Further Reading

Bridge Operations

The full list of professional short courses available to Merchant Navy deck candidates is listed below, from entry-level to Master Mariner, including preparation for MCA Oral Examinations. The Pre-course entry requirements are listed on the individual course pages. For full details of the training requirements for a particular Certificate of Competency, please see our MCA CoC page.

Basic Training – Required by all new entrants

  • STCW Elementary First Aid
  • STCW Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting
  • STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR)
  • STCW Personal Survival Techniques (Sea Survival)

Also required for all crew on vessels which follow the ISPS code

  • STCW Proficiency in Designated Security Duties – Applies to all seafarers with any kind of security role on board
  • STCW Proficiency in Security Awareness – Applies to crew members with no security role, these could well be support staff such as chefs, or entertainment staff on a cruise ship, for example

Additionally, for all Deck Trainees – Able Seafarer (Deck) or OOW

  • Efficient Deck Hand – EDH – Full details of qualifications up to Able Seafarer can be found in MSN 1862

If you are working towards an MCA Certificate of Competency, e.g. OOW, Mate or Master, you will require additional training. The full details of the training requirements for each CoC can be found on our MCA CoC page. Below is a list of the short courses that may be required.

Navigation & Simulation

  • ECDIS
  • NAEST (O)
  • NAEST (M)

Radio Courses

  • GMDSS GOC
  • GMDSS ROC

Management Courses

  • HELM (O)
  • HELM (M)

Medical Courses

  • STCW Proficiency in Medical Care
  • STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid

MCA Oral Exam Preparation

We offer 4-days of one to one exam preparation with a Master Mariner for all levels of qualification. Please contact us for full details.

Commercial Fishing

We are one of the leading providers of Seafish, SQA, MCA and STCW Commercial Fishing courses in the UK and have been providing training for fishermen for over 25 years. Our experience means that we are able to guide and assist you in the correct choice of courses and provide advice on funding which may be available.

New Entrant Fisherman – Compulsory training and the Introduction to Commercial Fishing course

Before you can go to sea, you must attend a 1-day Sea Survival Course. Within 3 months of completing the Sea Survival course, you must complete the following 3 additional 1-day courses:

  • Health & Safety – (Seafish)
  • Fire Fighting (MCA)
  • First Aid (STCW)

Alternatively, there is a 3-week course – Introduction to Commercial Fishing – which includes these four mandatory courses and training in the use of fishing gear, catch handling and watchkeeping amongst other things. For full details about the Introduction to Commercial Fishing course, how to register and for upcoming course dates, please click the link above. We run this course twice a year.

On successful completion of all 4 basic safety courses (sometimes referred to as fishermen’s safety training), you can apply for a New Entrant Certificate Photo-ID Card, a credit card-sized document which verifies that you hold all 4 certificates.

After completing 6 months of service, you are required to attend a 1-day Safety Awareness course. This course MUST be completed within 2 years of starting fishing.

When you have 2 years of service and have completed all 5 safety courses you are classed as an Experienced Fisherman and can apply for an Experienced Fisherman’s Certificate Photo-ID Card which verifies these requirements.

Experienced Fishermen – Under 16.5m Skipper

As an experienced fisherman, you can progress towards the Seafish Under 16.5m Skipper’s Certificate. This is a voluntary qualification which is available at two levels, silver (restricted) and gold (unrestricted).

The Under 16.5m (Silver) Skipper’s Certificate entitles you to take control of a fishing vessel up to 20 miles offshore. To achieve this, you must achieve the following additional qualifications:

  • 2-day Stability Awareness (Seafish) (Consists of Stability Awareness for Experienced Fishermen and Advanced Stability Awareness)
  • 2-day Bridge Watchkeeping (Seafish)
  • 2-day Engine Room Watchkeeping (Seafish)
  • 1-day GMDSS SRC (Or higher, we recommend the GMDSS ROC course as a higher level of qualification)

If you wish to achieve the gold (unrestricted) certificate need 2 further qualifications:

  • 5-day Bridge Watchkeeping (RYA Yachtmaster Offshore CoC Accepted as an alternative)
  • 5-day Engine Room Watchkeeping (MCA 30 Hour Applied Engine Course (AEC))

Vessels over 16.5m

If you serve on a vessel over 16.5m whether as a skipper or a mate, you must hold an MCA Certificate of Competency depending on the areas of operation as follows:

 

Fishing AreaLength of VesselDeck Officer – Class 1Deck Officer – Class 2Deck Officer – Class 3
Unlimited40m and over21
UnlimitedUnder 40m11
Limited30m and over11
Limited24m or more, but under 30m11
Limited16.5m or more, but under 24m1

Limited qualifications are restricted to the UK limited fishing area.

