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Bridge Watch Rating

Begin your career at sea as a deckhand and member of a ship's watch team. Keep a lookout, steer the vessel, retrieve and launch lifeboats and much more.

A man and a woman wearing coveralls and hardhats hold large ropes on the deck of a ship.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
26 Weeks
College Certificate

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If you have a sense of adventure, this could be the career for you.

You're introduced to all aspects of the mariner's trade through a combination of classroom and hands-on training in shops, simulators and at sea. You learn deck duties (seamanship, mooring, anchoring, cargo work), bridge team duties (steering, lookout, aids to navigation) and emergency duties.

Where feasible, tours/field trips will be arranged to provide additional context for lectures related to ship-board equipment.

Sea time

  • Sea time is a mandatory 60 days, completed at the end of the first 15 weeks of your program. It provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
  • International students are responsible to secure their own sea-placements. Once you secure your placement, we'll coordinate details with your employer.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • This program offers an excellent way to quickly enter the field and to explore a career in marine transport and cargo environments.
  • The program has Transport Canada approval and places a high importance on providing you with the skills and knowledge to work safely in the marine industry. To prepare for employment, you will participate in safety awareness courses.
  • For more detailed information specific to the marine industry, visit Careers at Sea.

Other info

  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official criminal record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.
  • Successful program completion requires that students maintain an attendance standard of 90%, a pass mark of 70% in practical examination and 60% in written examination.

2022-23 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

September 2022

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Strait Area Campus Classes at Nautical Institute Full time In-class In-classDelivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Waitlist

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details

Program requirements

  • A current, official criminal record check is required to complete work placements (such as field work, internships, co-ops) in this program. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to complete program requirements. Information on this process will be provided at the beginning of your program.
  • A valid Marine Medical Certificate is required for the program. Information on this process will be provided at the beginning of your program.
  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


2022-23 tuition will be announced in the late Spring once approved by the government of Nova Scotia. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. Amounts below were for the 2021-22 academic year.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

This program is not offered at regular NSCC tuition.

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Funding available for women and Indigenous peoples

  • As a woman or Indigenous person, you may qualify for a $10,000 bursary for your education. View funding details
  • As an Indigenous person, you are automatically considered for additional funds (up to $10,500) to help with living expenses.

Career options

  • Graduates are prepared to work on marine vessels, including bridge support, deckhand and marine shop duties.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you can apply to earn credit. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

MANT 1010 - Shipboard Safety Procedures and Regulations
Learners will be introduced to various Canadian and International Regulations that pertain to their certificate and gain knowledge of ISM and MOHS. Mooring and anchoring equipment and procedures are studied. Environmental protection, emergency and distress equipment, practices and procedures are covered.

MANT 1050 - Basic Chartwork and Pilotage
In this course the learners study bridge operations and the bridge team concept. They study basic navigation: compasses, charts, Aids to Navigation, and the Collision regulations as they pertain to the rating position. Duties of the Bridge Watch Rating in contributing to a safe watch and maintaining a proper lookout; steering procedures, helm orders, communication systems, and handing over a watch are all key focus areas. All outcomes will be accomplished according to Transport Canada Publication TP10936.

MANT 1121 - Vessel Personnel with Security Responsibilities
This course is intended to provide the knowledge required for seafarers with designated security duties in connection with a Ship Security Plan (SSP) to perform their duties in accordance with the requirements of Chapter XI-2 of SOLAS 74 as amended, the ISPS Code and Section A-VI/6 and Table A-VI/6-2 of the STCW Code, as amended.

MANT 1150 - Practical Seamanship
In this course learners will receive hands on shop based instruction in deck duties. This will include: maintenance and cleanliness; competence in rope work: knots, hitches and splices; wire rope and uses; chains, shackles and associated fittings.

MANT 1250 - Shipboard and Marine Industry Familiarization
In this course the learners are introduced to the marine industry in Canada and Internationally. They will become familiar with a variety of ships and aspects of the shipping industry. Shipboard personnel certification, roles and responsibilities, as well as Bridge Team concepts are covered. Shipboard and marine terminology is a key focus of this course.

