Certificate of Competency, and covered by:
 Successful completion of the MCA-approved ‘Navigation and Radar (OOW yachts)’training module and passing the corresponding IAMI written examination;
 Successful completion of the MCA-approved ‘General Ship Knowledge (OOW yachts)’ training module and passing the corresponding IAMI written examination;
 Completion of Yacht Training Record Book. Note: Not required if the candidate can
provide evidence of 36 months’ onboard yacht service in vessels of at least 24 metres
in load line length;
(g) Hold a valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent;
(h) Pass the OOW (yachts less than 3000 GT) oral examination

**MSN 1858 Annex B Syllabus :


1 Plan and Conduct a Passage Including Position Determination
a) Passage planning with respect to use of navigational publications including position determination, navigational charts (including ECDIS and RCDS), sailing directions, light lists, tide tables, radio navigational warnings and ship routeing information
b) IALA system of maritime buoyage A and B
c) Electronic navigational systems – limitations and sources of error and methods of correction
d) Limitations of electronic chart systems including ECDIS and RCDS navigational chart systems
e) Radar and ARPA – practical use of, modes of operation, limitations, sources of error and parallel indexing, including radar plotting techniques
f) Use of a sextant and identification and correction of errors
g) Use an azimuth mirror, pelorus (bearing plate) or other instrument for taking bearings
h) Sources of meteorological information, ability to use and interpret information obtained from shipboard meteorological instruments, and knowledge of characteristics of various weather systems
i) Interprets weather forecasts including knowledge of characteristics of various weather systems
j) Understands the importance of regular checking of the vessel’s position and action to be taken if found off track
k) Applies variation and deviation to convert true course to compass course and vice versa; understands the basic causes of variation and deviation
l) Fixes a ships position on the chart given magnetic bearings and/or radar ranges and quotes position by latitude and longitude
m) Finds the magnetic course to steer and the ETA at a given destination given the starting position and log speed
n) Knows how to obtain and use weekly notices to mariners in order to correct charts
o) Finds the time of high and low water, and predicts intermediate heights and/or times for standard and secondary ports
p) Find and predict set and rate of the tide from tidal reference points on the chart, and tidal stream atlas
2 Maintain a Safe Navigational Watch
a) A thorough knowledge of the principles of navigational watchkeeping at sea, including under pilotage, and watchkeeping at anchor and in port
b) A thorough knowledge of the contents, application and intent of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ColRegs)
c) Understand the use of bridge equipment, including rate of turn indicators, course recorders, echo sounder and NAVTEX
d) Knowledge of steering control systems, including automatic pilot and operational procedures and change over from manual to automatic control and vice-versa, and adjustment of controls for optimum performance
e) Knowledge of application of ICS Bridge Procedures Guide and STCW Code A-VIII
f) Understand the principles, limitations and modes of operation of AIS
g) Maintain navigational records
h) Knows the principles for handing over and relieving the navigational watch

3 Manoeuvre the Ship
a) Preparation for getting underway, duties prior to proceeding to sea, making harbour,entering a dock, berthing alongside quays and jetties or other ships, and securing to buoys
b) Use and care of mooring lines and associated equipment
c) Helm orders, conning the ship, effects of propellers on the steering of the ship, effects of wind and current, stopping, going astern, turning short round, interaction, and squat, and embarking and disembarking a pilot
d) Action in event of failure of bridge control, telegraph or steering gear, and emergency steering arrangements
e) Procedures for anchoring

Response to Navigational Emergencies

1 Response to Navigational Emergencies
a) Initial action following: man overboard, collision, grounding, flooding or major mechanical damage, and receipt of a distress message, initial damage assessment and control, protection of the marine environment
b) Use of the International Aeronautical and Marine Search and Rescue (IAMSAR)
Manual, distress and emergency signals, and search and rescue around the UK and world-wide

2 Response to Other Emergencies

a) Understand the organisational procedures for emergency parties and drills
b) Knowledge of fire prevention, use and care of fire-fighting appliances, the shut-down
and isolation of plant and equipment, escape and breathing apparatus, fire and safety plans
c) Knowledge of classes and chemistry of fires
d) Use and care of lifesaving appliances and equipment including hand held radios,
EPIRBs, SARTs, immersion suits and thermal protective aids, and rocket and line throwing apparatus
e) Meanings and markings on survival craft and associated equipment; correct use of distress signals
f) Launch and manage survival craft, recover rescue boats at sea
g) Precautions for the protection and safety of passengers in emergencies
h) Basic principles of survival
i) Sources of medical information available

3 Communications

a) Use of distress and emergency signals, International Code of Signals and the IMO
Standard Marine Communication Phrases
b) Emergency communication with the GMDSS regulations

Onboard Ship Operations

1 Pollution Prevention Requirements
a) Precautions to be taken to prevent pollution of the marine environment as required by MARPOL conventions, including Special Areas and the disposal of pollutants
b) Basic understanding of the SOPEP manual, Garbage Management Plan and anti- pollution equipment

2 Seaworthiness of the Ship

a) Understand fundamentals of watertight integrity, and the closing of all openings including hatches, access hatches and watertight doors
b) Preparations for heavy weather
c) Describes the effect on stability of:
i. raising and lowering weights
ii. low freeboard
iii. obstruction of deck freeing arrangements and scuppers
iv. slack tanks

3 Legislative Requirements

a) Contents and use of Merchant Shipping Notices (MSNs), Marine Guidance Notes (MGNs), Marine Information Notes (MINs) and Annual Summary of Admiralty Notices to Mariners
b) Knowledge and application of current Merchant Shipping Health and Safety legislation, and the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen
c) Basic knowledge of relevant IMO conventions concerning safety of life at sea, and protection of the marine environment
d) Purpose and application of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code
e) Purpose of Flag and Port State Control
f) Purpose and application of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code

4 Business and Law

a) Understand the content and application of the applicable Codes, namely ‘Small Vessels Code’5 and Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY3) 6
b) A knowledge of the requirements for musters and drills including fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills
c) Understand the legal obligation to ensure a seaworthy vessel
d) A basic understanding of the laws of salvage
e) Understand the requirements for safe manning, hours of work and watchkeeping
f) Understand the circumstances when a vessel requires a crew agreement

Price : €1100



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