To achieve an MCA CoC, you must pass an MCA Oral Exam. Once you have fulfilled the sea-service and training requirements and you can then apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NOE) using application form MSF4345 (we can help you with this). Once your NOE has been issued, you can apply for the Oral Exam.

The training and qualification requirements for each Certificate are as follows:

Deck Officer – Class 3 – Fishing

  • Electronic Navigation Systems (ENS) Fishing
  • Fisherman’s Safety Training – The 4 basic safety training courses
  • GMDSS LRC or ROC
  • Signals Certificate

Candidates will also need to prove sea service and pass a colour blindness check.

Deck Officer – Class 2 – Fishing

To obtain the Deck Officer – Class 2 – Fishing qualification, you must hold the following certificates:

STCW Proficiency in Medical First AidThis is a 4-day course which fishing skippers do not need to update this qualification every 5-year in the same way that merchant navy candidates do.
Electronic Navigation Systems (ENS) FishingThis course has been superseded by the 4-week NAEST (O) course (Navigation Aids, Equipment and Simulator Training) which includes ECDIS.
Advanced Fire FightingThis is a 2-day course which includes the use of fire-fighting systems and breathing apparatus. It is not the same as the 4-day STCW advanced course required by Class 1 skippers. Fishing skippers do not need to update every 5 years.
GMDSS GOCThis 8-day course is the highest level of commercial radio qualification available and will cover you for any radio equipment that you may use.
Basic Survival TechniquesThis is the same as the basic 1-day Sea Survival course. We teach STCW Personal Survival techniques course which fishermen are not required to update every 5 years.
HELM (O) – Human Element, Leadership & ManagementThis is a 3-day course covering bridge and crew management.
Signals CertificateTaught as part of the Class 2 Fishing course.
SQA Class 2 Fishing Exam Pass

Taught as part of the Class 2 Fishing course. The exams take place every 3 months.

Please note: In the event of failing an exam/s, you have to pass all of the exams within 3 years of your Class 2 course end date. If you don’t pass within 3 years you are required to re-sit the Class 2 course again.

You will also need to prove that you have 3 years sea time in an acceptable deck capacity, including 2 years on vessels over 12m in length, and pass a colour blindness check.

When you have completed all of the above then you can apply for the MCA oral examination.

Deck Officer – Class 1 – Fishing

To progress to the Deck Officer – Class 1 – Fishing qualification, you must hold the following certificates in addition to those listed above for the Class 2 ticket.

STCW Proficiency in Medical CareThis is a 5-day course which must be updated every 5 years.
Navigation Control Course (Fishing) (NCC)This course has been superseded by NAEST (M).
Advanced Fire FightingThis is a 4-day STCW course. Fishermen are not required to update it every 5 years.
SQA Class 1 Fishing Exam PassSQA Class 1 fishing exams take place every 3 months.

You will also need to prove that you have the required sea service (see below) and pass a colour blindness check before you can apply for your MCA Oral Exam.

Sea Service Requirements for Class 1 Fishing

This must be completed whilst holding the Deck Officer – Class 2 – Fishing:

Either

  • 12 months in fishing vessels over 12m in unlimited waters

OR

  • 12 months in fishing vessels over 12m in limited waters AND 6 months in fishing vessels over 12m in unlimited waters

OR

  • 2 years in fishing vessels in limited waters (at the discretion of the MCA Chief Examiner)

MCA Deck Certificates of Competency

MCA Certificates of Competency (CoC’s) are internationally recognised qualifications for Masters and other Officers of the Watch in line with the requirements of the STCW convention. Each one has qualifying requirements that you need to meet before you can apply to the MCA for a Notice of Eligibility (NOE) for an Oral Examination. The qualifying requirements are a combination of seagoing experience and training as well as medical fitness.