MANT 1500 - Seagoing Service and Onboard Training
During the seaphase, the learner will become familiar with shipboard routine and the duties and skills of a deckhand. They will practice the training they received such as seamanship, anchoring, cargo work, steering, and lookout while onboard a vessel. Learners are required to complete a training log book during this training phase.

MEDC 1811 - Marine Basic First Aid
This course provides learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize an emergency, provide appropriate first aid at the scene, notify emergency medical services and promote a safety oriented life style for the prevention of accidents. This course meets the requirements for first aid training as set out by Transport Canada and Workplace Occupational Health and Safety.

MEDC 1821 - STCW Basic Safety
This course provides all Seafarers with the basic understanding of the hazards associated with the Marine Environment and their own vessel; the prevention of shipboard incidents, including fire and procedures for abandonment. It provides Seafarers with the knowledge necessary to raise and react to alarms and to deal with emergencies. The course will ensure that all Seafarers are able to provide assistance in fire and abandonment in emergency situations. It will provide Seafarers with the knowledge and skills which will enable them to assist in their own survival and rescue. The course content meets Standards of Training and Certification of Watchkeeping Seafarers, MED with respect to STCW Basic Safety (MED BST). This course also aligns with Transport Publication 5562 of the Transport Canada certification standard for officer cadets.

MEDC 1822 - Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Other Than Fast Rescue Boats
This course is designed to provide seafarers with the basic understanding and knowledge of survival craft and rescue boats, other than fast rescue boats. It meets STCW 6.2 and Canadian requirements under Crewing Regulations for training of marine personnel - MED with respect to Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Other than Fast Rescue Boats (MED SC). Participants will advance their knowledge of marine survival craft and associated equipment as well as prepare to manage crew and passengers during abandoning of a vessel, surviving at sea, and being rescued. The course includes: Introduction and Safety; Emergency Situations; Principles of Survival; Use of Personal Survival Equipment; Helicopter Rescue; Survival Craft and Rescue Boats; Launching Arrangements; Lifeboat Engine and Accessories; evacuation; Signalling Equipment and Pyrotechnics; Action Aboard a Survival Craft; Launching and Recovering Lifeboats; Life Raft Launching; Launching and Handling Survival Craft in Rough Weather; Radio Equipment.

PORT 510 - Sea Time Preparation and Reporting I
Sea Service Preparation and Reporting courses are intended to manage learner expectations and standards related to sea service training for navigation and engineering officers. This first course in the series provides basic information about the cadet process and requirements for completing training and sea service in the first year. It will include learning about the various documentation and certification requirements to undertake their first placement, an introduction to Nautical Institute’s industry partners, and the development of a professional portfolio and resume.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1020 - Introduction to Confined Space
The learner is introduced to the basic requirements and procedures involved with confined spaces. The definition and associated hazards of confined space are discussed as well as methods of confined space rescue. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1021 - Introduction to Hazard Identification
The learners are introduced to the types of hazards encountered in workplaces and the approach that should be followed when recommending and implementing appropriate controls. Two key elements of Hazard Identification are addressed: Hazard Assessment and Inspection. The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act is discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1023 - Introduction to Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces the learner to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the learner is exposed to the various types of lock-out devices. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1024 - Introduction to Respiratory Protection
The learner is introduced to the potential of atmospheric hazards in the workplace and the available personal protection and control methods to maintain a safe work environment. Discussion includes identification and testing for atmospheric hazards and workplace respiratory programs. The learner will be given the opportunity to select, use and maintain respiratory equipment. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1025 - Certified Fall Arrest and Protection
This course provides participants with an understanding of the hazards associated with working from heights and compliance with Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (2013). Throughout the course, participants will gain experience in the donning of a harness, an overview and presentation of system components involved when working from heights and learn how to complete a fall calculation and emergency procedures.

SAFE 1040 - Safe and Substance-free Transportation
The learner is introduced to the basic requirements and procedures involved with ensuring the safest possible workplace by substance free employees. The intent is to prohibit the use of substances through three major avenues: education, drug testing and access to employee assistance programs. To achieve this goal, the trend today is towards a policy of zero tolerance of prohibited substances. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

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