A COMPREHENSIVE AND SUCCINCT

Deck Career

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Deck Department

Follow the Superyacht Career Path below showing you the recommended routes and courses to study when starting out, or progressing your career.

Using this information, you can prepare yourself for the topics covered along every step of your chosen career path. The search tool allows you to find training providers globally and book courses, whether they be classroom-based, distance or E-Learning.

Medical Fitness Certificate

Overview:

Step one to becoming a seafarer is ensuring that you are fit for the job you will do on a day-to-day basis and during emergencies.

Seafarers are required to undergo medical examinations to reduce risks to other crew members and for the safe operation of the vessel and safeguard their personal health and safety. A medical examination will determine if you have a health condition that could result in you needing urgent treatment or potentially put fellow crew or passengers’ lives at risk.

A medical certificate issued in accordance with the requirements of the STCW Convention, 1978, as amended, also meets the requirements of the MLC, 2006. Ensure that your national seafarers’ fitness certificate is issued under these guidelines before completing the examination.  If you are to work on a UK registered vessel, you will require either an ENG1, an ML5, or equivalent. 

Prerequisites:

Be at least 16 years of age. 

Although you’ll be told what to take when you make your appointment, the general requirements that you will need to provide are:

  • your current ENG1 certificate or equivalent;
  • any medication you’re taking;
  • any glasses or contact lenses you‘re using, and spares (no colour correction lenses);
  • the name and telephone number of your doctor (general practitioner; GP);
  • any reports or letters from your GP, if you’ve recently been to the hospital or under a consultant; and,
  • an official form of ID that has a photo: a passport, a photocard driving licence, an official student pass with photo (for new entrants), a discharge book.

Duration: 

Depending on where you complete your medical examination, it typically takes  30-40 minutes and is non-invasive.  Regardless of where you complete the examination, the following points should be covered:

  • your medical history will be discussed with the doctor or a practice nurse;
  • weight and measurements taken;
  • you will be asked to provide a urine sample;
  • your hearing and eyesight (for distance, colour and near vision) will be tested; and,
  • you will be given a physical examination (you will be asked to undress to your underclothes).

Basic Safety Training

Personal Survival Techniques

Overview:

The aim of this course is to meet the mandatory minimum standards of competence for seafarers for safety familiarisation, basic training and instruction in personal survival techniques in accordance with section A-VI/1 of the STCW Code.

Seafarers employed as part of a vessel complement, or engaged in any capacity on board a vessel or on the business of those vessels, with designated safety or pollution-prevention duties in the operation of the vessel, shall, before being assigned to any shipboard duties, receive appropriate approved basic training or instruction in personal survival techniques as set out in table AVI/1 of the STCW Code.

The objective is to provide trainees with guidance and information to gain the knowledge, understanding and proficiency (KUP) required to achieve the objectives of the learning outcomes to demonstrate their competence in personal survival techniques. 

The course syllabus covers the KUPs in table A-VI/1-1 of the STCW Code, and trainees successfully completing this course will gain knowledge and skills to be able to survive at sea in the event of vessel abandonment. 

On completion of the course, you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • don a lifejacket;
  • don and use an immersion suit;
  • safely jump from a height into the water;
  • right an inverted liferaft while wearing a lifejacket;
  • swim while wearing a lifejacket;
  • keep afloat without a lifejacket;
  • board a survival craft from the vessel and water while wearing a lifejacket;
  • take initial actions on boarding survival craft to enhance the chance of survival;
  • stream a drogue or sea-anchor;
  • operate survival craft equipment; and,
  • operate location devices, including radio equipment.

NOTE: Personal Survival Techniques requires refreshing at intervals not exceeding 5 years

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a Certificate of Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques, you must:

  • be at least 16 years of age;
  • hold a valid Medical Fitness Certificate; and,
  • successfully complete approved training in Personal Survival Techniques, meeting the standard of competence specified in Section A-VI/1-1 of the STCW Code.

NOTE: In exceptional circumstances where a learner is physically able and fit, they may be able to complete the training course prior to their 16th birthday.

Duration: 

Typically the course is run over a 1 day period (8 hours), of which approximately 60% of the time will be used completing practical exercises.

Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting

Overview:

The Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting course serves to train candidates to meet the minimum requirements for safety in accordance with Section A-VI/1 of the STCW Code. On meeting the minimum standard of competence, the trainee will be competent to take appropriate measures for the safety of personnel and the vessel.  The trainee will have knowledge of fire prevention and the correct use of fire appliances.  

This course deals with precautions necessary to minimise the risk of fires aboard vessels. It focuses on the cause of fires and the best means of extinguishing them. The syllabus provides seafarers with a clear understanding of the following points:

  • the risk of fire on board a vessel and how to best minimise those risks;
  • how to fight and extinguish fires;
  • how to search and recover casualties; 
  • how to don fire fighting equipment, including personal breathing apparatus; and, 
  • the safe use of fire extinguishers, hoses, pumps and fixed fire installations.

NOTE: Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting require refreshing at intervals not exceeding 5 years.

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a Certificate of Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, you must:

  • be at least 16 years of age;
  • hold a valid Medical Fitness Certificate; and,
  • successfully complete approved training in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, meeting the standard of competence specified in Section A-VI/1-2 of the STCW Code.

Duration: 

Typically the course is run over a 2 or 2.5 day period (15 hours), comprising both classroom lectures and practical exercises.

Elementary First Aid

Overview:

The Elementary First Aid course will equip you with the skills needed to provide necessary medical assistance during accidents and medical emergencies. The course aims to provide the minimum standard of training for seafarers to provide elementary first aid on board a vessel according to Section A-VI/1 of the STCW Code.

This course combines both theory and practical training for basic first aid and life-saving skills. It comprises the knowledge required in Table A-VI/1-3 of the STCW Code and provides an introduction to first aid principles. It shows how to respond to the most common medical emergencies, including but not limited to:

  • responding to an emergency;
  • treatment priorities;
  • casualty reporting and transport;
  • vital signs and basic life support (CPR);
  • shock management;
  • wounds/bleeding and their treatment and bandaging; and,
  • burns/scalds.

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a Certificate of Proficiency in Elementary First Aid, you must:

  • be at least 16 years of age; and,
  • successfully complete approved training in Elementary First Aid, meeting the standard of competence in Section A-VI/1-3 of the STCW Code.

Duration:

Typically the course is run over a 1 day period (8 hours).

Personal Safety and Social Responsibility

Overview:

This course aims to meet the mandatory minimum standards of competence in personal safety and social responsibilities in accordance with Section A-VI/1 of the STCW Code.

This course is designed to prepare new recruits for life at sea, where they will experience a vastly different living and working environment on board the vessel compared to that when living and working ashore. Working on a vessel can be a hazardous occupation for the uninitiated. This course will give trainees an insight into the various elements of a vessel and working procedures on board so that they adjust to the vessel environment and are better prepared to cope with any unforeseen circumstances. To transition from a shore to a sea career as smoothly as possible, this course will provide some understanding of a seafarer’s working environment and the hazards, procedures, and safe work practices they will encounter before they actually step onboard a vessel. 

A trainee successfully completing this course will be able to:

  • comply with emergency procedures; 
  • take precautions to prevent pollution of the marine environment; 
  • observe safe working practices; 
  • contribute to effective communications onboard vessels; 
  • contribute to effective human relationships onboard vessels; and, 
  • understand and take necessary actions to control fatigue.

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a Certificate of Proficiency in Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, you must:

  • be at least 16 years of age; and,
  • successfully complete MCA-approved training in Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, meeting the standard of competence in Section A-VI/1-4 of the STCW Code.

Duration:

Typically the course is run over a 0.5 day period (4 hours), comprising predominantly theory-based training with some practical exercises.

Proficiency in Security Awareness

Overview:

This awareness course is intended to provide seafarers that will be designated security duties in connection with a Ship Security Plan (SSP) with the knowledge required to enhance vessel security in accordance with the requirements of Chapter Xl-2 of SOLAS 7 4 as amended, the ISPS Code, and Regulation A-Vl/6-1 of the STCW Code, as amended.

Candidates who successfully complete this course will achieve the required standard of competence that will enable them to enhance maritime security.  This they will achieve through heightened awareness, the ability to recognize security threats, and how to respond appropriately. This knowledge would include, but is not limited to:

  • the meaning and the consequential requirements of the different MARSEC security levels;
  • knowledge of emergency procedures and plans;
  • recognition and detection of dangerous substances, devices and weapons;
  • non-discriminatory recognition of characteristics, and behavioural patterns, of persons who are likely to threaten security; and
  • techniques employed to circumvent security measures.

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a Certificate of Proficiency in Security Awareness, you must:

  • be at least 16 years of age; and,
  • successfully complete approved training in Security Awareness, meeting the standard of competence specified in Regulation A-VI/6-1 of the STCW Code.

Duration:

This course is entirely theory-based (either online or in-person) and IMO estimates approximately 4 hours of training.

Find a Job

Finding your first job in the yachting industry requires a willingness to take risks and some luck. The majority of crew head to the yachting hubs, at their own expense, and resort to walking the docks in the hope of finding an opportunity to day work on a vessel. While day working will provide you with some experience, a chance to prove yourself, and earn a small income, it is a risk as a lucrative permanent position is not guaranteed.

Many crew members are resigned to returning home year on year due to a lack of funds or expiring visas. The reality of the situation is that without the correct qualifications, experience and commitment to long-term employment, many Captains cannot consider hiring crew who are dock walking.

Alternatively, and in addition to dock walking, most candidates register with crew agencies in the hope of securing employment and avoiding having to walk the docks. While this sounds like a more desirable option, it still provides no guarantee of employment, as you will be one of the thousands who are applying for the same position. Starting at the bottom of the career path, you are at a major disadvantage against other candidates if you attempt to secure a position with little or no previous experience.

Once you get onboard

  1. Complete an onboard familiarisation of your specific duties and important information about the vessel. The purpose of familiarisation training is to ensure you are aware of important safety and security procedures concerning the vessel in both operational and emergency situations.
  2. Apply for a Seaman’s Discharge Book (SDB). Usually, the vessel will help you with this. However, they won’t chase you, and you must be driven to show you want it. The SDB is for immigration and taxation purposes.
  3. Print off and bind your MCA Training Record book (TRB) to ensure that you complete it in real-time and hard copy as you complete tasks on board. This book is a requirement for the OOW qualification application, and section A will need to be completed to obtain the Yacht Rating Certificate.

Proficiency in Designated Security Duties

Overview:

This course is intended to provide the knowledge required for seafarers with designated security duties in connection with a Ship Security Plan (SSP) to perform their duties. This certification is in accordance with the requirements of Chapter Xl-2 of SOLAS 7 4 as amended, the ISPS Code, and Regulation A-Vl/6-2 of the STCW Code, as amended.

