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From deckhand to officer in 27 weeks

3rd November 2016

Former superyacht deckhand, Alex Boulton (27) has been presented with The John William Slater Award for outstanding achievement in Officer of the Watch Unlimited studies 2016.

Alex, from Shrewsbury, recently gained his officer qualifications from Warsash Maritime Academy, with the help from the Nautilus Slater Fund. He received the award for his ‘tremendous efforts’ in completing the course with four distinctions and one merit.

Lars Lippuner, Director of Warsash Superyacht Academy says: “Alex impressed staff with his academic performance and exam success on what is a challenging 27 weeks of study.  We are equally pleased that his efforts have been rewarded with a second officer position on board a 107 metre vessel.”

Surprised and chuffed to be singled out for this outstanding achievement, Alex says: “It was a fantastic course at Warsash and the support I received from the Slater Fund, Marine Society and tutors was incredible. It really gave me the impetus to apply myself and work hard to achieve the results I got.”

Alex (centre) receives his award from the First Sea Lord and Stephen Gosling of Nautilus

If you’ve achieved enough sea service and bridge watchkeeping activities, Alex highly recommends apply for the Officer of Watch unlimited certificate: “It takes planning, dedication and commitment but holding an unlimited certificate has opened many doors for me. It expands your career pathway and enables you to take your pick of positions on offer,” he says.

Regarding funding for the course, Alex says: “Once I’d been sent the link to an application form on the Marine Society website, it took me just four weeks to get all the paperwork completed, sent in get the great news that I had been awarded £17,500 from the Slater Fund to go towards my course fees and living expenses while studying at Warsash for the 27 weeks of the course.”

After qualifying in July 2016, Alex took up the position as second officer on board the 107metre motor vessel Ulysses. “This is a great job and my future plans are to work towards my chief mate certificate and then ultimately at some stage Master Mariner,” ends Alex.

For information on the Slater Fund: visit Email to find out more about Officer of the Watch Unlimited studies.

Image of Picture of Ulysses, from