To help simplify the process we have listed the full qualifying requirements, including, sea service, training and medical fitness requirements, for each MCA Deck CoC, below, simply select the qualification you are interested in to see the full details.

MCA Deck Certificates of Competency

  • Master Code Vessels 200GT/OOW (Yachts) 500GT
  • OOW & Master 500GT Near Coastal
  • OOW Unlimited
  • Chief Mate & Master Unlimited
  • Chief Mate & Master Near Costal, Unlimited Tonnage
  • Chief Mate 3,000GT
  • Master 3,000GT

Yachts

  • OOW Yachts 3,000GT Unlimited
  • Chief Mate Yachts 3,000GT Unlimited
  • Master Yachts 500GT Unlimited
  • Master Yachts 3,000GT Unlimited

Commercial Fishing

  • Deck Office Class 1
  • Deck Office Class 2
  • Deck Office Class 3

MCA Deck COC Further Information

The information provided on this page is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of writing. Regulations are, however, updated by the MCA on a regular basis and requirements change accordingly. Whilst we do our best to keep as up to date as possible, the full details of the requirements for each CoC are included in the relevant M-Notices, which are listed below.

MSN 1856 & MSF 4274 for information on:

  • OOW & Master 500GT Near Coastal
  • OOW Unlimited
  • Chief Mate & Master Unlimited
  • Chief Mate & Master Near Coastal, Unlimited Tonnage
  • Chief Mate 3,000 GT
  • Master 3,000 GT

MSN 1858 & MSF 4343 for information on:

  • OOW Yachts 3,000GT Unlimited
  • Chief Mate Yachts 3,000GT Unlimited
  • Master Yachts 500GT Unlimited
  • Master Yachts 3,000GT Unlimited

MGN 411 & MSF 4345 for information on:

  • Deck Officer Class 1 Fishing
  • Deck Officer Class 2 Fishing
  • Deck Officer Class 3 Fishing

Engineering

The MCA Small Vessel Engineering Certificates of Competency are for Engineers operating on Fishing Vessels, Yachts, Tugs, Workboats, Standby, Seismic Survey, Oceanographic Research and Government Patrol Vessels. Small Vessels, in this case, are defined as being under 3,000 GT and with propulsion power under 9,000kW. There are no operational area restrictions and the qualifications are directly transferable between different industry sectors.

In 2021 they will replace the existing yacht, fishing, tug & government engineering qualifications. After this time existing qualifications will be recognised, but if you wish to progress your qualification you will need to convert to a CoC in the new scheme. Details of how to convert an existing CoC are given below (link).

Small Vessel qualifications will also replace the Merchant Navy Second Engineer and Chief Engineer under 3,000kW CoC’s outlined in MSN 1857.

Where Do I Start?

The basic engineering qualification is the MCA 35-hour diesel engine Approved Engine Course, now called AEC 1, formerly known as the AEC.

The AEC 1 allows you to work as a Chief Engineer on a number of vessels, for example, Yachts less than 200 tonnes operating within 60NM of a safe haven, it is also acceptable in place of the Seafish 5-day Engine-room Watchkeeping course. To work on vessels where this is not the case, it is the entry-level qualification that will allow you to work on vessels as an assistant engineer whilst you build your sea-time and gain experience.

You will also need to complete the STCW Basic Safety Training and obtain an ENG1 certificate of medical fitness before you can go to sea.

Progression

There are 3 levels of progression for Small Vessel Engineers

  1. Second Engineer 9,000kW, 3,000 GT
  2. Chief Engineer 3,000kW, 500 GT
  3. Chief Engineer 9,000kW, 3,000 GT

Second Engineer 9,000KW, 3,000GT

There are 3 ways to progress to Second Engineer status:

  1. The Standard Route. This involves completing a Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel Engineer from an MCA approved training provider but has the advantage of only requiring 12 months’ sea time. Full details can be found here.
  2. The Experienced Seafarer Route. This involves completing a course of study to pass the relevant SQA exams and 36 month’s sea time. Full details can be found here.
  3. The Alternative Route. This scheme is designed for candidates with a relevant engineering qualification, but which is not specifically maritime. It involves applying to an approved training provider for an action plan to ensure that you have covered all the relevant subjects to the required standard, it will also determine the sea-time required to achieve the CoC. Full details can be found here.

