Electro-technical officers are engineer officers, working under the Chief Engineer, who whilst having the same qualifications as the engineers have followed a slightly different course of training to give them a greater knowledge of the many and varied electrical and electronic systems aboard modern ships.

The requirement for electro-technical officers on board ships varies greatly. On board a diesel electric powered cruise ship, for example, there may be several ETOs who spend almost all of their time dealing with electric and electronic matters; whereas, on a small coastal vessel the ETO may well spend most of his/her time dealing with mechanical matters and may only be called upon for electrical and electronic matters as and when required.

The ETO is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all electrical and electronic equipment, installations and machinery. This also includes radio communications and electronic navigation aids.

If you are following the 3-year HND route, the first phase of your training will comprise of a 27-week induction course at a residential Nautical College. Here you will be introduced to your training programme and follow a syllabus covering an introduction to electronics, basic engineering skills, shipboard familiarisation, fire-fighting, personal survival and safety.

The last six weeks of this phase will be almost entirely devoted to workshop training. Lectures will cover the underpinning knowledge which will allow you to make the best of your opportunities to gain practical competence when you go to sea. You will be issued with a portfolio detailing and recording the tasks which you are required to complete both in college and at sea throughout your cadetship.

During your first seagoing phase you will start to put into practice and become competent in those aspects of the job that you learned about, in theory, at college; together with many other competencies which can only be learned at sea. The remainder of your training consists of a number of phases, alternating between college and sea.

At sea you will work aboard one of a diverse range of vessels - such as cruise ships, tankers, bulk carriers, container ships, research ships, roll-on/roll-off ferries, dredgers or lighthouse support vessels ships - operated by a number of different, well respected companies; thereby providing you with extensive practical experience.

During each college phase your progress is assessed and you will be given the underpinning knowledge to enable you to tackle the more complex tasks which await you in the next seagoing phase. At each phase you will learn to take more responsibility whilst gaining greater competence as a deck officer.

If you are following the dedicated ETO Foundation Degree route, the first phase at college is 41 weeks and overall the course has 3 phases in total. The duration of the course is approximately 2½ years.

The training schedule below is designed to give you a good indication of time spent at college and at sea. This does vary depending on the route chosen and college attended.

Qualifications Gained

Option 1:

Professional: Officer of the Watch, Engineering, Radio Maintenance Certificate, Electronic Navigation Equipment Maintenance (ENEM) - including Radar Maintenance - Certificate

Academic: HND in Marine Engineering

Option 2:

Academic: Foundation Degree in Electrical/Electronic Engineering

Career Progression as an ETO depends on the shipping company you ultimately join. At this time there are no further qualifications required for ETOs, so seniority is commensurate with experience.

Training Schedule

ETO HND Route:

College Phase Approx Duration Content
Induction 27 weeks STCW Basic Training - including Fire Fighting and First Aid
General Induction to the shipping industry
Academic Ramp: Applied Mathematics to HND entry level
Initial NVQ Level 3 UPK (A. Mechanics & Heat, Electrics; Marine Plant)
Introduction to Electronics/ Workshop Skills & Technology/Welding
Phase 2 24 weeks At Sea
Phase 3 41 weeks Higher National Diploma (HND) Level 1 units:
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanics
  • Marine Propulsion Systems
  • Marine Auxiliary Systems
  • Marine Electrics
  • Marine Legislation and Management

Higher National Diploma (HND) Level 2 units:
  • Further Mathematics
  • Further Mechanics
  • Further Thermodynamics
  • Ship Stability and Construction
  • Preparation for Project
Electronic Principles & Systems
NVQ Level 3 Portfolio Review/Workshop Skills Training
STCW Advances Training: MFA
Phase 4 24 weeks At Sea
Phase 5 24 weeks Higher National Diploma (HND) Level 2 units:
  • Advanced Marine Electrics
  • Instrumentation and Control Systems
  • Engineering Management
  • Engineering Design & Project

STCW Advanced Training: AFF, CPSC, & RB
NVQ Level 3 Assessment MCA Orals Preparation
Consolidation of Work Based Learning and any outstanding academic assessments prior to the award of:
HND in Marine Engineering
Successful completion of MCA Oral examinations leads to award of initial:
  • MCA Certificate of Competency
Phase 6 10 weeks Additional units:
  • Electronic Navigation Systems
  • Navigation Systems Fault Diagnosis
  • Radio Communications Engineering
  • GMDSS Radio Maintenance & ENEM Certificates
Completion of Cadetship

ETO Foundation Degree Route:

College Phase Approx Duration Content
Induction 2 weeks STCW Basic Training - including Fire Fighting and First Aid
General Induction to the shipping industry
Phase 1 39 weeks ETO Workshop Skills Training
Foundation Degree - subjects include:
  • Mathematics for Electrical Engineers
  • Applications of power electronics Electrical & Electronic Principles and Systems
  • Engineering Science
  • Work based investigation
  • Marine Management for ETO's
  • Health & Safety onboard
  • Electronic control principles
Phase 2 37 weeks At Sea
Phase 3 31 weeks Foundation Degree - subjects include: Foundation Degree - subjects include:
  • Electronic Control Applications
  • Marine Control & Computer Systems
  • Electrical and Electronic principles
  • Operation and maintenance of Electrical plant
  • Marine Navigation system fault diagnosis
  • Radio Communications
  • Business Management for ETO's
  • Marine Navigation systems
  • Engineering project / design
STCW short courses: Medical First Aid, AFF, PSC & RB
Consolidation of Work Based Learning and any outstanding academic assessments prior to the award of:
Foundation Degree (FdSC) in Electrical/Electronic Engineering
Completion of Cadetship*
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