Trainees who successfully complete the course will be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge to undertake the duties assigned under the SSP. This knowledge shall include, but is not limited to: 

  • knowledge of current security threats and patterns;
  • recognition and detection of dangerous substances, devices and weapons;
  • non-discriminatory recognition of characteristics, and behavioural patterns, of persons who are likely to threaten security;
  • techniques used to circumvent security measures;
  • crowd management and control techniques;
  • security-related communications;
  • knowledge of emergency procedures and plans;
  • operation of security equipment and systems;
  • testing, calibration and at-sea maintenance of security equipment and systems;
  • inspection, control, and monitoring techniques; and,
  • methods of physical searches of persons, personal effects, baggage, cargo, and ship stores.

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a Certificate of Proficiency in Designated Security Duties, you must:

  • be at least 16 years of age; and,
  • successfully complete approved training in Designated Security Duties, meeting the standard of competence specified in Regulation A-VI/6-2 of the STCW Code.

Duration:

This course is entirely theory-based (either online or in-person), and IMO estimates 10.5 hours of training or 1 day of training.

Other Courses To Enhance Your Career

Mile Builder Programme

Overview: 

The MILE BUILDER PROGRAMME is for both recreational and commercial sailors alike. It provides vessels, supervision, training and experience for recreational sailors, who wish to build confidence sailing in a controlled setting, as well as for professional seafarers wishing to earn the sea time and miles that they require to complete commercial certifications.

Miles and sea time requirements for various UK MCA certifications are noted in this career path. Simply click on the certifications the path to expand and see the sea time information. However, the MILE BUILDER is not limited to just these courses, it can be used to build miles and experience for any national maritime certification. Click on the Pre-Learning Material tab at the bottom of this content block to read more and enquire/book.

What better way to build miles and experience, than by sailing on immaculate vessels cruising the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea.

Entry Level Deck Week

Overview:

Designed for the individual seeking to start their maritime deck career, this course provides both classroom and practical instruction in the areas of general nautical terminology watch standing, vessel steering, safety and security, shipboard maintenance, marlinspike seamanship, anchoring and daily operations required for a deckhand.

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Duration:

This is both a practical and classroom-based course that takes place over 5 days.

Personal Watercraft Proficiency

Overview:

Personal watercrafts (PWC) are fast and exciting but need to be handled with care. The course is designed for the first time and experienced riders alike. Increasingly this certificate is required for launching and use of PWC’s globally.

The course covers launching, handling, and recovery skills; passage planning and decision making; high and low-speed riding skills; essential safety information; as well as collision avoidance and orientation at sea. Once completed, trainees will be self-sufficient in good conditions and aware of limitations of both self and the craft.

Prerequisites:

Trainees must be at least 12 years of age though this is dependent on local laws and regulations. There are no other prerequisites. 

NOTE: Certificates for children aged between 12 and 16 will be endorsed to show that they must use PWCs only under the supervision of a responsible adult.

Duration:

This course is generally 1 day of predominantly practical training.

Personal Watercraft Instructor

Overview:

Personal Watercraft (PWC) Instructors are experienced PWC drivers who have been trained and assessed to run the Personal Watercraft Proficiency Course.

The RYA course is run by an RYA PWC Trainer and assessed by an independent Trainer with a moderator on the third day. Candidates who are already qualified as an RYA Powerboat Instructor may attend a one-day conversion course rather than the full three-day course.

Prerequisites:

To be considered for the PWC Instructor Training Programme, you must:

  • be at least 17 years of age; 
  • hold a valid first-aid certificate;
  • hold a valid Personal Watercraft Proficiency certificate;
  • complete a health declaration form, a medical questionnaire, or hold a valid Medical Fitness Certificate; and,
  • have at least two year’s experience of driving personal watercraft.

Duration:

This is a 3-day theory and practical course.

PADI Open Water Diver

Overview:

During the PADI Open Water Diver course, you’ll learn what you need to know to explore the underwater world using scuba. Most people find it a rewarding challenge.

The PADI Open Water Diver course includes three parts: Knowledge Development, Confined Water Dives, and Open Water Dives. Knowledge Development covers the principles, concepts and terms you need to know for dive safety and enjoyment. During the Confined Water Dives, you learn and practice scuba skills in a pool or water with pool-like conditions. You’ll enjoy making one or more mini-dives, which take you through the same steps you follow when you make open water dives. To complete training, you practice, apply and demonstrate what you learn during four Open Water Dives at a local dive site.

Earning a PADI Open Water Diver certification shows that you met the course requirements. Dive centres and resorts require proof of certification before they will rent scuba equipment, fill scuba cylinders or book dive excursions. As a PADI Open Water Diver, you’ll be trained to a maximum depth of 18 metres/60 feet and are qualified to dive in conditions as good as, or better than, those in which you trained. It’s just the beginning of a lifetime filled with dive adventures.

Prerequisites:

To be considered for the PADI OWD Training Programme, you must  (dependent on local/national regulations)

  • be at least 10 years of age; 
  • able to swim; and,
  • complete a health declaration form, a medical questionnaire, or hold a valid Medical Fitness Certificate. 

Duration:

The PADI Open Water Diver course is flexible and performance-based, which means that individual PADI dive shops can offer a wide variety of schedules, organised according to how fast trainees progress. It’s possible to complete your confined and open water dives in three or four days by completing the knowledge development portion via PADI eLearning or other home study options offered by local dive shops or resorts.

PADI Advanced Open Water Diver

Overview:

The PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD) certification is designed to advance your diving skills in a controlled manner.  This course is both theoretical and practical. The theory component can be completed either in person or by eLearning and is designed to improve your underwater knowledge and skills. 

You can enrol immediately after earning your PADI Open Water Diver certification, regardless of your skill level. The course helps you build confidence in navigation, fine-tune buoyancy skills and introduces you to different diving activities such as wreck diving, night diving or underwater imaging. After completing your eLearning, you’ll make five Adventure Dives: a deep dive (beyond 18metres / 60 feet), a navigation dive, and three additional Adventure Dives of your choice to earn your certification. 

During the Deep Adventure Dive, you learn how to plan dives to deal with the physiological effects and challenges of deeper scuba diving. The Underwater Navigation Adventure Dive refines your compass navigation skills and helps you better navigate using kick-cycles, visual landmarks and time. The other knowledge and skills you get vary with your interest and the adventures you have – photography, buoyancy control, fish identification, exploring wrecks and many more.

Prerequisites:

To complete the PADI AOWD course, you must:

  • be at least 12 years of age: 
  • be medically fit to dive; and,
  • hold an Open Water Diver / Junior Open Water Diver or other qualifying certification.

Duration:

The AOWD course takes place over a minimum of 2 days.

PADI Rescue Diver

Overview:

The PADI Rescue Diver course teaches you techniques to avoid and manage problems and improve your confidence as a diver. During the course, you’ll become a better buddy by enhancing your ability to identify potential problems and practice dive emergency protocol. The subject is serious, but the training is fun. 

The PADI Rescue Diver course prepares divers to deal with dive emergencies, minor and major, using various techniques. Through knowledge development and rescue exercises, you learn what to look for and how to respond. During rescue scenarios, divers put into practice their knowledge and skills. Topics include:

  • self-rescue;
  • recognising and managing stress in other divers;
  • emergency management and equipment;
  • rescuing panicked divers; and,
  • rescuing unresponsive divers.

Prerequisites:

To complete the PADI Rescue Diver course, you must:

  • be at least 12 years of age: 
  • be medically fit to dive; 
  • completed Emergency First Responder Primary and Secondary Care training (or qualifying training) within 24 months; and,
  • hold an Adventure Diver / Junior Adventure Diver, or qualifying certification. 

Duration:

The Rescue Diver course is run over approximately 10-12 hours.

PADI Emergency First Response

Overview:

Emergency First Response training focuses on building confidence in lay rescuers and increasing their willingness to respond when faced with a medical emergency. Course participants learn simple to follow steps for emergency care and practice applying skills in a nonstressful learning environment. All courses are supported by self-study materials, videos and quick reference cards to enhance learning and allow you start learning right away.

EFR courses meet the CPR and first aid training requirements for the PADI Rescue Diver course and all professional-level ratings.

This course covers the following topics:

  • Primary Care
  • Secondary Care (First Aid)
  • Care for Children
  • CPR & AED
  • First Aid at Work
  • EFR Refresher

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Duration:

This course takes approximately 2-4 hours to complete. You will have to complete the E-Learning module online and then go to your nearest dive shop to complete the physical training.

PADI Divemaster

Overview:

Share your passion for scuba diving by becoming a PADI Divemaster. As a divemaster, you’ll supervise scuba diving activities and assist with scuba classes.  Divemaster is the first step on the professional ladder. Through workshops and practical exercises, you’ll level up your scuba skills and learn how to supervise and organize diving activities. 

Divemaster jobs include: assisting with classes, leading guided dives, and working on liveaboards.

The PADI Divemaster course teaches you to be a leader and take charge of dive activities. Topics and practical workshops include:

  • The role and characteristics of the PADI Divemaster.
  • Supervising dive activities and assisting with student divers.
  • Diver safety and risk management.
  • Divemaster conducted programs and specialized skills.
  • Business of diving and your career.
  • Awareness of the dive environment.
  • Dive setup and management.
  • Mapping an open water site.
  • Conducting dive briefings.
  • Organizing a search and recovery project and a deep dive.
  • Conducting a scuba review and skin diver course.
  • Assisting with Discover Scuba Diving and leading Discover Local Diving programs.

Prerequisites:

To complete the PADI Divemaster course, you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age: 
  • be medically fit to dive; 
  • completed CPR and First Aid certification within 24 months; 
  • have logged a minimum of 40 dives; and,
  • hold a Rescue Diver qualification. 

Duration:

Approximately 50 hours.

Approved Engine Course 1 (AEC 1)

Overview:

The aim of this course is to provide students with the basic theoretical knowledge and some practical hands-on experience of diesel engines and systems to enable them to meet the requirements of the MCA Codes of Practice for the Safety of Large Commercial Sailing and Motor Vessels, the Safety of Small Commercial Motor Vessels and the Safety of Small Workboats & Pilot Boats. 

The basic operation of engines and their support systems will be covered, and the checks and fault finding required using actual systems fitted to boats.

This course is the first step towards climbing the engineering career ladder for those with no formal marine engineering or craft training. It does not attempt to make diesel engineers from the course participants. Still, it should enable students to carry out regular servicing and be more aware of possible faults before they develop into major problems. 