Whichever route you follow to obtain a Second Engineer CoC, you must be 18 years old meet the following criteria before you can you sit your MCA Oral:

  • Complete the required sea-time depending on your qualification route, this must include engine room watchkeeping or unmanned machinery space duties
  • Complete the MNTB Training Record book which will be issued by your training provider.
    Complete 2-weeks of MCA approved initial Workshop Skills Training. (You may require an additional 2-weeks depending on your sea time)
  • Hold AEC 1 and AEC 2
  • Hold the following STCW Basic Training qualifications
    • STCW Personal Safety & Social Responsibilities
    • STCW Personal Survival Techniques (Must be updated every 5 years)
    • STCW Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting (Must be updated every 5 years, update course here)
    • STCW Elementary First Aid
  • Hold the following MCA qualifications in addition to your STCW basic training
    • STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft & Rescue Boats (Must be updated every 5 years)
    • STCW Advanced Fire Fighting (Must be updated every 5 years)
    • STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid (Must be updated every 5 years)
    • HELM (O)

Once these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA Second Engineer Small Vessels Oral examination using the application form MSF 4900, full details on each of the qualification routes can be found in MIN 524. You can find the full oral syllabus here.

Chief Engineer 3,000KW, 500GT

To upgrade from Second Engineer to Chief Engineer 3,000kW, 500 GT, you must meet the following additional criteria:

  • Pass MCA approved written exams in
    • Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements
    • Auxiliary Equipment – Part 2
    • Hold a HELM (M) qualification

Once these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA Chief Engineer Small Vessels Under 3,000kW and 500 GT Oral examination using the application form MSF 4900, full details on each of the qualification routes can be found in MIN 524. You can find the full oral syllabus here.

Chief Engineer 9,000KW, 3,000 GT

To upgrade from Second Engineer to Chief Engineer 9,000kW, 3,000 GT, you must meet the following criteria.

  • Complete 24 months’ sea time
  • 12 months must be as a Second Engineer or Chief Engineer (3,000kW, 500 GT) whilst holding your Second Engineer/ Chief Engineer CoC on vessels of at least 350kW, 6 months of this must be on vessels over 750Kw
  • Pass MCA approved written exams in
    • Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements (If not already achieved)
    • Auxiliary Equipment – Part 2 (If not already achieved)
    • Applied Marine Engineering
    • General Engineering Science 1 & 2 (Can take Maritime Studies Diplomas, Small Vessel and Small Vessel Chief Engineer instead)
    • Hold a HELM (M) qualification

Once these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA Chief Engineer Small Vessels Under 9,000kW and 3,000 GT Oral examination using the application form MSF 4900, full details on each of the qualification routes can be found in MIN 524. You can find the full oral syllabus here.

Converting Existing Engineering Qualifications to Small Vessel Engineering COC’s

If you hold any of the following Yacht, Fishing, Tug, Government and Merchant Navy CoC’s, you can convert them to Small Vessel qualifications by consulting the information and following the instructions here.

  • Yacht 4 (Y4)
  • Yacht 3 (Y3)
  • Yacht 2 (Y2)
  • Yacht 1 (Y1)
  • Tug Officer of the Watch under 9,000kW
  • Tug Chief Engineer under 3,000kW and 500 GT
  • Tug Chief Engineer Officer under 9,000kW
  • EOOW(Tug) Under 3,000kW/6,000kW and 30 NM from a safe haven
  • Chief Engineer (Tug) Under 3,000kW/6,000kW and 30 NM from a safe haven
  • Class 2 Fishing
  • Class 1 Fishing
  • HMC&E EOOW Under 6,000kW
  • HMC&E Chief Engineer Officer Under 6,000kW
  • EOOW Unlimited
  • Second Engineer under 3,000kW unlimited
  • Chief Engineer Under 3,000kW unlimited
  • Second Engineer unlimited

Further Information

Full details of the MCA Small Vessel Engineering qualifications can be found in MIN 524.

Details of the application process for an NOE and Small Vessel Oral Exam can be found in MSF 4900.

Full details of Merchant Navy engineering qualifications are listed in MSN 1857.

