Level 2 Certificate in Maritime Studies: Efficient Deck Hand

SQA code: GP8J 54

Ofqual code: 603/4892/6

Total Qualification Time: 158

Guided Learning Hours: 142

Credit value: 16

The Certificate in Maritime Studies: Efficient Deck Hand at RQF level 2 provides learners with a qualification that demonstrates their competence to work as an Efficient Deck Hand. 

This qualification covers the following areas:

  • Maritime Sector Overview
  • Vessel Ropework, Anchoring and Mooring Operations
  • Securing a Vessel for Passage
  • Vessel Construction and Stability

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

Rationale and purpose of this qualification

The primary purpose of this qualification is to develop the learner's occupational competence as an Efficient Deck Hand 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.

Learners who already have their required safety certificates and previous experience at sea can go straight to this certificate. Learners should discuss their particular requirements with their employer and SQA-approved centre.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) requires learners to meet their health standards and to have completed minimum service at sea. Both employers and SQA-approved centres will be able to provide more information.


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 level 2 certificates are intended for people in the maritime sector and have been developed in conjunction with the Maritime Skills Alliance to ensure they are fit for purpose.

What does this qualification cover?

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, and vessel construction and stability.

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 realistic learning environment.

To achieve the whole qualification, learners need a minimum of 16 credits. They must complete four mandatory units from the qualification structure.

Who is this qualification for?

The Certificate in Maritime Studies: Efficient Deck Hand at RQF level 2 is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

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


Entry to the qualification is at the discretion of the centre. All seafarers must satisfy the health requirements set by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) and must have completed minimum service at sea. Both employers and SQA-approved centres will be able to provide more information.


This level 2 Certificate could provide progression to other SQA maritime qualifications as well as employment in the maritime sector.  

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)

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Qualification structure

SQA code: GP8J 54

Ofqual code: 603/4892/6

For information on the structure of this qualification, please refer to the Qualification Structure (96 KB).

The Level 2 Certificate in Maritime Studies: Efficient Deck Hand requires the learner to complete four mandatory Units (16 RQF credit points). There is one optional extra unit which does not count towards achievement of the qualification consisting of 3 credits.

Group Award code: GP8J 54 (16 RQF credit points)

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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