Prerequisites:

To complete the AEC 1 course, you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age; and,
  • have completed the STCW Basic Safety Training.

Duration:

This course is approximately 35 hours, or a minimum of 4 days, of theory-based training.

Helideck Procedures & Emergency Response

Overview:

The correct performance of standard procedures and swift response to emergency situations by the helideck team are the key factors in the safety of all crew and passengers on the vessel and helicopter. You should note that acquiring appropriate knowledge and training is the key to maintaining safety and preventing incidents from occurring on board.

The purpose of this course is to give candidates a basic understanding of what is required to operate helicopters at sea safely. This course will effectively train candidates to become Helideck Assistants (HDAs) on aviation-capable vessels. At the end of this course, candidates will be able to:

  • assist in the preparation of the helideck for flying operations;
  • assist in the safe embarkation/disembarkation of helicopter passengers and crew; and,
  • take appropriate actions in response to emergencies.

Prerequisites: 

Trainees must have completed the four elements of approved STCW basic training prior to attending this course:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Code A-VI/1-1);
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW Code A-VI/1-2);
  • Elementary First Aid (STCW Code A-VI/1-3);
  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (STCW Code AVI/ 1-4);

Duration:

This is a 1-day course and is often taken in conjunction with other Helideck courses.

VHF Radio Operator Course

Overview:

This course will be taught using radio simulators and will cover the following topics:

  • The basics of radio operation;
  • The correct frequencies (channels) to be used;
  • Distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures;
  • Making ship to shore radio telephony calls;
  • Digital Selective Calling (DSC) using simulators;
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS);
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB); and,
  • Search and Rescue Transponders (SART).

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a VHF Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency, you must:

  • be at least 16 years of age;
  • successfully complete approved training in VHF Radio Operation.

Duration:

This course is entirely theory based with the use of simulators and is approximately 8 hours of training.

National Powerboat Certificate

Overview:

This entry-level course provides the skills and background knowledge needed to helm a powerboat and is essential for handling the yacht’s tenders.

It focuses on low-speed close quarters handling, launching and recovery, boat handling, securing to a buoy, anchoring, leaving and coming alongside, man overboard recovery, an introduction to handling at planing speed and collision regulations. The course can be taken at an inland or a coastal location.

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a Powerboat Level 2 Certificate, you must:

  • be at least 12 years of age;
  • successfully complete approved Powerboat Level 2 Course.

NOTE: Powerboat Level 1 is advised if you have no watercraft experience.

Duration:

This is a practical course, normally run over a 2 day period.

MCA Yacht Rating Certificate

Overview:

Large yachts, specifically those over 200 GT, require the crew to have certain minimum certification levels to fulfil the safe manning requirements. This minimum is usually the Yacht Rating Certificate.

To obtain a Yacht Rating Certificate, evidence of 6 months yacht service (time signed on the vessel), including 60 days at sea (any day that the boat leaves the port, is underway or at anchor), is required. Note that all sea time must be from yachts and not from commercial vessels. Further to this, the completion of Section A of the Training Record Book is required unless the candidate has completed one of the following qualifications:

  • Watch Leader Certificate with an RYA Competent Crew Certificate; 
  • Day Skipper certificate with an RYA Competent Crew Certificate and/or higher RYA certificate;
  • Yacht Rating Course Completion Certificate; or,
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore/Ocean or IYT Master of Yachts Limited/Unlimited.

Further to not need to complete a Yacht Rating Training Record Book, the required 6 months of yacht service may be reduced to 2 months of days at sea on vessels of 15 metres or above in load line length.

Prerequisites:

To qualify for a Yacht Rating Certificate, you must: 

  • be at least 16 years of age;
  • demonstrate at least six months of yacht service, including two months of days AT SEA, all of which must be on vessels 15 metres and over in load line length;
  • complete the four elements of approved STCW basic training:
    • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Code A-VI/1-1);
    • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW Code A-VI/1-2);
    • Elementary First Aid (STCW Code A-VI/1-3);
    • Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (STCW Code AVI/ 1-4);
  • complete the Yacht Rating Training Record Book (Section A); and,
  • hold a valid Medical Fitness Certificate. 

Duration:

Depending on the route taken, the Yacht Rating Certificate can be completed in 2-6 months.

Efficient Deck Hand (EDH)

Overview:

A theoretical and practical course that enables an understanding of: 

  • vessel organisation and operations: 
  • pilot ladders and means of access; 
  • cargo work; and,
  • safety and seamanship, including; 
    • knots; 
    • splicing, 
    • whipping; and, 
    • seizing.

The course covers all the essentials involved in deck/seamanship skills and vessel knowledge, helping to promote both safe and efficient working when on board.

Prerequisites:

To qualify for an EDH certificate, you must:

  • be at least 17 years of age; and,
  • hold one of the following:
    • an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore / IYT Master of Yachts Limited; or
    • a Yacht Rating with at least 6 months’ seagoing service and a steering certificate; or
    • an NWR Certificate; or
    • a Boat Master Licence (BML) Tier 1 level 2 Certificate; or
    • a Tug Rating with at least 6 months’ seagoing service and a steering certificate or an NWR Certificate.

NOTE: before an EDH certificate can be issued, a minimum of 6 months seagoing service in vessels of 15 metres or more is required. You must hold a valid EDH certificate for a period of at least 18 months before the issue of an OOW Certificate of Competency.

Duration:

It is a 4-day course that combines a mix of both theory and hands-on practical learning.

Master of Yachts Coastal
Or
Yacthmaster Coastal

IYT Master of Yachts Coastal

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal

Master of Yachts Limited
Or
Yacthmaster Offshore

IYT Master of Yachts Limited

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore

Professional Practices and Responsibilities Course

Overview:

All new applicants for a commercially endorsed RYA Certificate of Competence must first pass the PPR course. Anyone renewing a commercially endorsed RYA Certificate of Competence must pass the PPR course prior to their next renewal date if they haven’t already done so.

The course is broken down into four modules:

  • Commercial environment – how you fit into the professional maritime world.
  • People – the importance of correct manning, keeping skills up to date and ensuring commercial vessels’ safe management.         
  • Vessel – the compulsory carriage and maintenance of safety equipment and how to create and implement risk control and operating procedures. ·        
  • Purpose – ensuring the vessel is suitable and legal for the work being carried out, obligations in protecting the environment, appropriate planning and situational awareness.

Prerequisites:

All new applicants for the endorsement must complete the course and examination prior to submitting their application for the RYA Commercial Endorsement.

Duration:

It is estimated that users will take 6 to 8 hours to work through the four-course modules. The graded end of course assessment is split into two sections, totalling 2.5 hours. This course is online with direct access to an RYA Instructor.

Seatime & Experience Requirements For The Next Milestone:

To qualify for the issue of this Certificate of Competency you must meet the following requirements:

(a) Be at least 19 years of age;

(b) Hold either:

  • An RYA Yachtmaster certificate Offshore and a certificate of successful completion of a shore- based Yachtmaster Offshore course*; or
  • An IYT Master of Yachts Limited certificate;

(c) Since the age of 16 have obtained a minimum of 36 months’ onboard yacht service. This must include at least 365 days seagoing service on vessels of 15 metres or over in load line length, made up of:

A minimum of 250 days’ ACTUAL sea going service and 115 days of any combination of the following:

  •  Actual sea service;
  • Stand-by service – A maximum of 14 consecutive days may be counted at one time, but on no occasion may a period of standby service exceed that of the previous voyage;
  • Yard service – up to a maximum of 90 days continuously or in separate periods;

*Note: Not required if the candidate holds a Yachtmaster Offshore certificate issued before 31 July 2003.

Officer of the Watch (OOW) 3000GT

Navigation and Radar – OOW Yacht

Overview:

The Navigation and Radar course includes sections on the Collision Regulations, chart work, compass work, gyrocompass, buoyage, electronic navigation aids, ECDIS, AIS, radar, automatic radar plotting aids (ARPA) and tidal calculations.

The course theory is covered during the first two weeks of the course, concluding with a written examination. The third week’s training is simulator training. The simulator is a valuable learning environment for improving your navigational skills. Here you can practice your command skills, navigate all weathers and learn about radar systems. This practical part of the course is subject to continuous assessment.

Prerequisites: 

To qualify for this course, the following are required:

  • candidates must be at least 19 years of age;
  • have completed the STCW 2010 compliant basic safety training; 
  • knowledge of basic navigation and chart work, or completion of RYA Yachtmaster Offshore or IYT Master of Yachts Limited, depending on where the course is undertaken; and,
  • (dependent on where the course is undertaken) the candidate may require an approved ECDIS certificate to undertake this module. 

NOTE: This is an intensive course requiring students to have knowledge and experience outside the scope of the course.  It is recommended that prior to commencing the course students have a good understanding of the following:

  • International regulations for preventing collisions at sea Rules 1-19;
  • the steps for a three bearing fix, running fix, estimated position and a course to steer; and,
  • tidal calculations for standard and secondary ports.

Duration:

This course is run over 15 days or 3 weeks, with 2 weeks theory and 1 week simulator training.

General Ship Knowledge – OOW Yacht

Overview:

General Ship Knowledge (GSK) course provides an introduction to vessel operation basics and covers topics such as: 

  • vessel construction; 
  • hull stresses and corrosion; 
  • transverse stability; 
  • reserve buoyancy and damage control; 
  • meteorological effects, meteorological instruments and weather information; 
  • the principles for safe seamanship; 
  • watchkeeping; 
  • preparation for sea; and, 
  • maintenance.

Prerequisites:

To qualify for this course, the following are required:

  • candidates must be at least 19 years of age;
  • have completed the STCW 2010 compliant basic safety training; and,
  • have completed RYA Yachtmaster Offshore or IYT Master of Yachts Limited.

NOTE: This is an extensive 5-day course that requires students to do a fair amount of pre-study

Duration:

This course is run over a minimum of 30 hours, or 5 days, and is completely theoretical.

Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (other than Fast Rescue Boats)

Overview:

Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSCRB) (other than Fast Rescue Boats) covers prevention, survival and rescue techniques, essential to life at sea. It includes both theory and practical components to the course and forms part of the requirement for both deck OOW (Yacht) <3000 GT or engineer Certificate of Competency.

The PSCRB course gives seafarers, who are required to take charge of a survival craft or a rescue boat (other than fast rescue boats) in emergency situations, the essential education and training to meet the tasks required.

By the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • take charge of a survival craft or rescue boat during and after launch;
  • operate a survival craft engine;
  • manage survivors and survival craft after abandoning ship;
  • use locating devices including communications, signalling apparatus and pyrotechnics; and,
  • apply first aid to survivors.