 

STCW Training

The 1978 STCW convention governs maritime training and certification worldwide and clearly sets out the training requirements for seafarers at every level.

The convention was updated in 1995 and again in 2010 (The Manila Amendments). The latest amendments mean that you now need to keep some of your qualifications updated. The updating training, which needs to be completed every 5 years, may be done in house or onboard for certain courses, but for others, it means re-taking the course. All of our STCW courses meet the initial and updating requirements where appropriate.

STCW Basic Safety Training

Before going to sea, you must have a certain level of basic safety training whether or not you are directly involved in the running of the ship. The courses required are:

  • STCW Basic Safety Training Week
  • STCW Elementary First AID
  • STCW Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting – needs updating every 5 years
  • STCW Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (PSSR)
  • STCW Personal Survival Techniques (Sea Survival) – needs updating every 5 years
  • STCW Security Awareness

Additionally, if you are serving on a vessel governed by the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code, you will need STCW Proficiency in Security Awareness course, Unless you have any kind of role in the security of the ship, in which case you need the STCW Proficiency in Designated Security Duties.

It should be noted that many vessels opt to voluntarily follow the ISPS code, particularly superyachts.

Please note, the STCW fire training courses will be delivered by our partner organisation STCW Fire Ltd at the Kingskerswell site near Newton Abbot. STCW Fire Ltd will issue the relevant fire certifications.

Advanced STCW Safety Training

For higher-level certificates, you need additional qualifications. The available courses are:

  • STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats – needs updating every 5 years
  • STCW Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats – needs updating every 5 years
  • STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid
  • STCW Proficiency in Medical Care – needs updating every 5 years
  • STCW Advanced Fire Fighting – needs updating every 5 years

Bridge Operations

The STCW convention also states that if you are involved in watchkeeping in any capacity, that you should have one or more of the following management and navigation certificates:

  • STCW HELM (O) – For OOW Candidates
  • STCW HELM (M) – For Mates & Masters
  • STCW NAEST (O) – For OOW Candidates
  • STCW NAEST (M) – For Mates & Masters

Updating Training

The following STCW Courses need to be updated. If you work for a company with in-house training facilities, some of your updating training can be on board and can be self-certified. The company can then provide you with a shorter course as per the table below. The table also contains links to the self-certification forms where applicable.

If you do not fall into this category, you simply re-take the whole course at an approved training centre.

We offer the STCW Fire 5-year update training and you can update your sea survival qualification here.

SCTW ProficiencyOnboard TrainingCourse Length to AttendSelf-Declaration Form
Personal Survival TechniquesYes4 hoursMSN 1865 Annex B
NoFull PST course
Survival Craft and Rescue BoatsYes3 hoursMSN 1865 Annex C
No7 hours
Fast Rescue BoatsYes4 hoursMSN 1865 Annex D
No7 hours
Fire Prevention & Fire FightingN/A7 hoursN/A
Advanced Fire FightingYes4 hoursMSN 1865 Annex E
No7 hours
Proficiency in Medical CareN/A3 daysN/A

Workboats

Workboats come in many different shapes and sizes. The most common requirement for operating a sea-going workboat is the MCA Master Code Vessels Under 200GT CoC, you can find the full details for obtaining a Master 200 qualification here. A sea-going vessel is defined as one which leaves categorised (sheltered) waters. There is a full list of all the UK’s categorised waters in MSN 1837.

Sometimes a higher level of qualification is required to operate a workboat. For example, the skippers of wind farm support vessels in Germany are often required to hold a Master 500, or even a Master 3000. Full details of the requirements for a Master 500 CoC can be found here, and Master 3000 here.

Boatmaster’s License (BML)

If you are operating a vessel that does not go to sea, or that only makes short coastal passages, the requirement is for you to hold a BML. The BML is valid for vessels operating no more than 5 miles from land which are never more than 15 miles from their point of arrival or departure. The BML can be used on any vessel which does not exceed these limits, including vessels carrying up to 250 passengers. The full list of the types of vessel for which a BML is suitable is listed here.

There are four levels of BML available and are shown in the table below.

