Having worked my way up from skipper on a 20m sailing yacht to bosun on a 100m+ motoryacht, I found myself in a situation where my Chief Mate 3,000gt Yachts CoC would not help me progress up the ladder on such large yachts. I therefore had to make a decision: go back to smaller yachts or go back to college and do the OOW Unlimited course. My goal is to stay on yachts over 3,000gt and to get a position with rotation, as you reach a point in life when chasing money is not everything and time with family and friends becomes more valuable.
I applied for my Notice of Eligibility to sit my SQA exams and my oral (I recommend anyone who is thinking about doing any of the commercial courses to get your NOE before starting at college as the MCA keeps changing the goal posts; after five months of going back and forth with the MCA I finally got my NOE). It’s also worth noting that upon completion, you get a £1,500 bonus from the Slater Fund.
This is how much it costs to take your OOW Unlimited and OOW Yachts courses at Warsash, which puts into context how helpful this fund can be:
- Academic tuition fees, MCA Signals and oral preparation, EDH, NAEST and HELM (operational level) courses – £7,665
- HNC registration fee (external fee) – £159
- SQA examination fee (external fee) – £195
- MCA oral examination fee (external fee) – £2010
- Twenty-seven weeks total, costing £8,220
- General Ship Knowledge – £1,025
- Navigation and Radar – £2,875
- EDH – £565
- HELM (operational level) – £415
- Six weeks total, costing £4,880
The OOW Unlimited course is far tougher then I expected and a lot more in-depth then the 3,000gt OOW course but enjoyable. I have come away with much greater knowledge of navigation and stability. You have to put the time in but the rewards are worth it.
The Slater Fund scholarship is available for four years from the date of the award (you must start using it within two years of it being awarded) and is available to serving ratings over 20 years old permanently residing in the UK. Having applied to The Marine Society for its Slater Scholarship at the start of my course was a huge financial help.
The Scholarship is well managed by The Marine Society. You cannot spend the money as you wish; it is limited to course fees (including short courses but only those relevant to the OOW) and accommodation, and subsidence payments are also included
The fund has allowed me to keep my original money for the OOW aside, which will now pay for my Unlimited Chief Mate and Master courses once I have gained my sea time.
Warsash Maritime Academy has always had a good reputation in the superyacht industry and in the past I completed my Chief Mate 3,000gt for Yachts there and passed everything first time, so for me it made sense to go back. Also, Lars Lippuner was a very big help sorting out my NOE and I would like to say thank you to him.
Small yachts are getting more professional and more yacht officers are now going down the OOW Unlimited route.
I am now the third officer on a 100m+ motoryacht on rotation.
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