The Nautical Sciences Diploma program is an accredited four-year cadet co-operative education program for students interested in careers in the commercial marine industry. Students are trained to use technological and navigational equipment on a wide range of ships, and are equipped to enter the industry as Deck Officers.
About the program
The Nautical Sciences program is a four-year full-time co-operative program accredited by Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security (TCMSS). Students gain a thorough background in the principles and operation of modern vessels like supertankers, bulk carriers, cruise ships, tugboats, and offshore supply vessels. Students (cadets) receive instruction and training based on seamanship and traditional maritime skills in areas such as:
- Operating navigational equipment
- Safe carriage of goods
- Marine communications
- Marine safety, security, and rescue
- Environmental response
- Ship stability
Who it’s for
Do you see yourself as Captain of a cruise ship, supertanker, or tugboat? This program is your first step towards a career as an international Master Mariner in the commercial marine industry.
Navigational (Deck) Officers are trained seafarers capable of using technological and navigational equipment on a wide range of ships, from large passenger cruise ships to cargo vessels worldwide. Deck Officers are responsible for the safety of the crew and cargo aboard a ship. The main responsibilities of a Deck Officer include:
- Marine navigation and communications
- Conducting daily watchkeeping duties
- Rescue, safety, and environmental response.
What grads can do
The Canadian marine industry is experiencing a shortage of qualified Deck Officers. With over 90% of BCIT Nautical Sciences graduates employed in the industry, there are plenty of employment opportunities available.
Upon successful completion of the third year of the program and obtaining at least 12 months of Transport Canada approved sea time, you will be eligible to challenge the Transport Canada Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency. Upon successful completion of the fourth year, you will receive exemptions towards Standards for Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Chief Mate Certificate of Competency examinations.
Learn more about Transport Canada exemptions in the Nautical Sciences program.
Costs & Supplies
Check out the required and optional textbooks [PDF] for each year of the program.
Textbooks can be purchased through the BCIT Bookstore or by calling 604-432-8379 or 877-333-8379 (toll-free within Canada).
Graduating & Jobs
Cadets receive a thorough background in the principles and operation of modern vessels like supertankers, bulk carriers, cruise ships and, offshore supply vessels.
Upon successful completion of the third year of the program and obtaining at least 12 months of Transport Canada approved sea time, you will be eligible to challenge the Transport Canada Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency. This initial licence allows a cadet to officially become a ship’s Officer. They will then become an important part of the ship’s management team to ensure the safe navigation of the ship and the safety of its cargo. They are also responsible for seamanship, cargoes and stowage, safety, and communications. In port, they manage the loading and off-loading of cargoes. After graduation from the diploma program, and with more sea time aboard ships, Officers may continue to upgrade their skills with the ultimate goal of becoming a Master Mariner.
Lifestyle & nature of work
Whether being a member of the bridge team working with the Captain and other crew members to handle the ship or being in charge of a group of skilled seafarers to operate the ship’s equipment, the challenges are great and the rewards are many. The marine industry requires its Cadets and Officers to be at sea operating in nearly every ocean, aboard a variety of vessels. Depending on the schedule of the shipping company, Deck Officers or Cadets could be away from home for months at a time. The work conditions can be demanding, however, there may be exciting opportunities to meet multinational crew members and travel around the world.
Graduates are able to work internationally as the program is recognized by the International Maritime Organization through Transport Canada. Co-op placements in the Nautical Sciences program typically end up becoming permanent positions as many of the Co-op employers seek lifetime employees. We work with employers such as Algoma Central Corporation, BC Ferries, Canada Steamship Lines, Canship Ugland, McKeil Marine, Rigel Shipping, Royal Caribbean, Seaspan, Teekay Shipping, Transport Desgagnes, and more.
Upon successful completion of the program and obtaining your Transport Canada Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency, a licensed Deck Officer can expect to earn between $5,000 and $10,000 per month
Transport Canada Exemptions
In accordance with Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security (TCMSS), full-time students enrolled in the Nautical Sciences and Bridge Watch Rating programs are granted some exemptions towards Transport Canada Certificates of Competency. Refer to the information below for exemptions that may be applicable to you.
Nautical Sciences Diploma Program
- Watchkeeping Standards for Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) un-restricted Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency (CoC).After successful completion of term 5 and after obtaining 12 months of TCMSS approved sea time through Co-op, students will be issued a three-year letter indicating that they have successfully completed the third year of the program. Students will be eligible to challenge the TCMSS oral examination for a STCW un-restricted Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency (CoC). This federal document allows graduates to work offshore coast-to-coast and in international waters.
- Chief Mate Certificate of Competency
After successful completion of the program, a four-year training certificate and a diploma will be issued to students indicating that they have successfully completed terms 1 through 7. This certificate indicates that the student has completed Navigation Systems and Instruments, Engineering Knowledge, Ship Management, Cargo and Meteorology and provides exemptions for STCW Chief Mate Certificate of Competency examinations.
BCIT Marine Campus Registration Office
Co-op Education Coordinator
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