NOTE: This PSCRB course should not be confused with Advanced Sea Survival for Yachtsmen. The latter does not meet the requirements of the STCW Code and thus has the following implications: not all flag states recognise the Advanced Sea Survival, meaning the certificate will have a negative endorsement (‘not to be used on vessels with davit-launched life rafts’); and, there is no updating course available for the Advanced Sea Survival.

NOTE: PSCRB requires refreshing at intervals not exceeding 5 years.

Prerequisites:

To qualify for this course the following are required:

  • candidates must be at least 16 years of age;
  • hold a valid STCW A-VI/1-1 (Personal Survival Techniques); and,
  • have at least 6-month seagoing service.

Duration:

The course is run over 5 days with both theory and practical.

Operational Use of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)

Overview:

Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) is now a mandatory requirement for Officer of the Watch, Chief Mate and Master (Yacht) <500/3000GT. If the holder of a CoC does not hold this certificate, they will be bound by the following limitation: “not valid for service on ships fitted with ECDIS.”

The course will cover the general principles of operation of an Electronic Chart System and the regulations for the operation. It will include time spent on basic software learning, the methods of setting up, updating, loading new charts and software, followed by simulator training.

The ECDIS course is designed to enhance the safety of navigation by providing the knowledge and skills necessary to utilise the systems fully.

Prerequisites:

Prior to taking this course, mariners should be experienced in coastal navigation and be familiar with navigational computer operations.  Mariners will benefit from prior experience in collision avoidance on ARPA and Radar (strongly recommended), Ship Handling, and Bridge Resource Management are helpful as well.

Duration: 

This course is run over 5 days with both theory and simulator training.

GMDSS General Operator’s Certificate (GOC)

Overview:

This course is required for anyone that will be required to have any radio communication duties on a vessel that is GMDSS compliant. The GMDSS General Operators Certificate (GOC) is the highest level GMDSS radio operator qualification. It is suitable for professional mariners, including Merchant Navy deck officers, offshore radio operators serving on mobile platforms, and commercial yacht masters.

The GOC course provides a mixture of theory and practical application as part of the GMDSS examinations. Holders of the GMDSS GOC are certified to operate all licensed marine radio equipment, including radiotelephony, digital selective calling, radio telex, and satellite mobile earth stations. The certificate can be STCW endorsed and permits the holder to operate the radio installation on GMDSS compliant/compulsorily equipped vessels operating in any GMDSS sea areas (A1-A4).

Prerequisites:

Candidates must be fluent in English and have knowledge of the phonetic alphabet.

Duration: 

This course is 10-12 days dependent on where the course is taken and combines both theory and practical simulator training.

HELM – Human Element, Leadership and Management (Operational Level)

Overview:

The HELM course forms part of the education and training required to obtain a Certificate of Competency. HELM aims to provide you with the leadership and managerial skills required by the STCW code.

The course covers the requirements for young watchkeeping officers to work with their superiors and manage their teams. This course uses a mixture of group facilitation, practical application, group exercises and discussion.  The style of the course encourages participation, sharing of best practice, knowledge and experience, ensuring you leave feeling equipped to manage and lead your crew effectively. It provides students with awareness and understanding of the key human factors influencing effective resource management.

This course exposes the student to:

  • situation and risk assessment;
  • situational awareness;
  • communication;
  • shipboard training;
  • culture;
  • teamwork;
  • leadership and management; and,
  • workload management.

Prerequisites:

Students should meet the minimum seagoing service requirements for the issue of a first CoC.

Duration: 

This course is run over 3 days with both theory and practical exercises.

Obtain a Notice of Eligibility (NOE)

When you have accrued sufficient sea time to sit an oral exam with the MCA, you are required to apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NOE). This form (MSF 4343) can be downloaded from the MCA website. It must be returned with original copies of your supporting documentation (sea service testimonials, STCW certificates, exam pass certificates and Medical Fitness Certificate) to prove you are eligible for an oral exam. 

Once you have your NOE, you can book your oral exam at any MCA offices throughout the UK. A Notice of Eligibility is valid for five years from the date of issue and three years after a successful oral exam. You must apply for your NOE well in advance of your anticipated exam date, as it can take up to six weeks to be processed.

Officer of the Watch (OOW) <3000GT Oral Prep/Exam

The MCA oral examination is aimed at ensuring the candidate’s ability to undertake the duties appropriate to the officer of the watch (OOW). Oral examinations are part of the procedure for attaining all MCA certificates of competency, and all candidates must demonstrate adequate knowledge of the English language.

It is recommended that candidates complete an “Oral Prep Course” to ensure the best chance of passing the exam.  Many schools have these courses on offer, but the course should be taken as close to your exam date as possible and in the same geographic location as your exam.

The oral examination pass is valid for a period of 3 years.  This must be in date at the time of the issue of your Certificate of Competency.  The NOE must be returned to the MCA with any outstanding documentary evidence.

Apply for Certificate of Competence (CoC)

If this is your first UK CoC application, post your application and supporting documents to UK Seafarer Services (Training & Certification), Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1EG. For all other applicants, email your application and scanned documents to deck@mcga.gov.uk.

At least 6 months of the qualifying seagoing service must have been performed within the 5 years immediately preceding a Certificate of Competency issue. A Certificate of Competency will not be issued until the MCA has received all the documentary evidence confirming the required standards are met.   

The appropriate Certificate of Competency will be issued and valid for a period of 5 years from the date that the qualifying conditions were met.  

Other Courses To Enhance Your Career

Proficiency as Shipboard Safety Officer

Overview:

This course is intended to provide seafarers serving as or planned to serve as either safety representatives or safety officers. The training provided on this course is intended to meet the requirements set out in The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations and the Code of Safe Working Practice for Merchant Seafarers (CoSWP)

On completion of the course, candidates will have the knowledge required to act as a Shipboard Safety Officer and an understanding of the following subjects:

  • the duties of the shipboard safety officer;
  • the legal framework for safety;
  • the relationship between the ISM code and safety management onboard vessels;
  • overview of the ISM Code;
  • considered the cause of accidents;
  • the process and limitations of risk assessment;
  • considered the accident investigation process;
  • the importance of appropriate interviewing technique; and,
  • considered factors influencing the effectiveness of safety committee meetings.

Prerequisites:

Candidates wishing to undertake this course must meet the requirement:

  • be at least 18 years of age, and,
  • have served at sea for at least 12 months.

Duration:

This course is a theory course run over 3 days and maybe taken online or in person.

Proficiency as Ship Security Officer

Overview:

This course is intended to provide knowledge to those who may be designated to perform the duties and responsibilities of a Ship Security Officer (SSO), as defined in section A/2.1.6 (and section A/12) of the ISPS Code and section A-Vl/5 of the STCW Code, as amended. In particular, the duties and responsibilities concerning the security of a vessel for implementing and maintaining a Ship Security Plan and liaising with the Company Security Officer (CSO) and Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs). 

The SSO course provides specific training to address the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships is emphasized. It also provides knowledge and practical skills so that you:

  • understand the importance of ship security, organisations, including roles and responsibilities;
  • know how to assess security risk, threats and vulnerability to the vessel, its personnel, cargo and operations;
  • understand the capabilities and limitations of security methods, equipment and systems;
  • know how to implement a Ship Security Plan and related regulatory requirements;
  • know how to determine the effectiveness of current security arrangements, procedures and equipment; and,
  • understand how to promote security awareness and vigilance onboard your vessel(s).

Prerequisites:

Students must have relevant seagoing/shipping/maritime and security experience and knowledge and be able to communicate confidently.

Duration:

This course is a theory course run over 3 days and maybe taken online or in person.

Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats

Overview:

This course aims to provide the training for candidates to launch and take charge of a fast rescue boat, in accordance with Section A-Vl/2 of the STCW Code. 

On meeting the minimum standard of competence in fast rescue boats, a trainee will be competent to handle and take charge of such boats during or after launch in adverse weather and sea conditions. They will also be able to operate a fast rescue boat engine. 

Trainees will know the correct use of all locating devices, including communication and signalling equipment between the rescue boat and a helicopter and the vessel, and how to carry out search patterns. 

Prerequisites:

For admission to the course, seafarers must be medically fit and the holder of a certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats in accordance with Regulation Vl/2, paragraph 1 of the STCW Code. 

Duration: 

This course is both theory and practical run over 3 days.

Helideck Procedures & Emergency Response

Overview:

The correct performance of standard procedures and swift response to emergency situations by the helideck team are the key factors in the safety of all crew and passengers on the vessel and helicopter. You should note that acquiring appropriate knowledge and training is the key to maintaining safety and preventing incidents from occurring on board.

The purpose of this course is to give candidates a basic understanding of what is required to operate helicopters at sea safely. This course will effectively train candidates to become Helideck Assistants (HDAs) on aviation-capable vessels. At the end of this course, candidates will be able to:

  • assist in the preparation of the helideck for flying operations;
  • assist in the safe embarkation/disembarkation of helicopter passengers and crew; and,
  • take appropriate actions in response to emergencies.

Prerequisites: 

Trainees must have completed the four elements of approved STCW basic training prior to attending this course:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Code A-VI/1-1);
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW Code A-VI/1-2);
  • Elementary First Aid (STCW Code A-VI/1-3);
  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (STCW Code AVI/ 1-4);

Duration:

This is a 1-day course and is often taken in conjunction with other Helideck courses.

Helicopter Landing Officer

Overview:

The Helicopter Landing Officer, also known as HLO, is responsible for ensuring all helicopter operations on the vessel are conducted safely and efficiently. The HLO commands a team, which is usually made up of members of the vessel’s crew, known as HDA’s (Helideck Assistants). The assistants themselves are also trained in passenger and freight handling, helicopter safety and fire and rescue.

The correct performance of standard procedures and a swift response to emergency situations by the helideck team are the key factors in the safety of all crew and passengers on the vessel and helicopter. The HLO is the primary link between the vessel and the helicopter and is in overall charge of the helideck during flight operations. 

On completion of the training, the trainees will have a good understanding of the organisational requirements for the operation of helicopters from helidecks. The HLO will:

  • conduct everyday management of the helideck and its associated facilities;
  • assist the aircraft commander in completing paperwork requirements prior to flying operations;
  • control all helideck operations, including during any emergencies; and,
  • organise and conduct onboard helicopter drills to maintain helideck team training currency. 

Prerequisites:

Prior to attending this course, trainees must have completed the following: 

  • Advanced Fire Fighting (STCW Code A-V1/3);
  • HDA qualified – Helideck Procedures & Emergency Response; and,
  • practical experience performing the duties of an HDA.

Duration: 

This is usually a 1-day course made up of theory and practical sessions with a short 1 hour written exam but can vary depending on the location that the course is taken.