Generic BML Type/LevelLevel 1Level 2
Tier 1National licence for non-tidal waters. Categories A, B & non-linked C.National licence for sheltered waters, Categories A-D, and limited coastal waters.
Tier 2Restricted licence, valid for specific areas in waters of any category.Restricted licence, valid for all Category A canals and specified areas of Category A, B or C.

The BML also requires specialist endorsements for which you need experience in the relevant field.

The endorsements are: Passenger, Towing, Oil, Chemical, Gas, Ro-Ro and Fast Craft. In addition, to operate in certain areas, for example, the Thames or the Severn Estuary, you need a Local Knowledge Endorsement to demonstrate that you understand the hazards and regulations associated with your area of operation.

Full details of the requirements for obtaining a BML can be found in MSN 1853, we can provide assistance in identifying your specific requirements.

If you wish to apply for a first BML, you must:

  • Meet the minimum age requirements
  • Have completed the required sea time
  • Present a completed Work Record Book (MSF 4366)
  • Hold the relevant Ancillary Safety Training certificates
    • Personal Survival
    • Fire Safety
    • First Aid
  • Present a completed Training Record Book (MSF 4367)
  • Hold a valid medical certificate, ML5
  • An ENG1 is also suitable but needs renewing more often. (Details of Medical certificates can be found here)
  • Pass a boat handling test
  • Complete assessments in the relevant Maritime Studies Qualifications OR pass an MCA Oral Examination. (Tier 1, Level 1 syllabus here, Tier 1, Level 2 syllabus here)

You can apply for a BML using form MSF 4364.

Superyacht Training

We offer a wide range of fully approved MCA STCW courses for superyacht crew of all levels, from basic safety training to professional short courses for the Master (Yachts), Chief Mate (Yachts) and Officer of the Watch (Yachts) Certificates of Competency.

Basic Safety Training

Everyone wishing to work on a superyacht, regardless of position, needs to complete some basic safety training. Before you can be employed on board, you must complete the following STCW basic safety training courses:

  • STCW Personal Survival Techniques (Sea Survival)
  • STCW Elementary First Aid
  • STCW Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting
  • STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (PSSR)

Whilst it is not an MCA requirement, most yachts will require you to hold a security qualification. The basic security course is the STCW Proficiency in Security Awareness. However, if you take any kind of active role in the security of the boat, for example, passerelle duty, you will require the STCW Proficiency in Designated Security Duties.

As well as your basic safety training, you will need an ENG1 medical certificate to prove your medical fitness which must be renewed at least every 2 years whatever your function on board or level of seniority. Full details on MCA medical fitness certificates can be found here.

Deckhands, Yacht Ratings and Able Seafarers

Deck crew only need the STCW basic safety training to be able to work onboard, but larger yachts may require you to hold a Yacht Rating Certificate. From here you can progress to an Able Seafarer. Full details on how to achieve these can be found in MSN 1862 Sections 3 to 5.

Officer of the Watch – OOW(Yachts) less than 3,000GT, Unlimited area

To obtain an OOW (Yachts) certificate you must be 19 years old and meet the following training and sea service criteria before you can you sit your MCA Oral:

  • Hold RYA Yachtmaster Coastal OR IYT Master of Yachts Coastal
  • Complete the Yacht Training Record Book(Candidates with 36 months’ Actual Sea Service on yachts over 24m Load Line Length are exempt from this requirement)
  • Hold the following MCA qualifications in addition to your STCW basic training
    • Efficient Deck Hand (EDH)(Can be taken from the age of 17 and must be held for 18 months before an OOW CoC can be issued, visit the EDH page for a full list of pre-course requirements)
    • Navigation & Radar
    • General Ship Knowledge(Syllabuses for Nav & Radar and GSK can be found here)
    • HELM (O)
    • GMDSS GOC (ROC may be sufficient depending on your areas of operation)
    • ECDIS
    • STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats

Sea Service Requirements 

Since the age of 16, you must have 36 months’ Onboard Yacht Service. 365 days of this service must be made up as follows:

250 days of Actual Sea Service (minimum)

  • 115 days of any combination of the following:
    • Actual Sea Service
    • Stand-by Service
    • Yard Service – Up to a maximum of 90 days in total

Once all of these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA OOW (Yachts less than 3,000GT) Oral examination, you can find the full syllabus here and we offer an OOW 3000 oral prep course.

