Study maritime crewing to become a Deck Watch Rating (DWR)

New Zealand Certificate in Maritime Crewing (Level 4) with a strand in Deck Crew

(Also known as Deck Watch Rating (DWR), STCW Able Seafarer Deck (AB Deck))

Programme highlights

Turn your experience into a globally recognised licence.

If you are new to the industry with no experience and want to become a Deck Watch Rating (DWR) or start your training towards becoming a navigation officer, this is the programme for you.

You'll gain the skills and knowledge required to work as crew on general commercial or passenger vessels. You will learn about shipping operations, shipboard practice and survival at sea.

You may find yourself working on a wide range of foreign-going ships from cruise liners, ferries and container vessels, through to support vessels in the oil and gas industry. You will carry out crewing duties at a support level to watchkeepers and masters, and be well prepared for a rewarding career in a global industry.

This qualification leads to a Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) certificate. Expand for more detail.

You need to complete this qualification including sea time (two months) and your MNZ approved Training Record Book (TRB), before applying to MNZ for a:

With further sea time (12 months as a DWR) you could apply to MNZ for a:

Award of the MNZ DWR or AB Deck certificate of competency will also require the completion of:

  • Sea service
  • MNZ medical fitness certificate
  • Eyesight test (including for colour vision)
  • Fit and proper person check
  • Final exam
  • Ancillary certificates
  • Steering certificate.

See for all requirements needed before you apply.

If you want to become a navigation officer you can continue onto further study with the New Zealand Diploma in Nautical Science (Level 6).

This is an internationally recognised programme, meeting the standards of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) STCW code (Standard for Training and Certification for Watchkeepers), (regulation II/5).

Key facts

Start month(s)

February, July

Study location(s)

New Zealand Maritime School

Level 4
Domestic fees

$3,600 (approx.)

Click here to see individual course fees

Youth Guarantee (fees-free*)

Not available

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Programme code NZ2511

Full-time for 17 teaching weeks, plus sea time.

Study method


Credits 60
International fees NZD$8,200 (approx.)
Māori and Pasifika Trades Training Scholarship (fees-free*)

Not available

Click here to find out more

Qualification leads to

New Zealand Certificate in Maritime Crewing (Level 4)

with strands in Deck Crew, Electro-technology, and Engineering

Entry requirements


Open entry for domestic students

There are no academic requirements that need to be met to enter this programme.

International students: English language entry requirements

For the minimum English language requirements refer to the requirements set out in the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules

International students will generally be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency, for this programme an IELTS General or Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 is required. Equivalent acceptable evidence can be seen at the following NZQA link:

Important information

Entry to this qualification is open but completion does not guarantee the award of a Maritime New Zealand licence.

All persons wishing to qualify for a seafarer licence must also check the Maritime New Zealand prior certification and minimum service requirements for that licence. Also: Seafarers Framework which outlines medical fitness requirements and Maritime New Zealand Part 34:Medical Standards

International students

Test your English level to help you plan.

Take our free online English test to get a basic indication of your English level. This will help you understand what programmes you can apply for and what preparation you may require before you start your programme of study.


Book your British Council IELTS test with us.

You will complete your test in one day, plus get free online tuition to help you succeed. We offer paper-based or computer-delivered IELTS. Choose computer-delivered IELTS and get your results in 3-5 days.

Programme structure

You will need to complete five compulsory courses as well as the courses from your chosen strand (60 credits):

Compulsory courses

Level 2

942.212 STCW Basic Safety training – Basic Sea Survival (Personal Survival Techniques) (5 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response on board a vessel.

942.213 STCW Basic Safety Training – Basic First Aid (Elementary First Aid) (5 credits)

Apply safe work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response to first aid on board a vessel.

942.214 STCW Basic Safety training – Personal safety and Social Responsibility (3 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable work practices, demonstrate effective communication and emergency response on board a vessel.

942.215 Proficiency in Security Awareness (2 credits)

Providing knowledge, understanding and proficiency to personnel intending to work on ships who will not have any designated security duties.

Level 4

942.459 STCW Basic Safety Training – Basic Fire Fighting (Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention) (5 credits)

Apply safe work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response to a fire on board a vessel.

Courses related to your chosen strand

Deck Crew

Level 3

942.342 Vessel Operations and Maintenance (5 credits)

Contribute as a deck hand to shipboard maintenance and repair.

Level 4

942.461 Assist Bridge Watchkeeping (20 credits)

Contribute to a safe navigational watch.

942.462 Cargo Operations and Storing (5 credits)

Contribute to handling of cargo and stores.

942.463 Assist Deck Watchkeeping (5 credits)

Contribute to the safe operation of deck equipment and machinery.

942.464 Proficiency in Survival Craft (PISC) (5 credits)

Operate survival craft and rescue boats.

Optional course

942.477 Marine Dangerous Goods (5 credits)

To develop student’s knowledge of the principles involved in ship operations carrying hazardous cargoes in solid or bulk form.

Career opportunities

Combined with sea time, this certificate leads to careers as Deck Watch Rating (DWR).

Completion of this certificate leads to entry into the New Zealand Diploma in Nautical Science (Level 6).

DWR trainee, DWR qualified (after two months at sea) and AB qualified (after 14 months at sea).

For potential salaries visit

Further training or study

If you want to become a deck (nautical) officer you can continue onto further study with:

Upon successful completion of this programme, you can pathway onto a Chief Mate or Master of a vessel with a:

MIT is becoming Te Pūkenga

Vocational education in Aotearoa is changing to better meet the needs of learners like you.

As part of this transformational change, MIT will next year become fully part of Te Pūkenga, a national network delivering skills training in a wide range of locations throughout Aotearoa. This means that while you’re applying with MIT now, from Semester 1, 2023 when you enrol you’ll become a Te Pūkenga learner.

The new system has the success and wellbeing of learners at its heart, and a review of all programmes is currently underway to help support this, including the programme that you’ve enrolled with. The aim is to make qualifications more portable, consistent and closely aligned with the needs of industry, and more in tune with where the world is headed.

As the programme review is ongoing, the courses outlined may be liable to change over time. Rest assured that we’ll notify you of any material changes to delivery that might impact what you’re studying, where you’re studying or the ways you’re learning.

Information is correct as at 21 April 2022. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2022 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2022 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2022 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2022 are based on the 2021 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2022. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology Limited is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.