Basic Training for Ships Operating in Polar Waters

Overview:

 This course provides training to officers in charge of a navigational watch to operate vessels in polar waters and address those additional provisions as required by the Polar Code to take into account the climatic conditions of polar waters and meet appropriate standards of maritime safety and pollution prevention.

 Polar Waters includes both Arctic and Antarctic waters as defined in SOLAS and MARPOL regulations.

A trainee successfully completing this course will gain:

  • the ability to contribute to the safe operation of vessels in polar waters; 
  • an understanding of ice characteristics and areas where different types of ice can be expected in the area of operation; 
  • an understanding of vessel performance in ice and low air temperature; 
  • an understanding of safe operations and vessel manoeuvrability in ice; 
  • awareness to monitor and ensure compliance with legislative requirements;
  • an understanding to apply safe working practices and to respond to emergencies; 
  • an understanding and awareness of correct crew preparation, working conditions and safety; 
  • an understanding of the need to ensure compliance with pollution prevention requirements and prevent environmental hazards; and,
  • an understanding of the required skills to perform manoeuvres to operate vessels in polar waters safely. 

Prerequisites:

Every candidate for a certificate in basic training for ships operating in polar waters shall hold a certificate as master, chief mate or officer in charge of a navigation watch qualified in accordance with regulations 11/1, 11/2 and 11/3 of the STCW Convention, respectively or equivalent as determined by the national administration. 

 Duration: 

This course is a combination of lecture and simulation training over approximately 34 hours. This course may be offered in-person or online.

Advanced Training for Ships Operating in Polar Waters

Overview:

The purpose of this course is to provide training to navigation officers to operate vessels in polar waters. Further to this, the course addresses those additional provisions deemed necessary for consideration, beyond existing requirements of the SOLAS and MARPOL Conventions, to take into account the climatic conditions of polar waters and meet appropriate standards of maritime safety and pollution prevention. 

The course is designed to meet the mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters and deck officers on vessels operating in polar waters, in the STCW Code,.specifically those tables A-V/4-2 “Specification of minimum standard of competence in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters”. 

A trainee successfully completing this course will gain:

  • understanding of the basic requirements for structure, stability and subdivision, machinery, lifesaving appliances, fire protection, voyage planning, vessel routing, navigation systems  and equipment, radio communication, pollution prevention equipment, liability and safety management systems, as applicable to the different types and sizes of vessels which may undertake voyages in polar waters;
  • ability to contribute to the safe operation of vessels operating in polar waters;
  • understanding of ice characteristics and areas where different types of ice can be expected in the area of operation;
  • understanding of vessel performance in ice and low air temperature;
  • understanding of safe operations and vessel manoeuvrability in ice; 
  • awareness to monitor and ensure compliance with legislative requirements;
  • understanding to apply safe working practices and to respond to emergencies;
  • understanding and awareness of correct crew preparation, working conditions and safety; 
  • understanding the need to ensure compliance with pollution prevention requirements and prevent environmental hazards; and,
  • understanding skills to perform manoeuvres to operate vessels in polar waters safely.

Prerequisites:

Every candidate for a certificate in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters should:

  • hold a certificate as master, chief mate or officer in charge of a navigation watch qualified in accordance with Chapter V of the STCW Convention and the STCW Code. The minimum qualification will be set at STCW regulations II/1, II/2 and II/3 or equivalent as determined by the national administration;
  • either has met the requirements for basic training for ships in polar waters in accordance with STCW Regulation V/5 paragraph 6 or hold a certificate in basic training for ships in polar waters; and,
  • have at least two (2) months of approved seagoing service in the deck department at management level, or while performing watchkeeping duties at an operational level, within polar waters or other equivalent approved seagoing service.

Duration: 

This course is typically run over a 5 day period.

Crisis Management and Human Behaviour

Overview:

This course primarily aims to meet the mandatory minimum requirements for training personnel aboard ro-ro passenger vessels and passenger vessels other than ro-ro passenger vessels. However, regardless of vessel type, it is a valuable course for masters, chief mates, officers, and any person assigned immediate responsibility for embarking and disembarking passengers; loading, discharging or securing cargo or closing hull openings; and any other person having responsibility for the safety of passengers in emergency situations required by Regulation V/2, pa.7 and 8, of the STCW Convention, and specified in Section A-V/2 pa.4 and 5. 

This course offers guidance on the main factors to be aware of in a crisis situation and measures that should be deployed, such as how to use available resources, how to cope with stress and how to communicate effectively with passengers and crew members.

Prerequisites:

There are no specific entry standards for the training in this course. However, all personnel having specific responsibilities on board detailed in Section A-V/2 and Section A­V/3 pa: 4 and 5 must undertake this training. 

Duration: 

This course is a 1-day course for passenger’s vessels, but for those requiring certification for ro-ro passenger vessels, the training is extended to 2 days.  Many training facilities now offer this course online as well as in person.

Seatime & Experience Requirements For The Next Milestone:

To qualify for the issue of the Chief Mate Certificate of Competency, you must meet the following requirements:

  • hold an OOW Yacht <3000 GT, II/1, Certificate of Competency OR have completed all of the requirements for this Certificate of Competency;
  • hold either:
    • an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certificate and a certificate of successful completion of a shore-based Yachtmaster Ocean course; or, 
    • an IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited;
  • hold the applicable ancillary certificates; and,
  • hold a valid accepted Seafarers Medical Fitness Certificate.

NOTE: This certificate can be applied for at the same time as OOW Yacht <3000 GT, II/1, Certificate of Competency, providing all qualifying conditions are met.

NOTE: The above entry requirements are not required to attend the training courses for Chief Mate (Yacht <3000GT); however, they must apply for NOE to obtain the endorsement.

Chief Officer 3000GT

Option 1 : IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited

Overview:

“The IYT Master of Yachts Limited 200 Tons course has become the most globally accepted course for the operation of commercial yachts up to 200 tons. Recognition by 25 governments has placed IYT MOY 200 Ton accreditation at the top as the global standard of certification.” – IYT

The programme consists of both theory and liveaboard practical components. The theory is a comprehensive shorebased course with assessment papers and written examinations. It should be noted that a considerable amount of private study and varied cruising experience is required in addition to the formal instruction provided. The theory course must be successfully completed prior to the practical course.

The liveaboard (power or sail) practical covers seamanship skills, including the ability to command and have situational awareness. The liveaboard aspect of the course is critical to ensuring candidates are indeed prepared to command.

The courses covers the following topics, though further topics may be covered:

  • charts, chart work, latitude and longitude, and publications;
  • tides and currents;
  • compasses, variation and deviation;
  • distance, speed, time and direction;
  • positions, position lines and position fixes;
  • dead reckoning and estimated positions;
  • course to steer to counteract a current;
  • meteorology;
  • passage planning;
  • pilotage;
  • electronic navigation aids;
  • International regulations for preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS);
  • vessel construction, stability and drydocking;
  • ropework, towing, and anchoring;
  • emergency procedures; and,
  • general maritime law.

If you hold the IYT Master of Yachts Limited certificate you are qualified to work as:

  • Master of a vessel <200GT up to 150 nautical miles offshore.
  • Chief Mate of a vessel <500GT up to 150 nautical miles offshore.
  • Chief Mate of a vessel <200GT all oceans.
  • OOW (Officer of the Watch) of a vessel <500GT all oceans.

Prerequisites:

For the IYT Master of Yachts Limited the following requirements must be met:

  • candidates should be 18 years of age or older;
  •  hold or obtain a Marine Communications VHF-SRC Radio Operators certificate;
  • hold or obtain all STCW’95 certificates – STCW certificates must be valid (not expired) (if STCW Safety Training is taken after January 1, 2014 the new Proficiency in Maritime Security Awareness is also required);
  • provide documented evidence of boating experience as stated below:
    • logged 50 days on board a vessel at sea as an active crew member on watch (for the purpose of this requirement, a day is defined as a period of 24 consecutive hours and the term “at sea” is defined as being on a vessel outside of any harbour – natural or artificial – in which a cruising vessel could secure or anchor for a prolonged period of time);
    • logged 3,000 miles in a vessel while cruising at sea (power or sail) – this must be on genuine cruises or passages, not short day trips and the candidate must have considerable time of actual vessel handling;
    • 30 hours on watch at night underway as an active member of a vessel’s crew;
    • sea time must be obtained on a vessel at least 10m in length; and,
    • hold a current Medical Fitness Certificate including a colour blindness eyesight examination.

Duration:

This is normally a 12 day course, with 6 days theory, 5 days practical and 1 examination day.

Option 2 : RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

Overview:

“The RYA Yachtmaster® Ocean is experienced and competent to skipper a yacht on passages of any length in all parts of the world.” – RYA

As with the other RYA Yachtmaster qualifications, there is no formal training course leading up to the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore practical exam. The exam consists of an oral and written test.

The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certificate is a qualification that indicates that the holder has sufficient knowledge of celestial navigation to navigate a <24 metre vessel globally using a sextant and to plan. Further to this, those holding the certification have shown that they can undertake and manage an ocean passage, together with a comprehensive understanding of the factors involved with regards to routing and meteorology.

A commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence will enable you to work worldwide as a Master of commercial vessels of <200GT. This Certificate of Competence can be used commercially in its own right. It is also a prerequisite for the MCA’s Chief Mate, Master <500GT and Master <3000GT qualifications.

Prerequisites:

For RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certification the candidate must have completed a qualifying passage on board a sailing or motor vessel <500GT which meets the following criteria:

  • 600M including at least 200M more than 50 miles from land or charted objects capable of being used for navigation;
  • duration of at least 96 hours;
  • the candidate must have taken a full part in the planning and preparation of the passage, including: navigational plan, checking the material condition of the vessel and her equipment; storing with spare gear, fuel, water and victuals;
  • throughout the passage, the candidate must have acted in a responsible capacity, either in sole charge of a watch or as skipper;
  • candidates must have successfully navigated a vessel at sea by astro navigation – as a minimum this should include the planning, reduction, and plotting of a sun-run-meridian altitude or sun-run-sun sight and a compass check carried out using the bearing of the sun, moon, a star or planet.

The minimum qualifying passage must have been accrued within 10 years of the examination date.

NOTE: Candidates looking to claim a qualifying passage on a vessel greater than 24m LOA should check the vessel suitability and required watch keeping qualifications at Information on qualifying passages.

Candidates must also hold either:

  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence; or,
  • MCA issued Certificate of Competence as officer in charge of a navigational watch (OOW), Yacht <3000GT, unlimited area, Reg II/1.

Duration: 

The examination takes approximately 15 hours.

