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Vessel Security Officer - Online



Course Length: 16 Hours  

Language: English  


Although this course can be taken by anyone with interest in obtaining knowledge of security in the Maritime Industry, particularly as it pertains to a Vessel Security Officer, per 33 CFR 104.215 and NVIC 21-14, the following is required in order to obtain the Vessel Security Officer endorsement on your Merchant Mariner Credential;

  1. 12 months of approved sea service on any vessel subject to STCW

  2. At least 18 years of age,

  3. Must hold a valid Coast Guard issued credential

Target Audience

This course is modeled after IMO Course Framework 3.19 - Ship Security Officer and intended to train;

  • Vessel or Ship Security Officer

  • ​Company Security Officer

  • Port Facility Security Officer

Other Security Related Personnel (Who wish to gain a better understanding of the Vessel Security Officer's Roles and Responsibilities)

Background and Regulations

The mandatory requirements for Ship Security Officer (SSO), otherwise known as Vessel Security Officer (VSO), contained in STCW Convention, 1978, as amended came into force in January 1, 2008.

The VSO requirements apply to all vessels subject to STCW under current USCG regulations. This includes all seagoing vessels, as defineed in 46 CFR 15.1101 to mean self-propelled vesssels engaged in commercial service that operate beyond the Boundary Line established by 46 CFR Part 7, except those vessels which have been determined to be otherwise exempt from STCW and/or not subject to STCW as per 46 CFR 15.103(e)(f) and NVIC 7-00. Additionally, all self-propelled vessels engaged in commercial service that operate in near coastal and oceans waters are subject to the SSO requirements, except the following;

  1. Small passenger vessels subject to 46 CFR Subchapter T or K engaged in domestic voyages

  2. Uninspected passenger vessels as defined in 46 USC 2101(42),

  3. Fishing vessels used as fish-tender vessels as defined in 46 USC 2101 (11a) & (11c),

  4. Vessel operating exclusively on the Great Lakes

Course Outline

The course curriculum is made up of 11 sections modeled after IMO Course Framework;

  1. Introduction

  2. Maritime Security Policy

  3. Security Responsibilities

  4. Vessel and Ship Security Assessment

  5. Security Equipment

  6. Security Plans

  7. Threat Identification, Recognition, and Response

  8. Ship and Port Facility Security Actions

  9. Emergency Preparedness, Drills, and Exercises

  10. Security Administration

  11. Security Training

Outcome and Certification

Students who successfully complete this course and the pass the final assessment will be issued a certificate to submit to USCG for issue of the VSO endorsement on their Merchant Mariner Credential.


Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to;

  1. Undertake regular security inspections of the ship to ensure that appropriate security measures are maintained,

  2. Maintain and supervise the implementation of a Ship Security Plan

  3. Coordinate the security aspects of passengers and the handling of cargo and ship stores with other shipboard personnel and with the relevant Port Facility Security Officers.

  4. Propose modifications to the Vessel Security Plan

  5. Report to the Company Security Officer any deficiencies and non-conformities identified during internal audits, periodic reviews, security inspections and verifications of compliance, and implementing any corrective actions,

  6. Enhance security awareness and vigilance onboard,

  7. Ensure that adequate training has been provided to shipboard personnel, as appropriate,

  8. Report all security incidents,

  9. Coordinate the implementation of the Vessel Security Plan with the Company Security Officer and the relevant Port Facility Security Officer,

  10. Ensure security equipment and systems, if any, are properly tested, operated, and calibrated.

Final Assessment

Upon successful completion of the 11 modules, a student will be given an in-person live-proctored examination as well as an assessment for conducting physical searches and non-intrusive inspection. MSS utilizes the National College Testing Association (NCTA) database to select examination proctors and local testing sites.All testing fees are included in course costs. An MSS instructor will guide you on selecting a  proctor. Proctors are available in most major cities.


Registration and Enrollment

Registration is simple and easy and only takes about 5 minutes. Click the Register Now button here or at the top of the page. After successfully filling out the registration form and paying the course fee, your instructor will email you a welcome packet with instructions on getting started, as well as all required course documentation.

Have questions? Call or email us at;


Mode of Delivery

This course is given online through MSS's Learning Management System, provided by Moxie Media. A sample video is provided below to demonstrate the ease of use. 

Minimum computer requirements are;

  • Windows Vista, XP, 7, 10, or newer

  • Internet Explorer 6.0 or newer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome (Preferred)

  • Email for course documents and training aids

  • Phone for voice identity verification and authentication

  • Sound card with speakers or headphones

  • Flash Player 9 (or greater)

  • Broadband Internet Connection

Credit and Special Thanks

MSS is a proud partner with Moxie Media. Moxie Media is a well established media design and production company, delivering high quality training products to their customers for over 30 years. A special thanks goes out to the Martin Glenday, Moxie Media President, and the development team for their assistance in not only the creation of this course, but in the establishment of Mariner Safety Services. To learn more about Moxie Media, visit


MSS would like to thank USCG for thier acceptance of this course and devotion to Maritime Security.



MSS would like to thank Kim Peterson, Chairman and President of Security Dynamics. Mr. Peterson is the instructor featured throught this course. To read more on his qualifications and accomplishments, visit

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