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BS in Marine Transportation in the Philippines

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Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) is a four-year undergraduate degree program which leads to a professional career in the maritime industry, as a marine deck officer. Through this program, the students will be able to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge needed to accomplish their future duties and responsibilities of a marine officer, and will be exposed to theories and practices in seamanship, navigation, ship business, meteorology, and marine laws.

Subjects and Curiculum

Some of the subjects taught in this program include:
  • Ship Handling and Maneuvering
  • Ships, Ship Routines, and Construction
  • Cargo Handling and Storage
  • Merchant Ships Search and Rescue
  • Deck Watchkeeping
  • Shipboard Personnel Management
  • Basic Marine Engineering
  • Ship Management Systems
  • Meteorology and Oceanography
  • Radio Communication
  • Stability and Trim
  • Terrestrial Navigation
  • Electronic Navigation
  • Celestial Navigation
  • Collision Regulation
  • Basic Safety
  • Maritime Laws
  • Marine Pollution and Prevention

The Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation is taught through classroom-based frontal instructions, regular hands-on trainings usually conducted in special laboratories, as well as simulation activities regarding the use of modern ship equipments like the RADAR, ARPA, and GMDSS communication.

What Senior High School strand should I take for BS Marine Transportation?  

Students who are planning to take up BS Marine Transportation can select between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and TVL (Technical-Vocational-Livelihood) as their senior high school strand. 

Under STEM, there are three specialized subjects included in the curriculum that are maritime-related While in the TVL, there is a maritime specialization that provides a certificate that will allow them to work aboard the ship. 

What are the admission requirements for BSMT?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers admission.
  • Must pass the college entrance examination.
  • Must pass the interview conducted by the college/university admission officer
  • Some schools require you to pass the qualifying test implemented by the Marine Transportation Department.
  • Some schools require a particular rating in the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT)

What skills will help you succeed in this profession?

  • Technical Skills – the ability to perform various tasks related to ship handling, navigation, and radio communication. Moreover, this can also refer to the ability to operate various equipments and software.
  • Endurance – this refers to the ability to withstand difficult situations, hardships, or stress. This skill is important because working as a marine deck officer involves difficult tasks, long hours of work, and entails being away from your family.
  • Navigation Skills – this skill refers to the ability to determine position and location. Having this skill will serve as an advantage because ship navigation is one of the areas taught in this course.
  • Organizational Skills – these skills are needed for you to be able to organize your time, meet the requirements of your job, and obtain optimal productivity. This is important because you will surely be assigned to accomplish different tasks especially during the training period.
  • Interpersonal Skills – the ability to communicate and interact harmoniously with other people will definitely help you work on group projects and activities with your classmates. This skill is also important in order for you to get along with your shipmates.
  • English Skills – the ability to read, write, and communicate well in English is necessary because most of the technical literature and required reading materials are in this language.
  • Critical Thinking – the ability to think logically and make use of reasoning in evaluating the different solutions or approaches to a problem
  • Analytical Skills – the ability to identify the kinds of data that are actually important and figure out how to solve problems

How difficult is this course?

BS in Marine Transportation is of average difficulty. Although this course involves technical concepts and practices regarding the different aspects of seamanship, it is still not as difficult as science, engineering or IT courses.

How long does it take to complete BS in Marine Transportation program in the Philippines?

Normally, the BSMT program takes 4 years to complete. Internship takes a whole year to complete, so basically, this course involves 3 years of school-based education and 1-year internship period. (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). Some schools that apply the trimestral school calendar system complete the program in a shorter period of time.

On The Job Training / Internship

This course entails a 1-year apprenticeship period aboard an actual ship in order to expose students to the real-life applications of the concepts and techniques that they learned in the classroom. Some schools help the students find companies where they could work as an intern, while some allow students to find their own. Moreover, some companies provide an internship allowance while others do not.

The Board Exams

Before taking any of the relevant licensure examinations, graduates of BSMT must have an actual work experience aboard a ship, and the minimum length of service depends upon the requirements of the PRC.