Proficiency Medical First Aid

Overview:

This highly practical course is for seafarers designated to provide first aid on board and for those needing certificates of competency. The course will equip candidates with the knowledge to apply immediate first aid to an injured casualty and a person suffering illness on board. 

During the course, candidates will cover theory and practical aspects of how to administer first aid, including:

  • basic life support;
  • managing incidents;
  • monitoring casualties;
  • chest pain management;
  • shock, bleeding, burns and injuries management;
  • musculoskeletal injuries, including sprains, dislocation and fractures management;
  • managing the effects of the environment, such as hypothermia and heat stroke; and,
  • managing medical conditions. 

Prerequisites:

To qualify for this course, the following are required:

  • candidates must be at least 16 years of age; and,
  • should have completed the Certificate of Proficiency in Elementary First Aid (A-VI/1-3) or attained a similar standard in basic first aid. 

Duration: 

This course is a highly practical 30 hour or 4-day course.

Proficiency in Advanced Fire Fighting

Overview:

This course aims to provide training in advanced fire fighting in accordance with Section A-Vl/3 of the STCW Code. The emphasis of the training is on organisation, tactics and command. 

On meeting the minimum standard of competence in advanced fire fighting, a trainee will be competent to take command, organise and train fire parties and control fire-fighting operations. The seafarer will have acquired a knowledge of fire prevention and inspect and service fire detection and extinguishing systems and equipment. They will also be able to investigate and report on incidents involving fire.

Prerequisites:

For the issue of a Certificate of Proficiency in Advanced Fire Fighting, the candidate must: 

  • be at least 16 years of age;
  • hold a valid Medical Fitness Certificate; 
  • already hold a Certificate of Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW A-VI/1-2) or similar acceptable training; and,
  • successfully complete an approved training programme in Advanced Fire Fighting, meeting the standards of competence specified in section A-VI/3, paragraphs 1 to 4, of the STCW Code. 

Duration:

This course is both theory and practical, usually run over 4 days.

HELM – Human Element, Leadership and Management (Management Level)

Overview:

The MCA approved Human Element, Leadership and Management (Management Level) course provides Masters and Senior Officers with the knowledge, understanding, skills, and tools to manage and lead crew aboard effectively. This course will use a mixture of group facilitation, group exercises and discussion. The course encourages participation, sharing of best practice, knowledge and experiences.

This training focuses on developing the candidates understanding of the impact of human error and enhancing leadership and management skills. The course covers:

  • understanding of the human element;
  • application of regulations, policy and procedure as a leader;
  • the role of leader and manager;
  • workload and resource management;
  • effective communication;
  • teamwork and managing teams;
  • assertiveness and leadership;
  • situational awareness; and,
  • decision making.

Prerequisites:

For enrolment in this course, candidates must:

  • hold a valid Deck or Engine Certificate of Competency at Operational level; and,
  • have completed the Human Element, Leadership and Management (HELM) (Operational Level) course.

Duration:

This is a theory-based course covered in 5 days.

Obtain a Notice of Eligibility (NOE)

When you have accrued sufficient sea time to sit an oral exam with the MCA, you are required to apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NOE). This form (MSF 4343) can be downloaded from the MCA website. It must be returned with original copies of your supporting documentation (sea service testimonials, STCW certificates, exam pass certificates and Medical Fitness Certificate) to prove you are eligible for an oral exam. 

Once you have your NOE, you can book your oral exam at any MCA offices throughout the UK. A Notice of Eligibility is valid for five years from the date of issue and three years after a successful oral exam. You must apply for your NOE well in advance of your anticipated exam date, as it can take up to six weeks to be processed.

Apply for Certificate of Competence (CoC)

If this is your first UK CoC application, post your application and supporting documents to UK Seafarer Services (Training & Certification), Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1EG. For all other applicants, email your application and scanned documents to deck@mcga.gov.uk.

At least 6 months of the qualifying seagoing service must have been performed within the 5 years immediately preceding a Certificate of Competency issue. A Certificate of Competency will not be issued until the MCA has received all the documentary evidence confirming the required standards are met.   

The appropriate Certificate of Competency will be issued and valid for a period of 5 years from the date that the qualifying conditions were met.  

Other Courses To Enhance Your Career

Proficiency as Shipboard Safety Officer

Overview:

This course is intended to provide seafarers serving as or planned to serve as either safety representatives or safety officers. The training provided on this course is intended to meet the requirements set out in The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations and the Code of Safe Working Practice for Merchant Seafarers (CoSWP)

On completion of the course, candidates will have the knowledge required to act as a Shipboard Safety Officer and an understanding of the following subjects:

  • the duties of the shipboard safety officer;
  • the legal framework for safety;
  • the relationship between the ISM code and safety management onboard vessels;
  • overview of the ISM Code;
  • considered the cause of accidents;
  • the process and limitations of risk assessment;
  • considered the accident investigation process;
  • the importance of appropriate interviewing technique; and,
  • considered factors influencing the effectiveness of safety committee meetings.

Prerequisites:

Candidates wishing to undertake this course must meet the requirement:

  • be at least 18 years of age, and,
  • have served at sea for at least 12 months.

Duration:

This course is a theory course run over 3 days and maybe taken online or in person.

Proficiency as Ship Security Officer

Overview:

This course is intended to provide knowledge to those who may be designated to perform the duties and responsibilities of a Ship Security Officer (SSO), as defined in section A/2.1.6 (and section A/12) of the ISPS Code and section A-Vl/5 of the STCW Code, as amended. In particular, the duties and responsibilities concerning the security of a vessel for implementing and maintaining a Ship Security Plan and liaising with the Company Security Officer (CSO) and Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs). 

The SSO course provides specific training to address the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships is emphasized. It also provides knowledge and practical skills so that you:

  • understand the importance of ship security, organisations, including roles and responsibilities;
  • know how to assess security risk, threats and vulnerability to the vessel, its personnel, cargo and operations;
  • understand the capabilities and limitations of security methods, equipment and systems;
  • know how to implement a Ship Security Plan and related regulatory requirements;
  • know how to determine the effectiveness of current security arrangements, procedures and equipment; and,
  • understand how to promote security awareness and vigilance onboard your vessel(s).

Prerequisites:

Students must have relevant seagoing/shipping/maritime and security experience and knowledge and be able to communicate confidently.

Duration:

This course is a theory course run over 3 days and maybe taken online or in person.

Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats

Overview:

This course aims to provide the training for candidates to launch and take charge of a fast rescue boat, in accordance with Section A-Vl/2 of the STCW Code. 

On meeting the minimum standard of competence in fast rescue boats, a trainee will be competent to handle and take charge of such boats during or after launch in adverse weather and sea conditions. They will also be able to operate a fast rescue boat engine. 

Trainees will know the correct use of all locating devices, including communication and signalling equipment between the rescue boat and a helicopter and the vessel, and how to carry out search patterns. 

Prerequisites:

For admission to the course, seafarers must be medically fit and the holder of a certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats in accordance with Regulation Vl/2, paragraph 1 of the STCW Code. 

Duration: 

This course is both theory and practical run over 3 days.

Helideck Procedures & Emergency Response

Overview:

The correct performance of standard procedures and swift response to emergency situations by the helideck team are the key factors in the safety of all crew and passengers on the vessel and helicopter. You should note that acquiring appropriate knowledge and training is the key to maintaining safety and preventing incidents from occurring on board.

The purpose of this course is to give candidates a basic understanding of what is required to operate helicopters at sea safely. This course will effectively train candidates to become Helideck Assistants (HDAs) on aviation-capable vessels. At the end of this course, candidates will be able to:

  • assist in the preparation of the helideck for flying operations;
  • assist in the safe embarkation/disembarkation of helicopter passengers and crew; and,
  • take appropriate actions in response to emergencies.

Prerequisites: 

Trainees must have completed the four elements of approved STCW basic training prior to attending this course:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Code A-VI/1-1);
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW Code A-VI/1-2);
  • Elementary First Aid (STCW Code A-VI/1-3);
  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (STCW Code AVI/ 1-4);

Duration:

This is a 1-day course and is often taken in conjunction with other Helideck courses.

Helicopter Landing Officer

Overview:

The Helicopter Landing Officer, also known as HLO, is responsible for ensuring all helicopter operations on the vessel are conducted safely and efficiently. The HLO commands a team, which is usually made up of members of the vessel’s crew, known as HDA’s (Helideck Assistants). The assistants themselves are also trained in passenger and freight handling, helicopter safety and fire and rescue.

The correct performance of standard procedures and a swift response to emergency situations by the helideck team are the key factors in the safety of all crew and passengers on the vessel and helicopter. The HLO is the primary link between the vessel and the helicopter and is in overall charge of the helideck during flight operations. 

On completion of the training, the trainees will have a good understanding of the organisational requirements for the operation of helicopters from helidecks. The HLO will:

  • conduct everyday management of the helideck and its associated facilities;
  • assist the aircraft commander in completing paperwork requirements prior to flying operations;
  • control all helideck operations, including during any emergencies; and,
  • organise and conduct onboard helicopter drills to maintain helideck team training currency. 

Prerequisites:

Prior to attending this course, trainees must have completed the following: 

  • Advanced Fire Fighting (STCW Code A-V1/3);
  • HDA qualified – Helideck Procedures & Emergency Response; and,
  • practical experience performing the duties of an HDA.

Duration: 

This is usually a 1-day course made up of theory and practical sessions with a short 1 hour written exam but can vary depending on the location that the course is taken.

Basic Training for Ships Operating in Polar Waters

Overview:

 This course provides training to officers in charge of a navigational watch to operate vessels in polar waters and address those additional provisions as required by the Polar Code to take into account the climatic conditions of polar waters and meet appropriate standards of maritime safety and pollution prevention.

 Polar Waters includes both Arctic and Antarctic waters as defined in SOLAS and MARPOL regulations.

A trainee successfully completing this course will gain:

  • the ability to contribute to the safe operation of vessels in polar waters; 
  • an understanding of ice characteristics and areas where different types of ice can be expected in the area of operation; 
  • an understanding of vessel performance in ice and low air temperature; 
  • an understanding of safe operations and vessel manoeuvrability in ice; 
  • awareness to monitor and ensure compliance with legislative requirements;
  • an understanding to apply safe working practices and to respond to emergencies; 
  • an understanding and awareness of correct crew preparation, working conditions and safety; 
  • an understanding of the need to ensure compliance with pollution prevention requirements and prevent environmental hazards; and,
  • an understanding of the required skills to perform manoeuvres to operate vessels in polar waters safely. 

