12 Apr 2018
Efficient Deck Hand is a Maritime and Coastguard approved course required in the UK for those wishing to become able bodied seaman, Deck Officer of the Watch or Yacht Officer of the Watch. It is also relevant for those working within the sail training market, tall ships and fishing industry. The EDH is a recognised progressive course enabling the delegates to improve and attain seamanship knowledge. This allows them to not only work efficiently onboard their vessel but also to work safely. The course emphasises two main elements. A theoretical underpinning knowledge of ship practices including cargo operations, use of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers, use of lifting equipment and lifeboats, and helm orders and general ship maintenance. In addition to this, acquiring a practical ability to tie common knots and hitches, splice rope and steel wire rope, utilise different deck equipment such as anchor windlasses and working at height arrangements in the form of painting stages and bosun’s chairs.
The pre-requisites for the course are:
(a)An MCA-accepted Yachtmaster Offshore; or
(b)A Yacht Rating with at least six months’ seagoing service and a steering certificate; or
(c)A Navigational Watch Rating (NWR) Certificate; or
(d)A Boat Master Licence (BML) Tier 1 level 2 certificate; or
(e)A Tug Rating with at least six months’ seagoing service and a steering certificate or an NWR Certificate.
These requirements ensure that all delegates should be familiar with basic nautical terminology, have a basic understanding of the requirements of seamanship onboard their vessels and will be able to contribute to the training sessions with their own personal experiences. Training can take place in workshop and classroom settings, with also practical use of working lifting equipment and lifeboat falls.
The art of traditional seamanship is fading within the merchant navy but is as important as ever. It is not utilised within the everyday chores onboard a modern ship but must often be called upon within an emergency or when a situation arises for which there is not a written procedure or a specific piece of equipment available. These moments require seafarers to be able to draw on their knowledge and come up with not only a solution but a safe and practical one.
For those that feel this course may well be of general interest to them, it can still be completed without any of the pre-requisites mentioned above. A certificate of attendance can be issued which cannot be used commercially but still indicates a good level of expertise if crewing on a yacht or sailboat for example.