Overview of the role

Assists in ensuring the safe transit and handling of vessels into and out of the port.

Port marine operations officer

Reference Number: ST0428

Details of standard

Role Profile

As an island nation over 95% of trade by volume goes by ship through over 100 ports around the United Kingdom. UK ports employ around 118,000 people across a wide range of port types and activities; from container and bulk cargo ports to passenger terminals to leisure and marinas.

The port marine operations team assists in ensuring the safe transit and handling of vessels into and out of the port. A Port Marine Operations Officer may work as a leader or member of a port/harbour marine operations team and may be involved in: berthing of vessels, port control and marine services, operation of harbours and marinas, conservancy, environmental protection, statutory compliance and operation of harbour marine craft within the Harbour Authority area of jurisdiction. This is a highly responsible position with a key contribution to the safe and efficient operation of the harbour. The role may involve shift working and working in all environments.

Port Operation Officer apprenticeship is designed to give those interested in working in a marine environment the opportunity to learn about shipping and port operations, while working for a port operator. The apprenticeship is designed to give hands-on training in all aspects of port marine operations such as lock and dock operations, mooring boat operations, health and safety task within a port operation, radio room and marine control centre operations as well as role and responsibilities of Berthing Master, Dock Masters and deputies, Harbour Masters and their assistants.


This apprenticeship could lead to specialist and senior roles within the port industry including but not limited to: Berthing Masters, port management, Assistant Harbour Master, Assistant Dock Masters, Hydrographer, Vessel Traffic Services.


This apprenticeship will require rigorous and substantial training, typically of around 24 – 30 months, depending on experience and qualifications at entry.

Skills and Knowledge

Skills – The ability to:

  • safely steer, manoeuvre, navigate and crew different types of marine craft, such as: pilot boats, work boats, survey boats, etc.

  • conduct marine craft operations including basic towage, personnel transfer and recovery, hydrographic surveying, etc. in line with port specific guidelines

  • respond to fire and emergencies including on board vessels and use emergency equipment including oil spill response

  • administer basic first aid at work

  • lead, manage and engage with colleagues and others including, emergency services and other stakeholders in all marine activities within a port; take control of a situation, deliver reliable and dependable results in work outputs, quality, work ethics and self-development, as well as encouraging and supporting the development of others

  • safely moor and unmoor vessels of a range of type and size

  • safely handle loads manually and mechanically, including mooring lines, cargo, stores,e tc.

  • demonstrate personal water safety around the harbour and sea survival skills

  • communicate clearly and use communications equipment including VHF radio

  • operate within health, safety and security systems and practice these in line with regulation, codes of practice and company policies and procedures

  • operate navigational systems and equipment such as: compasses, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, radar, Automatic Information Systems, etc.

  • carry out port marine operations specific to the setting such as leisure, fishing, cargoes, passenger etc.

  • contribute to the protection of the marine environment including protection of sites of special scientific interest and marine conservation zones

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • vessel and shore based electronic navigation systems such as Global Navigation Satellite Systems

  • port specific Information Technology systems, such as vessel booking, traffic management, security systems

  • hydrographic survey, conservancy (including: buoyage, aids to navigation etc.) and dredging

  • basic routine maintenance of marine craft and equipment

  • safe management of vessel operations within harbours

  • marine meteorology and how to produce and interpret a weather forecast

  • marine navigation (including the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea), chart work, tides and buoyage

  • principles and practice of marine pilotage

  • marine propulsion and manoeuvring systems such as propellers, thrusters, rudder, anchors, etc.

  • maritime emergency response within the port jurisdiction and procedures

  • maritime law including roles and responsibilities of the port authority such as: byelaws, general directions for navigation, local notices to mariners, etc.

  • the basic principles of different types of vessel construction found in ports and of safe vessel stability

  • port control operations including local port service and or vessel traffic services

  • marine infrastructure such as jetties, quays, marinas, and operations such as cargo, fishing, leisure, passenger,roll-on/roll-off

  • relevant health, safety and security legislation such as: Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, etc.

  • port marine responsibilities, statutory powers, duties and codes (including Port Marine Safety Code and Guide to Good Practice)

Behaviours - a Port Marine Operations Officer will:

  • take ownership for own performance and training; strive to achieve the best results in all they do; maintain a positive attitude and approach to their work even when priorities and working patterns change

  • take responsibility for own and others’ health, safety and security at all times; demonstrate integrity, credibility, honesty and personal drive; embody the organisation’s values, a belief in the services it offers and an interest in the industry

Entry requirements

Individual employers will determine their own entry requirements; but due to the nature of the role it is expected that candidates will meet certain medical standards of physical health.


Apprentices without Level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking their end point assessment

Level – This is a level 4 apprenticeship

Review – This Standard will be reviewed in 3 years.

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Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 4
Reference: ST0428
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 01/05/2018
Approved for delivery: 1 May 2018
Route: Transport and logistics
Typical duration to gateway : 24 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £12000
LARS Code: 265
EQA Provider: Ofqual

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Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: ABP, Port of Blyth, Port of Tyne, Dover Harbour Board, Port of Tilbury, Shoreham Port, Port Of London, Bristol Ports, Pool Harbour Commision, Peel Ports

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 01/05/2018 Not set Not set

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