Prerequisites:

Every candidate for a certificate in basic training for ships operating in polar waters shall hold a certificate as master, chief mate or officer in charge of a navigation watch qualified in accordance with regulations 11/1, 11/2 and 11/3 of the STCW Convention, respectively or equivalent as determined by the national administration. 

 Duration: 

This course is a combination of lecture and simulation training over approximately 34 hours. This course may be offered in-person or online.

Advanced Training for Ships Operating in Polar Waters

Overview:

The purpose of this course is to provide training to navigation officers to operate vessels in polar waters. Further to this, the course addresses those additional provisions deemed necessary for consideration, beyond existing requirements of the SOLAS and MARPOL Conventions, to take into account the climatic conditions of polar waters and meet appropriate standards of maritime safety and pollution prevention. 

The course is designed to meet the mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters and deck officers on vessels operating in polar waters, in the STCW Code,.specifically those tables A-V/4-2 “Specification of minimum standard of competence in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters”. 

A trainee successfully completing this course will gain:

  • understanding of the basic requirements for structure, stability and subdivision, machinery, lifesaving appliances, fire protection, voyage planning, vessel routing, navigation systems  and equipment, radio communication, pollution prevention equipment, liability and safety management systems, as applicable to the different types and sizes of vessels which may undertake voyages in polar waters;
  • ability to contribute to the safe operation of vessels operating in polar waters;
  • understanding of ice characteristics and areas where different types of ice can be expected in the area of operation;
  • understanding of vessel performance in ice and low air temperature;
  • understanding of safe operations and vessel manoeuvrability in ice; 
  • awareness to monitor and ensure compliance with legislative requirements;
  • understanding to apply safe working practices and to respond to emergencies;
  • understanding and awareness of correct crew preparation, working conditions and safety; 
  • understanding the need to ensure compliance with pollution prevention requirements and prevent environmental hazards; and,
  • understanding skills to perform manoeuvres to operate vessels in polar waters safely.

Prerequisites:

Every candidate for a certificate in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters should:

  • hold a certificate as master, chief mate or officer in charge of a navigation watch qualified in accordance with Chapter V of the STCW Convention and the STCW Code. The minimum qualification will be set at STCW regulations II/1, II/2 and II/3 or equivalent as determined by the national administration;
  • either has met the requirements for basic training for ships in polar waters in accordance with STCW Regulation V/5 paragraph 6 or hold a certificate in basic training for ships in polar waters; and,
  • have at least two (2) months of approved seagoing service in the deck department at management level, or while performing watchkeeping duties at an operational level, within polar waters or other equivalent approved seagoing service.

Duration: 

This course is typically run over a 5 day period.

Crisis Management and Human Behaviour

Overview:

This course primarily aims to meet the mandatory minimum requirements for training personnel aboard ro-ro passenger vessels and passenger vessels other than ro-ro passenger vessels. However, regardless of vessel type, it is a valuable course for masters, chief mates, officers, and any person assigned immediate responsibility for embarking and disembarking passengers; loading, discharging or securing cargo or closing hull openings; and any other person having responsibility for the safety of passengers in emergency situations required by Regulation V/2, pa.7 and 8, of the STCW Convention, and specified in Section A-V/2 pa.4 and 5. 

This course offers guidance on the main factors to be aware of in a crisis situation and measures that should be deployed, such as how to use available resources, how to cope with stress and how to communicate effectively with passengers and crew members.

Prerequisites:

There are no specific entry standards for the training in this course. However, all personnel having specific responsibilities on board detailed in Section A-V/2 and Section A­V/3 pa: 4 and 5 must undertake this training. 

Duration: 

This course is a 1-day course for passenger’s vessels, but for those requiring certification for ro-ro passenger vessels, the training is extended to 2 days.  Many training facilities now offer this course online as well as in person.

Seatime & Experience Requirements For The Next Milestone:

To qualify for an issue of the Master Yachts, <500GT Certificate of Competency, you must meet the following requirements:

  • hold an MCA OOW yachts, <3000 GT, II/1, Certificate of Competency;
  • have completed a minimum of 12 months’ onboard yacht service as a deck officer, including at least 120 days watchkeeping service, in vessels of 15 metres or over in load line length while holding an OOW yachts, <3000 GT, II/1 Certificate of Competency;
  • hold the applicable ancillary certificates;
  • successful completion of approved education and training, meeting the standards of competency identified by the MCA from section A-II/2 of the STCW Code as applicable to a yacht restricted Certificates of Competency and covered by:
    • successful completion of an MCA-approved ‘Seamanship and Meteorology (Master Yachts)’ training module and passing the corresponding IAMI module written examination;
    • successful completion of an MCA-approved ‘Stability (Master Yachts)’ training module and passing the corresponding IAMI module written examination;
    • successful completion of an MCA-approved ‘Business and Law (Master Yachts)’ training module and passing the corresponding IAMI module written examination;
    • successful completion of an MCA-approved ‘Navigation, Radar and ARPA Simulator (Master Yachts)’ training module and passing the corresponding IAMI module written examination;
    • passing the IAMI ‘Celestial Navigation’ written examination;
  • hold a valid accepted Seafarers Medical Fitness Certificate; and,
  • pass the Master yachts <500GT oral examination.

To qualify for an issue of the Master Yachts, <3000GT Certificate of Competency, you must meet the following requirements:

  • have completed a minimum of 24 months’ onboard yacht service as a Deck Officer, including at least 240 days watchkeeping service while holding an OOW yachts, <3000 GT, II/1, Certificate of Competency. All of this service must be completed in vessels of 15 metres or over in load line length and include; 12 months in vessels of 24 metres or over in load line length, or 6 months in vessels of 500 GT or more;
  • hold the applicable ancillary certificates;
  • hold either:
    • an MCA Master yachts <500 GT, II/2, Certificate of Competency and a pass certificate for the IAMI ‘Celestial Navigation’ written examination; OR
    • Certificates demonstrating successful completion of all of the MCA-approved yacht modules and IAMI written examinations passes applicable to the Master yachts <500 GT, II/2, Certificate of Competency (Celestial Navigation must be less than 1 year old and all other IAMI written exam pass certificates must be less than 3 years old prior to the issue of this Certificate of Competency); and,
  • pass the Master yachts <3000GT oral examination.

Service should be in the deck department onboard yachts and will be reckoned from the date of engagement to the date of discharge. A minimum of 4 hours of working duty in 24 hours would count as 1 full day. At least 6 months of the qualifying seagoing service must have been performed within the 5 years immediately preceding the MCA’s receipt of your application. 

Service may be performed in vessels of any flag.

Master (500GT/3000GT)

Seamanship and Meteorology – Master Yacht

Overview:

This is a general command level course designed to convey certain important issues in five different key areas. Key areas are as follows: 

  • seamanship – including heavy weather, emergency action, vessel handling, dry-docking;
  • navigation and passage planning – including watchkeeping procedures, IRPCS and passage planning;
  • meteorology – including atmospheric stability, air masses, local variations, pressure and meteorological forecasting;
  • MARPOL – including IMO conventions concerning the safety of life and environmental protection; and,
  • Code of Safe Working Practices for Seamen – including personal safety, safety officer responsibilities, incident reporting and investigation.

Prerequisites:

Entrants should have successfully completed a training program covering the minimum standards required for certification as an officer in charge of a navigation watch. 

Duration:

This is a 5-day theory-based training course that can be taken either online or in person. 

Stability – Master Yacht

Overview:

This is a management level course that explores the principles of vessel stability at a practical level. The course aims to ensure an understanding of stability principles.

The key areas covered in this course are as follows:

  • basic principles of hydrostatics;
  • hull form;
  • static and initial stability;
  • interpretation of curves of statical stability;
  • vessel stability data;
  • calculations involving loading and shifting of weights;
  • dry docking; and,
  • longitudinal stability and basic calculation.

Prerequisites:

Entrants should have successfully completed a training program covering the minimum standards required for certification as officer in charge of a navigation watch. 

Duration:

This is a 5 day theory based training course that can be taken either online or in person. 

Business and Law – Master Yachts

Overview:

This course is aimed at making the master aware of their responsibilities in law. The course describes how criminal and civil jurisdictions work in the multinational environment of seafaring, the major international conventions that affect vessels and the documents and certificates required to support these.

Important safety issues are discussed, particularly Health and Safety Laws and the master and owner’s civil liabilities. Other aspects of law, such as that relating to employment, salvage and insurance, are covered.

Prerequisites:

Entrants should have successfully completed a training program covering the minimum standards required for certification as an officer in charge of a navigation watch.

Duration:

This is a 5-day theory-based training course that can be taken either online or in person.

Navigation, Radar and ARPA Simulator – Master Yacht

Overview:

This course builds on the subjects covered in the OOW Navigation and Radar module. It refreshes training in chart work, tides and radar, and introduces other aspects necessary at master level.

This is a command course and concentrates on management level issues in navigation. The theory concentrates on matters such as passage planning, full knowledge of the COLREGS, radar theory, ARPA theory, advanced radar plotting, and ECDIS. Simulator courses comprise at least half of the course, and the tasks increase in complexity.

Prerequisites:

Entrants should have successfully completed a training program covering the minimum standards required for certification as an officer in charge of a navigation watch.

Duration:

This is a 5-day theory and practical simulator-based training course.

Celestial Navigation – Master Yacht

Overview:

As part of the Master Yacht CoC, all candidates are now required to pass a Celestial Navigation Exam, which tests understanding of the theory and practises of Celestial Navigation.

Many schools offer a refresher course that will allow candidates to refresh their celestial and astronavigation skills and knowledge prior to sitting the approved exam. Those who do not feel they need a refresher course can opt to sit the exam directly.

NOTE: the Master Yacht Oral examination needs to be taken within 12 months of completing the Celestial Navigation Exam as the exam pass only holds a one-year expiry.

Prerequisites:

Entrants should have successfully completed a training program covering the minimum standards required for certification as an officer in charge of a navigation watch.

Duration:

The refresher course is commonly 5 days in duration, with the exam on the 5th day.

Proficiency in Medical Care

Overview:

This course is for seafarers designated to take charge of medical care on-board vessels and for those requiring certificates of competency. The training will give the candidate knowledge of medical care at sea and the confidence that will allow them to deal safely with any situation.

NOTE: This course can be taken earlier in your career path to enhance your career and job opportunities.

Prerequisites:

Candidates must have successfully completed an approved training programme in Proficiency in Medical First Aid.

Duration:

This is a 5-day theory and practical course.

Obtain a Notice of Eligibility (NOE)

When you have accrued sufficient sea time to sit an oral exam with the MCA, you are required to apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NOE). This form (MSF 4343) can be downloaded from the MCA website. It must be returned with original copies of your supporting documentation (sea service testimonials, STCW certificates, exam pass certificates and Medical Fitness Certificate) to prove you are eligible for an oral exam. 

