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The Bridge Watch Rating Associate Certificate is the foundation to beginning your career at sea. We’ll teach you all of the essential knowledge and skills related to the practice of seamanship, navigation, standards of safe working procedures, and the hazards associated with the marine environment.

This program is designed to provide entry-level personnel with base-level knowledge of seamanship to prepare you for a career at sea with BC Ferries, the Canadian Coast Guard, local companies and other Canadian companies operating ships and vessels.

Fall 2021 delivery mode: in person

  • This program will be delivered in person for the fall term.
  • We have put measures in place for your safety and well-being, ensuring that all safety protocols are addressed. Please see the BCIT COVID-19 page for details on the procedures that have been implemented.

Your education is our priority and we will continue to deliver the applied instruction, collaborative experience, and industry connections that you expect from BCIT.

Women dressed as a deckhand in hard hat and life best standing in front of a lifeboat.
Get more information on the fully-funded Bridge Watch Rating for Women and Indigenous Learners.

Get the skills you need for a career at sea

Bridge Watch Rating forms part of a team involved in the following activities:

  • Keeping a lookout
  • Steering the vessel
  • Operating communication systems
  • Handling ropes and chains
  • Anchoring and mooring
  • Responding to emergencies
  • Assisting in cargo operations

The Bridge Watch Rating program

This 12-week full-time entry-level program is based on modular courses and provides you with the following training certificates:

  • BCIT Recognition of Training in Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Industry Canada Radio Restricted Operator Certificate – Maritime Commercial (ROC – MC)
  • Marine Basic First Aid Certificate (MBFA)

Successful completion will also make you eligible for four months of sea time remission.

Please note: this Transport Canada accredited course requires 90% attendance and an aggregated 70% passing grade. To achieve full Transport Canada certification, you must complete an additional two months of sea time, as well as STCW Basic Safety Training (MEDI 1510) and STCW Survival Craft training (MEDI 1810).

Entrance Requirements

Due to the popularity of the Bridge Watch Rating program, only completed applications, with the required documents, will be considered.

Costs & Supplies

Contact the BCIT Bookstore for information on textbooks.

Bridge Watch Rating
Required Text(s)

  • Seamanship Techniques by D.J. House (single volume edition)

Recommended Resource(s)

  • Collision Regulations
  • Chart No. 1:  Symbols and Abbreviations and Terms
  • Canadian Aids to Navigation System – Canadian Coast Guard Publication

Required Equipment

  • Pocket knife with locking blade, or fixed blade with sheath
  • 3-ring binder
  • Colouring pencils
Marine Basic First Aid Course
Manuals will be issued on the first day of class.
Radio Operators Course
Manual will be issued on the first day of class.



Program Details

Graduating & Jobs

Women & Indigenous for BWR

This Enhanced Bridge Watch Rating (BWR-E) program is open to women and indigenous people to start a rewarding career at sea. It provides you with special benefits on top of what you’ll already get through the main Bridge Watch Rating program.

Kickstart your nautical career

Explore a marine career working on tugboats, ferries or deep sea vessels. Career opportunities also include water-based ecotourism, commercial fishing, sport fishing, travel and other recreational marine guiding roles.

Enhanced Bridge Watch Rating Program – YouTube

Woman standing at the harbour, with a lifeboat docked up high in the background.

The BWR-E core courses include the foundation skills and Transport Canada certification required to get entry-level employment as a deck hand.


The Enhanced Bridge Watch Rating pathway is slightly different from the main pathway:

  • 17-week program
  • Fully-funded tuition
  • More courses – all the courses you need to get Transport Canada certified.
  • Streamlined application process.
The Enhanced program has a longer 17-week time-frame to allow for the additional courses. The exact length may vary, depending upon electives.

Fully-funded tuition

Women and Indigenous people are eligible for subsidized tuition. All direct costs are covered:

  • Tuition
  • Text books
  • Lunch or lunch money
  • Travel costs
  • Accommodation (when required)

You may also be eligible for accommodation, meals and a small stipend for incidentals when you have to travel far from your home. The cost for the Transport Canada Medical Certificate will be reimbursed upon acceptance into the program. Day care for family members is not covered at this time.

Indigenous female student stands in front of marine instrument training panel, watching the virtual screen.Extra courses

You’ll get all the training and marine experience you need to get full Transport Canada certification. As soon as you complete this program, you’ll be able to get entry-level employment as a deck hand.

All the courses in the regular Bridge Watch Rating program are covered plus the Marine Emergency Duties courses are covered.  If your community arranges for a cohort, there are additional elective courses available.

The extra courses included are:

  • Bridge Watch Rating (Certificate requires two months additional sea time)
  • STCW Basic Safety Training (BST)
  • STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft (PSC)

Study close to where you live

The program is hosted on both sides of the Salish Sea. The BCIT Marine Campus (BMC) in North Vancouver, Camosun College Interurban Campus in Victoria or in a remote community.

Some content must be delivered in the Lower Mainland but we strive to work closely with interested communities to offer much of this training where students live. Community consultation will allow for possible additional or alternate content to meet local need in addition to the core foundation courses.


You’ll need to be able to work at a Grade 12 English and Grade 11 math to participate. We’ll help you if you need a refresher before starting the program.

Interested in finding out more?

Contact the Bridge Watch Rating Program Coordinator for more information on the program, your funding eligibility or to get an application form:

Debbie Power
Program Coordinator
Tel: 604-456-1072

Contact Us

BCIT Marine Campus Registration Office
Tel: 604-453-4111

Bridge Watch Rating: Women and Indigenous Learners
Debbie Power
Program Coordinator
Tel: 604-456-1072

Department Head:
Carl Marquardt
Tel: 604-453-4101


Questions or comments?


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