Ensuring the safe operation and passage of a vessel.
This occupation is found in the Maritime industry and covers a wide range of commercial activity on inland tidal and non-tidal waterways such as (but not limited to) the Rivers Thames, Humber and Mersey. Boatmasters often navigate vessels through busy and highly challenging waterways. Opportunities in this industry are very wide-ranging – for instance, a Boatmaster could be the captain of a single vessel tourist boat or could be working for a large freight operator, responsible for safely moving freight up the river to a port.
Inland Waterways vessels might typically operate within a limited navigational area based around a standard working day. However regulations also allow the Boatmaster to navigate a limited distance out to sea. Inland waterways vessels come in all shapes and sizes but are usually designed for short riverine or inshore trade, never more than 5 miles from land or 15 miles from the point of arrival and/or departure. Boatmasters are therefore, rarely out of sight of land. Vessel types include but are not limited to vessels from the freight and civil engineering sector and passenger boats that carry up to 12 persons on board.
The broad purpose of the occupation is to ensure safe operation and passage of the vessel. A Boatmaster is responsible for, and has command of, commercial passenger or non-passenger (freight and ‘other service’) vessels and all those on board.
In their daily work, a Boatmaster interacts primarily with other Boatmasters, crew and any passengers, other vessels and emergency services. Much of their time will be spent on the water. Boatmasters can expect to work outdoors in all weathers A Boatmaster is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the vessel, ranging from the equipment on-board through to mechanics. The Boatmaster must plan their navigation, handle the vessel, and ensure safe mooring/anchoring.
The Boat Master will lead their crew and will report to the vessel owners. Often, there is just one Boatmaster on board, but dependent on the type of vessel there can be two or even more Boatmasters present; in these circumstances just one of the Boatmasters will be appointed Captain (in overall charge).
Career options are many and varied – depending on how a Boatmaster wants to specialise in future they will need to gain additional “endorsements” (certificates from the MCA) – such endorsements sit outside this Apprenticeship. As example, the Tier 1 Level 2 Licence alone does not allow for command of a towing vessel or a passenger vessel that carries more than 12 persons on board.
This Apprenticeship provides for full competency in the Boatmaster occupation, but Apprentice Boat Masters must also obtain a Boat Master licence from the Maritime Coastguard Agency so they can lawfully operate a vessel. The Tier 1 Level 2 Boatmasters Licence is the highest standard attainable and all Apprentices must attain this licence before moving forward to End-Point Assessment.
Summary of Standard