Once you have your NOE, you can book your oral exam at any MCA offices throughout the UK. A Notice of Eligibility is valid for five years from the date of issue and three years after a successful oral exam. You must apply for your NOE well in advance of your anticipated exam date, as it can take up to six weeks to be processed.

Master <500GT Oral Exam Or Master <3000GT Oral Prep/Exam

The MCA oral examination is aimed at ensuring the candidate’s ability to undertake the duties appropriate to Master Yacht. Oral examinations are part of the procedure for the attainment of all MCA certificates of competency, and all candidates must demonstrate adequate knowledge of the English language.

It is recommended that candidates complete an “Oral Prep Course” to ensure the best chance of passing the exam.  Many schools have these courses on offer but it is best that the course is taken as close to your exam date as possible and in the same geographic location as your exam.

The oral examination pass is valid for a period of 3 years.  This must be in date at the time of the issue of your Certificate of Competency.  The NOE must be returned to the MCA with any outstanding documentary evidence.

Apply for Certificate of Competence (CoC)

If this is your first UK CoC application, post your application and supporting documents to UK Seafarer Services (Training & Certification), Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1EG. For all other applicants, email your application and scanned documents to deck@mcga.gov.uk.

At least 6 months of the qualifying seagoing service must have been performed within the 5 years immediately preceding a Certificate of Competency issue. A Certificate of Competency will not be issued until the MCA has received all the documentary evidence confirming the required standards are met.   

The appropriate Certificate of Competency will be issued and valid for a period of 5 years from the date that the qualifying conditions were met.  

Other Courses To Enhance Your Career

Proficiency as Shipboard Safety Officer

Overview:

This course is intended to provide seafarers serving as or planned to serve as either safety representatives or safety officers. The training provided on this course is intended to meet the requirements set out in The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations and the Code of Safe Working Practice for Merchant Seafarers (CoSWP)

On completion of the course, candidates will have the knowledge required to act as a Shipboard Safety Officer and an understanding of the following subjects:

  • the duties of the shipboard safety officer;
  • the legal framework for safety;
  • the relationship between the ISM code and safety management onboard vessels;
  • overview of the ISM Code;
  • considered the cause of accidents;
  • the process and limitations of risk assessment;
  • considered the accident investigation process;
  • the importance of appropriate interviewing technique; and,
  • considered factors influencing the effectiveness of safety committee meetings.

Prerequisites:

Candidates wishing to undertake this course must meet the requirement:

  • be at least 18 years of age, and,
  • have served at sea for at least 12 months.

Duration:

This course is a theory course run over 3 days and maybe taken online or in person.

Proficiency as Ship Security Officer

Overview:

This course is intended to provide knowledge to those who may be designated to perform the duties and responsibilities of a Ship Security Officer (SSO), as defined in section A/2.1.6 (and section A/12) of the ISPS Code and section A-Vl/5 of the STCW Code, as amended. In particular, the duties and responsibilities concerning the security of a vessel for implementing and maintaining a Ship Security Plan and liaising with the Company Security Officer (CSO) and Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs). 

The SSO course provides specific training to address the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships is emphasized. It also provides knowledge and practical skills so that you:

  • understand the importance of ship security, organisations, including roles and responsibilities;
  • know how to assess security risk, threats and vulnerability to the vessel, its personnel, cargo and operations;
  • understand the capabilities and limitations of security methods, equipment and systems;
  • know how to implement a Ship Security Plan and related regulatory requirements;
  • know how to determine the effectiveness of current security arrangements, procedures and equipment; and,
  • understand how to promote security awareness and vigilance onboard your vessel(s).

Prerequisites:

Students must have relevant seagoing/shipping/maritime and security experience and knowledge and be able to communicate confidently.

Duration:

This course is a theory course run over 3 days and maybe taken online or in person.

Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats

Overview:

This course aims to provide the training for candidates to launch and take charge of a fast rescue boat, in accordance with Section A-Vl/2 of the STCW Code. 

On meeting the minimum standard of competence in fast rescue boats, a trainee will be competent to handle and take charge of such boats during or after launch in adverse weather and sea conditions. They will also be able to operate a fast rescue boat engine. 

Trainees will know the correct use of all locating devices, including communication and signalling equipment between the rescue boat and a helicopter and the vessel, and how to carry out search patterns. 

Prerequisites:

For admission to the course, seafarers must be medically fit and the holder of a certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats in accordance with Regulation Vl/2, paragraph 1 of the STCW Code. 

Duration: 

This course is both theory and practical run over 3 days.

Helideck Procedures & Emergency Response

Overview:

The correct performance of standard procedures and swift response to emergency situations by the helideck team are the key factors in the safety of all crew and passengers on the vessel and helicopter. You should note that acquiring appropriate knowledge and training is the key to maintaining safety and preventing incidents from occurring on board.

The purpose of this course is to give candidates a basic understanding of what is required to operate helicopters at sea safely. This course will effectively train candidates to become Helideck Assistants (HDAs) on aviation-capable vessels. At the end of this course, candidates will be able to:

  • assist in the preparation of the helideck for flying operations;
  • assist in the safe embarkation/disembarkation of helicopter passengers and crew; and,
  • take appropriate actions in response to emergencies.

Prerequisites: 

Trainees must have completed the four elements of approved STCW basic training prior to attending this course:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Code A-VI/1-1);
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW Code A-VI/1-2);
  • Elementary First Aid (STCW Code A-VI/1-3);
  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (STCW Code AVI/ 1-4);

Duration:

This is a 1-day course and is often taken in conjunction with other Helideck courses.

Helicopter Landing Officer

Overview:

The Helicopter Landing Officer, also known as HLO, is responsible for ensuring all helicopter operations on the vessel are conducted safely and efficiently. The HLO commands a team, which is usually made up of members of the vessel’s crew, known as HDA’s (Helideck Assistants). The assistants themselves are also trained in passenger and freight handling, helicopter safety and fire and rescue.

The correct performance of standard procedures and a swift response to emergency situations by the helideck team are the key factors in the safety of all crew and passengers on the vessel and helicopter. The HLO is the primary link between the vessel and the helicopter and is in overall charge of the helideck during flight operations. 

On completion of the training, the trainees will have a good understanding of the organisational requirements for the operation of helicopters from helidecks. The HLO will:

  • conduct everyday management of the helideck and its associated facilities;
  • assist the aircraft commander in completing paperwork requirements prior to flying operations;
  • control all helideck operations, including during any emergencies; and,
  • organise and conduct onboard helicopter drills to maintain helideck team training currency. 

Prerequisites:

Prior to attending this course, trainees must have completed the following: 

  • Advanced Fire Fighting (STCW Code A-V1/3);
  • HDA qualified – Helideck Procedures & Emergency Response; and,
  • practical experience performing the duties of an HDA.

Duration: 

This is usually a 1-day course made up of theory and practical sessions with a short 1 hour written exam but can vary depending on the location that the course is taken.

Basic Training for Ships Operating in Polar Waters

Overview:

 This course provides training to officers in charge of a navigational watch to operate vessels in polar waters and address those additional provisions as required by the Polar Code to take into account the climatic conditions of polar waters and meet appropriate standards of maritime safety and pollution prevention.

 Polar Waters includes both Arctic and Antarctic waters as defined in SOLAS and MARPOL regulations.

A trainee successfully completing this course will gain:

  • the ability to contribute to the safe operation of vessels in polar waters; 
  • an understanding of ice characteristics and areas where different types of ice can be expected in the area of operation; 
  • an understanding of vessel performance in ice and low air temperature; 
  • an understanding of safe operations and vessel manoeuvrability in ice; 
  • awareness to monitor and ensure compliance with legislative requirements;
  • an understanding to apply safe working practices and to respond to emergencies; 
  • an understanding and awareness of correct crew preparation, working conditions and safety; 
  • an understanding of the need to ensure compliance with pollution prevention requirements and prevent environmental hazards; and,
  • an understanding of the required skills to perform manoeuvres to operate vessels in polar waters safely. 

Prerequisites:

Every candidate for a certificate in basic training for ships operating in polar waters shall hold a certificate as master, chief mate or officer in charge of a navigation watch qualified in accordance with regulations 11/1, 11/2 and 11/3 of the STCW Convention, respectively or equivalent as determined by the national administration. 

 Duration: 

This course is a combination of lecture and simulation training over approximately 34 hours. This course may be offered in-person or online.

Advanced Training for Ships Operating in Polar Waters

Overview:

The purpose of this course is to provide training to navigation officers to operate vessels in polar waters. Further to this, the course addresses those additional provisions deemed necessary for consideration, beyond existing requirements of the SOLAS and MARPOL Conventions, to take into account the climatic conditions of polar waters and meet appropriate standards of maritime safety and pollution prevention. 

The course is designed to meet the mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters and deck officers on vessels operating in polar waters, in the STCW Code,.specifically those tables A-V/4-2 “Specification of minimum standard of competence in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters”. 

A trainee successfully completing this course will gain:

  • understanding of the basic requirements for structure, stability and subdivision, machinery, lifesaving appliances, fire protection, voyage planning, vessel routing, navigation systems  and equipment, radio communication, pollution prevention equipment, liability and safety management systems, as applicable to the different types and sizes of vessels which may undertake voyages in polar waters;
  • ability to contribute to the safe operation of vessels operating in polar waters;
  • understanding of ice characteristics and areas where different types of ice can be expected in the area of operation;
  • understanding of vessel performance in ice and low air temperature;
  • understanding of safe operations and vessel manoeuvrability in ice; 
  • awareness to monitor and ensure compliance with legislative requirements;
  • understanding to apply safe working practices and to respond to emergencies;
  • understanding and awareness of correct crew preparation, working conditions and safety; 
  • understanding the need to ensure compliance with pollution prevention requirements and prevent environmental hazards; and,
  • understanding skills to perform manoeuvres to operate vessels in polar waters safely.

Prerequisites:

Every candidate for a certificate in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters should:

  • hold a certificate as master, chief mate or officer in charge of a navigation watch qualified in accordance with Chapter V of the STCW Convention and the STCW Code. The minimum qualification will be set at STCW regulations II/1, II/2 and II/3 or equivalent as determined by the national administration;
  • either has met the requirements for basic training for ships in polar waters in accordance with STCW Regulation V/5 paragraph 6 or hold a certificate in basic training for ships in polar waters; and,
  • have at least two (2) months of approved seagoing service in the deck department at management level, or while performing watchkeeping duties at an operational level, within polar waters or other equivalent approved seagoing service.

Duration: 

This course is typically run over a 5 day period.