The examinations are conducted by the Board of Marine Deck and Marine Engine Officers under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). They are scheduled twice a year in the months of January and July.

  • Officer-in-Charge of a Navigational Watch Licensure Examination

    Required for working as a Second Mate/ Second Officer, an OIC of a Navigational Watch, or as the Third Mate.

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • An approved Sea-going Service as:
      a.) Apprentice Mate or Deck Cadet for at least twelve (12) months on board sea going ship of 500 Gross Tonnage or more.
      b.) Ordinary Seaman and Able Bodied Seaman with at least twelve (12) months seagoing service on board ship of 500 gross tonnage or more shall be allowed to take the written or walk-in licensure examination. However, if the applicant passed the said examination, he shall not be issued Certificate of Competency and Endorsement Certificate until he completes the thirty six (36) months seagoing service.
      c.) Other positions such as Deck Trainee / Deck Assistant / Deck Boy / Messman / Bosun with at least thirty six (36) months seagoing service on board ship of 500 gross tonnage or more.
    • Proof of Sea Service:
      Several certificates and papers proving your work experience as a seamen.
  • Chief Mate Licensure Examination

    Required for work as a First Mate/First Officer.

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • An approved Sea-going Service in the Operational Level of at least twelve (12) months on board sea-going ship of 500 gross tonnage or more.
    • Proof of Sea Service:
      Several certificates and papers proving your work experience as a seamen.
  • Master Mariner Licensure Examination

    Required for working as a Master Mariner, Chief Officer or a Designated Person Ashore (DPA).

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • An approved Sea-going Service:
      a) At least 12 months sea service onboard sea-going ship of 500 gross tonnages or more as Chief Mate.
      b) At least 36 months sea service onboard sea-going ship of 500 gross tonnages or more in the Operational Level.
      c) At least 36 months sea service onboard sea-going ship of 500 gross tonnages or more both in the Operational and Management Level.
    • Proof of Sea Service:
      Several certificates and papers proving your work experience as a seamen.

Career opportunities for BSMT graduates

  • Jobs for graduates without an officer license

    • Ordinary seaman / OS – The lowest ranking personnel in the deck department. An OS generally helps out with work the Able seaman are doing. Other tasks include standing lookout, and general cleaning duties.
    • Able Seaman / AB – An Able seaman works under the Boatswain, completing tasks such as working mooring lines, operating deck gear, standing anchor details, and working cargo. The AB also stands a navigational watch, generally as a lookout or helmsman.
    • Boatswain / Bosun – Highly skilled in marlinspike seamanship, the Boatswain is the highest ranking unlicensed (rating) in the deck department. The Boatswain generally carries out the tasks instructed by the Chief mate, directing the Able seaman and Ordinary seaman. The Boatswain generally does not stand a navigational watch.
    • Deck Ratings / Rates Mariners without a certificate of competence are called ratings. They assist in all tasks that can arise during a voyage. This includes for example, mooring, cleaning of the ship and its holds and repairing broken lines and ropes. These are physically challenging jobs and have to be done regardless of the weather.
  • Jobs for Licensed Marine Deck Officers

