“How do I get my Officer of the Watch Unlimited?” is a question Warsash Superyacht Academy receives a lot from the yacht sector. Now that sea time gained on board yachts counts towards your OOW Unlimited, crew wishing to continue their career along the unlimited route is a more straightforward process. Lars Lippuner of Warsash Superyacht Academy explains more about obtaining the qualification.


Credit: Brooke Shaw

“Achievement of unlimited certification is less daunting than it might initially seem,” explains Lippuner. “In 2011 the rules with regard to sea time changed, and any sea time gained on yachts over 24m will count as sea time towards unlimited certification. If you have 36 months’ qualifying sea time and have been involved in bridge watchkeeping duties for at least six months, you will be able to apply for a Notice of Eligibility to take a course leading to an OOW Unlimited CoC.”

"There are many reasons why a crewmember may wish to obtain an OOW Unlimited Certificate of Competency (CoC)," Lippuner says. These reasons may include to work as a deck officer on any vessel, including yachts above 3000gt, to increase knowledge base, optimise chances for career success and to be able to progress to Master Unlimited certification.


“Many recruitment agencies are telling us that deck officers with both unlimited certification and yacht experience are in very high demand.” - Lars Lippuner


Tuition and assessment lasts for 23 weeks and includes bridge watchkeeping, navigation, chart work, tides, emergency response and communications, cargo work, meteorology, ship stability, ship construction and law & management. At the end of your course you will also sit two written exams in Navigation and in Stability & Operations. On successful completion you will be awarded a Higher National Certificate (HNC) Nautical Science.

“Many recruitment agencies are telling us that deck officers with both unlimited certification and yacht experience are in very high demand,” Lippuner explains. For this reason, it is essential that potential crew understand how they can progress with their qualifications.