Level 2 Certificate in Maritime Studies: Able Seafarer (Deck)

SQA code: GK54 54
Ofqual code: 603/4892/6
Total Qualification Time: 188
Guided Learning Hours: 168
Credit value: 19

The Level 2 Certificate in Maritime Studies: Able Seafarer (Deck) provides learners with a qualification that demonstrates their competence to work as an able seafarer.

In addition to providing a maritime sector overview, this qualification develops important knowledge and skills in areas such as vessel ropework, anchoring and mooring operations, securing a vessel for passage, vessel construction and stability, and control operation of survival craft and rescue boats.

This qualification is available through employers, colleges and training providers.

Rationale and purpose of this qualification

This qualification is aimed at those who have no prior experience of the maritime sector.

Its primary purpose is to develop the learner's occupational competence as an able seafarer deck operative so that they can gain employment or work towards another qualification (see Progression). As a work-related, competence-based qualification it provides confirmation to employers and industry managers that the learner has the skills and knowledge needed to meet the nationally recognised standard to carry out the role.

Learners who achieve this qualification can use it to gain employment, to progress in the industry, or to work towards another qualification.


The qualification is designed to meet the following objectives:

  • preparing learners for employment
  • preparing learners to progress to another qualification
  • meeting relevant programmes of learning
  • giving learners personal growth and engagement in learning
  • supporting a role in the workplace
  • confirming knowledge, understanding and skills


The qualification is intended for people in the maritime sector and has been developed in conjunction with the Merchant Navy Training Board and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to ensure it is 'fit for purpose'.

What does this qualification cover?

As this is a competence-based qualification, learners will be acquiring the knowledge and skills required through either on-the-job experience or in a learning environment.

To gain the qualification, learners need to achieve 19 credits by completing the five mandatory units from the qualification structure.

Who is this qualification for?

The Level 2 Certificate in Maritime Studies: Able Seafarer (Deck) is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • progression learners from basic maritime qualifications
  • employed learners who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • learners wishing to move from one sector of the maritime industry to another
  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • people in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects


Entry to the qualification is at the discretion of the centre.


This qualification is a mandatory component in the Maritime Occupations Apprenticeship in England (as detailed in SASE).


This Level 2 Certificate could provide progression to other SQA maritime qualifications as well as employment in the maritime sector, perhaps as a deck hand. If the learner completes the qualification as part of an apprenticeship the immediate progression opportunities are to seaman grade 1 (able-bodied seafarer, AB).

Further progression opportunities, which will require a further qualification and time spent at sea in order to qualify for the necessary internationally recognised certification, include:

  • bosun
  • chief petty officer
  • senior rating (also on board large yachts)
  • junior deck officer (merchant navy)
  • mate (tugs)
  • seaman

If the learner completes the qualification as part of an apprenticeship (ie including the necessary time at sea) they will be able to apply to the Maritime Coastguard Agency for certification as an able seafarer.


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Qualification structure

The Level 2 Certificate in Maritime Studies: Able Seafarer (Deck) requires the learner to complete five mandatory units (credit value 19).

SQA code: GK54 54

Ofqual code: 603/4892/6

Please refer to the qualification structure (79 KB) for more information.

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How to assess

Ongoing course assessment will apply. Each unit specification gives detailed information on the assessment criteria, assessment (evidence) requirements and guidance on instruments of assessment for the unit.

The qualification is assessed by completing a portfolio of evidence which details what the learner has completed at work. This can be gathered through observation, professional discussion, witness testimony or supporting documentary evidence. The assessor can work alongside the learner to confirm that they have met the requirements of the qualification and that they are therefore competent in their role.

Competence is displayed through the assessor observing the learner demonstrate that they carry out their normal work activities competently and to the industry standard and comply with current legislation and company procedures.

The assessment process will ensure that the learner can complete the tasks that they have been directed to undertake and that they can interpret the instructions correctly. They will demonstrate that they can select the appropriate resources for the tasks and can complete them within the given timescales and specifications.

Learner portfolio

Assessment strategy/principle