    • Third Mate / Third Officer – the least experienced qualified Officer-in-Charge of a Navigational Watch watch-stander. When on navigational watch, the Third mate directs the bridge team, maneuvering the vessel, keeping it safe and on track. The Third mates primary duty is matters of safety, inspecting gear lockers, lifeboats, and all equipment onboard insuring that it is safe and operational. Other duties include directing line handlers, cargo watches, directing anchor details and training and instructing crew members.
    • Second Mate / Second Officer – a qualified Officer-in-Charge of a Navigational Watch watch stander, directing the bridge team and navigating the ship. The Second mate is the 3rd most experienced deck department officer after the Captain/Master and Chief mate. The Second mates primary duty is navigational, which includes updating charts and publications, keeping them current, making passage plans, and all aspects of ship navigation. The Second mate's other duties may include directing line handlers, cargo watches, directing anchor detail and training and instructing crew members.
    • OIC of a Navigational Watch – this job involves responsibilities regarding avoidance of collision and grounding, as well as watchkeeping at sea.
    • Merchant Marine Officer – this job entails serving as officers or ship crew whose duties include navigation, operation of engines, electronics and radio communication, as well as providing food for the ship’s crew.
    • Maritime Education and Training Officer – this job is like being a professor or instructor and involves training other students to become competent marine deck officers.
    • Philippine Coast Guard Officer – this involves working in the maritime security organization in the Philippines, whose role is to conduct search and rescue operations, to enforce Philippine Maritime Laws, to ensure the safety of ships and vessels, to maintain seamarks, as well as to maintain border control. Examples of positions in the Philippine Coast Guard are Seaman Second Class, Seaman First Class, Petty Officer, Senior Chief Petty Officer, Master Chief Petty Officer, and Lieutenant Senior Grade.
    • Naval Officer – this involves working at the naval warfare service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This involves protecting the country from terrorists and sea piracy, conducting underwater reconnaissance, capturing enemy targets, as well as collecting intelligence information. Examples of positions in the Philippine Navy are Radioman, Third Class, Electrician’s Mate, First Class, Seaman First, Hospital Corpsman, and Gunner’s Mate Chief.
  • Jobs for Licensed Chief Mates

    • Chief Mate / First Mate / First Officer – also called the First Mate or First Officer, a Chief Mate serves as the head of the deck department of a merchant vessel. This job involves being in charge of the ship’s cargo and deck crew.
  • Jobs for Licensed Master Mariners

    • Master Mariner / Captain – this job entails serving as the person in command of a commercial ship or vessel.
  • Career Opportunities Abroad

    There are job opportunities abroad for Filipino marine officers and seamen, however the number of positions depends on the economic situation and industry cycles.
    (source 1 , source 2)

Salary Levels

According to the International Labor Organizations (ILO) Subcommittee on Wages of Seafarers, the minimum agreed upon wages for ITF members as of 2016 are as follows:
(view source)

Note: All wages displayed here include regular wage + overtime pay + shore leave pay + pay for public holidays, and rounded to the nearest US$ 100.
Ordinary seaman / OS US$ 800
Able Seaman US$ 1,000
Boatswain US$ 1,200
Third Officer / Third Mate US$ 1,800
Second Officer / Second Mate US$ 1,900
Chief Officer / Chief Mate US$ 2,300
Captain / Master US$ 3,600

Find schools offering BS in Marine Transportation:

Reviews of BS in Marine Transportation graduates:

list bulletWhy did I choose Marine Transportation: But what I really want is to travel and explore the world at the same time earning by doing it. And I think this is the course that suits for my dream. Also, with the motivation of my parents in accordance with my dreams, I was persuaded to study this particular course.

list bulletAbout my college education: What I learned in this course is how you must behave as a Seafarer where you must practice Practical Seamanship involving the conduct of vessel from one place to another without causing injury to anybody. Also is the care for the vessel you are into because it is your 2nd home abroad for the Seafarers.

For me, I had some difficulty with Seamanship Subjects but I still managed to have a good grades with it. After all, it's my course and I must be proficient on it.

The attitudes and traits you must have for you to succeed in this course is Perseverance, Honesty, Respect, Loyalty, and above all.. DISCIPLINE, because it is a way of life for a Seafarer.

list bulletMy current job: Deck Cadet, a junior apprentice which is on board to practice and become a Future Deck Officer.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job: Before we graduate, Shipping companies were already taking cadets from our school to become part of their own, and fortunately I was one of those who had been taken.

list bulletAdvice to people who are thinking of studying this course: My advice is that "be yourself". No matter how many challenges you could encounter in studying this course, you must be patient and learn to overcome it. As the common quote says, "The Ship is safe at port, but the Ship is not built for that" therefore you must mold yourself for on the future you're voyaging the rough seas and exploring new places. You must be adaptable to any changes for you're not stationary to a certain place.
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