You may apply for your Notice of Eligibility (NOE) before you have completed all of the courses but you should complete them before you apply for your exam date. In any case, your CoC will not be issued until you have met all these requirements even if you pass your oral before this time. To apply for your oral exam, or for full details on the application requirements see MSF 4343.

Chief Mate (Yachts) less than 3,000GT, Unlimited Area

The qualifying requirements for a Chief Mate are very similar to those for OOW 3000, the sea time requirements and oral examination syllabus are exactly the same, but you need the following additional qualifications:

  • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and shore-based course completion certificate OR IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited
  • STCW Advanced Fire Fighting
  • STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid
  • STCW HELM (M)

You can apply for your Chief Mate CoC at the same time as your OOW 3000 as long as you meet all the qualifying requirements. We offer a Chief Mate (Yachts) 3000 oral prep course.

Master (Yachts) less than 500GT, Unlimited Area

To progress to Master (Yachts) 500GT you must have 12 months’ Onboard Yacht Service as a deck officer on vessels over 15m load line length. This must include at least 120 days of watchkeeping service and be served whilst holding your OOW 3000 CoC. (Sea service definitions can be found here).

You also need to complete the following STCW qualifications if not already held:

  • STCW Proficiency in Medical Care
  • STCW Advanced Fire Fighting
  • STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid
  • STCW HELM (M)

And complete the following training modules and pass the corresponding IAMI exam:

  • Seamanship and Meteorology (Master)
  • Stability (Master)
  • Business & Law (Master)
  • Navigation, Radar & ARPA Simulator
  • IAMI Celestial Navigation exam (exam only)

Once all of these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA Master (Yachts) less than 500 GT Oral examination, you can find the syllabus here and we offer a Master (Yachts) 500 oral prep course.

You may apply for your Notice of Eligibility (NOE) once you have completed the relevant sea service. You need not have completed all of the IAMI and STCW qualifications, but you should complete them before you apply for your exam date. In any case your CoC will not be issued until you have met all the requirements. To apply for your oral exam, or for full details on the application requirements see MSF 4343.

Master (Yachts) less than 3,000 GT, Unlimited Area

To progress to Master (Yachts) 3,000GT you must have 24 months’ Onboard Yacht Service as a deck officer on vessels over 15m load line length. This must include at least 240 days of watchkeeping service. Of these 24 months, either 12 months must be completed on vessels over 24m load line length OR 6 months must be completed on vessels over 500 GT. All of this must be served whilst holding your OOW 3000 CoC.

You must also hold an MCA Master (Yachts) less than 500 GT CoC and an IAMI Celestial Navigation exam pass certificate.

If you do not hold the Master 500 qualification, then you must complete all the relevant STCW short courses and IAMI module as listed above.

Once all of these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA Master (Yachts) less than 3,000 GT Oral examination, you can find the full syllabus here and we offer a Master (Yachts) 3,000 oral prep course.

You may apply for your Notice of Eligibility (NOE) once you have completed the relevant sea service. You need not have completed all of the IAMI and STCE qualifications, but you should complete them before you apply for your exam date. In any case, your CoC will not be issued until you have met all the requirements. To apply for your oral exam, or for full details on the application requirements see MSF 4343.

Sea Service Definitions

The below terms will be counted in days and months. A day is defined as at least 4 hours of working duty in the deck department in a 24-hour period. A month is a calendar month or 30 days if made up of shorter periods.

Onboard Yacht Service – The time spent on board a yacht from enlistment to discharge regardless of the vessel’s activity.

Actual Sea Service – Time spent at sea, including time at anchor or river and canal transits associated with a passage.

Stand-by Service – Time immediately following a voyage while the vessel is being prepared for the next voyage. Your period of standby time cannot be longer than the previous voyage and you cannot count more than 14 days in any one period of stand-by activity.

Yard Service – Time spent during the construction, refit or repair of the vessel.

Sea Service – Includes Actual Sea Service, Stand-by Service and/or Yard Service.

Watchkeeping Service – Actual Sea Service spent in charge of a navigational watch. 4 hours of watchkeeping in a 24-hour period counts as 1 day. You cannot count multiple watches in a single 24-hour period as more than 1 day.