The Bridge Watch Rating

Perhaps one of the most exciting career paths for aspiring deckhands would be to complete their Bridge Watch Rating Training certification at WMI. As with the MED courses mentioned in previous articles, this is another entry level training course that allows students to go forth with their passion for the marine industry.

Before committing to a course, a discussion should be had with regards to where the student wishes to work in the future. Different companies may have desired qualifications for hiring or may have mandatory qualifications before being eligible for hire. Depending on where the student sees their future, they should be aiming to obtain the correct qualification. For students working towards Seaspan, the requirement is typically the Bridge Watch Rating certification whereas students working towards Canadian Coast Guard may have preference given to those with the Bridge Watch Rating however, their minimum requirement would be the STCW MED’s as well as the ROC-MC and Marine Basic First Aid- all courses available at WMI.

There is no “right way” to enter this industry. Financial implications and course duration heavily impact most student’s decision when deciding to complete their MED’s versus taking the Bridge Watch Rating course or program. One thing to consider, the Bridge Watch Rating Program is eligible for BC Student Loan. This combined with bursaries or scholarships can certainly assist a student when preparing for their schooling. Our website is updated regularly with available awards such as these. For more information, follow this link: Financial Aid – Western Maritime Institute (

BWR Course or BWR Program?

WMI offers the Bridge Watch Rating as a course and as a program. The difference between the two is that the course is solely the one class whereas the program is made up of the BWR class plus four other classes (BST, SC, MBFA, ROC-MC), to a total of 5 classes which make up the program we offer. The Bridge Watch Rating course is NOT eligible for ‘BC Student Loan’ funding whereas the program is eligible. (This is because BC Student Loan requires a set amount of weeks in order to be eligible for funding. Therefore it is required to have all 5 classes completed in the same school year to meet the requested amount of weeks) Information for BC Student Loan can be found on the BC Student Loan website.

The BWR course is 8 weeks and is a total of: 285.5 hours. If you were to take the full program, it would be 12 weeks and a total of: 402 hours. You would then require 2 months of sea time (as explained below).

** Because you would take the BWR at an institution or college, you are accredited 4 months of sea time by Transport Canada; therefore, you only need to complete an additional 2 months. The 2 months of sea time can be completed prior to the course or after. If you were to ‘challenge’ the course at Transport Canada, you would then need 6 months of sea time. Challenging the course is typically done when an individual has been working as a deckhand previously and holds experience on the water performing duties and tasks such as: a basic understanding of navigation and collision regulations, steering, knots and splices and other bridge watch duties. It is important to note, 2 months of sea time looks like, 60, 8-hour days or 40, 12-hour days. This will need to be recorded and submitted by the student to Transport Canada.

With the program that is offered, you would complete your courses (BST, SC, ROC-MC, MBFA, BWR) and begin the process to get your sea time approved by Transport Canada. After you meet the requirements for your Certificate of Competency (CoC) you would book to complete your Bridge Watchman certification with Transport Canada- provided your have the required sea time (2 months additional to the program), Transport Canada would fully endorse your Bridge Watchman CoC.

For more information on Transport Canada Regulations regarding this certification, visit:

*You will see that the ROC-MC is not a required certificate for the Bridge Watchman CoC. This course has been made part of WMI’s program due to program duration requirements by BC Student Aid. This certificate is an asset to have and will most likely be something you would need to take in the future if you choose to not take it at the time of enrollment.

Prior to starting your BWR course: You will also need to get a Candidate Document Number (CDN) which can be applied for, either on campus or at Transport Canada. It is a pre-requisite to have successfully completed a valid ‘Sea Farers Medical’ which can only be conducted by Transport Canada approved Doctors. For more information, please follow this link:

To enroll into these courses, you will need to make a non-refundable deposit payment of $250 per course (up to that of $1,000) or a non-refundable deposit payment of $250 for the full program (with all courses listed).


Bridge Watch Rating: $5,715.00** This course is 8 weeks duration (portion)

MED STCW Basic Safety Training: $2,150.00 ** This course is a 1 week (portion)

MED STCW Survival Craft: $1,298.00 ** This course is a 1 week (portion)

Marine Basic First Aid: $385.00 ** This course is a 1 week (portion)

Radio Operator Certificate- Marine Commercial: $625.00 ** This course is a 1 week (portion)

Total: $10,173.00

To explore our scheduled classes, click here: Bridge Watch Rating Program – Transport Canada Approved (

For more information on our courses and enrollment, check out our website at:

Pictured above, sunset in Clio Channel, Vancouver Island.