Unlimited Tonnage Third Mate Oceans

Modern ships are the largest moving creations in the history of the world. Coordinating that movement are a team of professional mariners that carry out extensive duties of cargo transfer operations, navigational voyage planning, emergency management, equipment upkeep and record-keeping.

The Bridge Team of an oceangoing ship is responsible for the the lives of crew members and the safe transit of millions of dollars of cargo across ocean routes and into different nations. These duties are shared in the various roles of the deck officers.

As a Third Mate, you will serve as a deck watch officer under the guidance of senior officers and be responsible for the inspection and maintenance of all safety equipment including lifeboats and fire-fighting gear. You will manage crew in the upkeep of deck machinery as well as assist on deck with mooring procedures. Management of shipboard operations is a constant job that is shared on watch systems. Traditionally you will stand “4-8 watch”; four hours of watch with eight hours off in between, seven days a week for the duration of your dispatch. Your duty on watch depends on the ship’s schedule.

While at sea, the Third Mate stands a navigational watch with a helmsman, plots the ship’s position, practices collision avoidance, consults navigational equipment, and directs the helmsman to change course when needed. The Third Mate notifies the Chief Officer or Master according to the standing orders.

When in port, the priority is the efficient and safe transfer of cargo, either loading or unloading. You will monitor the mooring lines and trim/list of the ship with operation of ballast pumps, make rounds, communicate with dock crew and be the eyes/ears for the Captain.

There is a level of prestige that comes with an unlimited license. The routes are more international, crews are larger and dispatches are longer. A Third Mate unlimited tonnage license and more experience at sea make a mariner highly capable and employable on a global scope.


Unlimited Third Mates serve on large oceangoing ships.  They typically serve as Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch for a minimum of eight hours per day.  Third Mates are responsible for keeping the vessel on course, following the Collision Avoidance Regulations, keeping a proper lookout, and notifying the Master when the situation requires.  Third Mates are typically responsible for maintenance of the ship’s safety and emergency response equipment.

In this program, you may apprentice on:

  • Tankers
  • Container ships
  • Cruise ships
  • Military support vessels
  • Research ships and all vessels of ‘unlimited’ tonnage (over 1600 GRT).