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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.

Two students 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

  • This program includes mandatory sea time that provides you with the opportunity to put into practice the skills and knowledge you acquire during the program.
    • 60 days of sea time must be completed at the end of the program.
    • International students are responsible to secure their own sea time. Once you secure your position, we'll coordinate details with your employer.

Choose NSCC

  • If you are accepted to the program and are a woman or Indigenous person you may be eligible for a $10,000 bursary for tuition. Indigenous students who receive this award are also automatically considered for additional funds to assist with living expenses. Read more about the Ocean Dream Award for Women and Indigenous People
  • You receive Transport Canada's Bridge Watch Rating certificate when you complete the program.
  • 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.
  • International students may not be eligible for a Transport Canada certificate of competency unless granted citizenship or permanent resident status. You are strongly encouraged to verify currency of training with your government prior to registering. View additional Transport Canada details

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Strait Area Campus
Port Hawkesbury
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.

Admission requirements

Program requirements

  • You must provide a valid Transport Canada Marine Medical certificate indicating you are fit for service. You may be assessed by a variety of criteria including physical fitness, visual acuity, peripheral and colour vision, depth perception, and hearing sensitivity. Medical assessments can only be completed by a medical examiner recognized by Transport Canada. Visit Transport Canada for a list of authorized physicians, by location. Further details are provided with your acceptance notification.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Tuition amounts are for the 2024-25 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

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.

    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 may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

    MANT 1121 - Vessel Personnel with Security Responsibilities
    This course provides knowledge to seafarers with designated security duties in connection with a Ship Security Plan (SSP). This knowledge can then be used 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 1210 - Shipboard Safety Procedures and Regulations
    In this course the students will be introduced to various Canadian and International Regulations that pertain to the program. Students will learn shipboard procedures for transferring cargo, fuel and stores, occupational health and safety, pollution prevention, and emergency equipment and procedures. Mooring and anchoring safety, equipment and procedures are studied.

    MANT 1211 - Bridge Watchkeeping and Pilotage
    In this course students will build skills in using compasses and navigation instruments as well as learn about steering the ship and helm orders. Students will also learn to recognize lights, sounds and shapes as well as distress signals related to the marine environment.

    MANT 1212 - Practical Seamanship
    Deck duties and competence in rope work is the focus of this course. Students will use knots, hitches and splices; will work with wire rope and learn its functions and will also use chains, shackles and associated fittings. Using emergency equipment and applying emergency procedures in a variety of situations will also be discussed.

    MANT 1213 - Shipboard and Marine Industry Familiarization
    The marine industry in Canada and Internationally is introduced in this course. Students will become familiar with a variety of types of ships as well as ship operations, basic construction, propulsion, and onboard systems. Shipboard personnel, certification, roles, and responsibilities are introduced, and shipboard and marine terminology will be a key focus in this course.

    MANT 1214 - Seagoing Service and Onboard Training
    During this sea phase, students will apply the skills and knowledge learned during the program. Keeping an effective record of these skills is required, and the Training Record book will be used to do so. Students will also provide proof of sea service and work effectively with others aboard the ship.

    MARI 710 - Sea Change Sexual Violence Response and Prevention
    This course provides occupational training in the area of sexual violence prevention within the marine industry. Topics include an awareness of the sexual violence continuum and the impact of sexual violence on the marine industry. Preventative and responding actions will be examined using case study analysis and interactive activities.

    MEDC 1811 - Marine Basic First Aid
    This course provides 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 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 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.

    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 - Safety Basics – Restricted Spaces
    The learner is introduced to the basic requirements and procedures involved with working in restricted spaces. The definition and potential hazards of restricted spaces are discussed The course material is infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

    SAFE 1021 - Safety Basics – 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 - Safety Basics – Lock-out Tag Out
    Lock-out Tag Out introduces students to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the student 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 - Safety Basics – Respiratory Protection
    This course introduces students to the potential of atmospheric hazards in the workplace and the available personal protection and control methods to maintain a safe work environment. Discussion topics include identification and testing for atmospheric hazards and workplace respiratory programs. 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.

    Apply Now

    Tenille poses on the deck of a large ship on a sunny day.
    Tenille Maher
    Class of 2022
    This program that gave me everything I needed to kickstart my career. It included a lot of hands-on practical training and cadet placement support. I got an incredible platform from which to launch a successful career in the Marine Industry.

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