A COMPREHENSIVE AND SUCCINCT

Engineering Career

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Engineering 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.

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.

Approved Engine Course 2 (AEC 2)

Overview:

AEC 2 is a mandatory course for students enrolled in the new small vessel route to second engineer. It covers refrigeration, legislation (books and records), maintenance systems and techniques, safe systems of work, lifting and slinging, electrical distribution, basic hydraulic systems, fresh water and sewage systems.

The objective of the AEC 2 course is to provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on experience of additional areas, as laid down in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) AEC 2 syllabus. 

Prerequisites:

To complete the AEC 2 course, you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age; 
  • have completed the STCW 2010 compliant basic safety training; and,
  • have completed an approved AEC 1 course or an accepted equivalent.

Duration:

This course is run over the period of 1 week with both theory and practical training.

Other Courses To Enhance Your Career

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.

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.

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.

Seatime & Experience Requirements For The Next Milestone

Standard Route

Experienced Seafarer Route

Alternative Route

If you are on this route you will need to gain a Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel Engineer from an MCA-approved training provider. This Diploma will allow you a reduction in sea time required.

Requirements:

    • Hold an Approved Engine Course I & II (AEC I & II) – this is not required if you are completing your seagoing service as Assistant Engineer.
    • Have completed 12 months’ combined sea service and workshop training, which must include:
      • 6 Months’ seagoing service engaged in watchkeeping or Unmanned Machinery Space (UMS) duties on vessels of at least 350kW;
      • 5 months’ seagoing service on vessels of at least 350kW;
      • 2 weeks MCA-approved Initial Workshop Skills Training; and,
      • A further 2 weeks seagoing service on vessels of at least 350kW or 2 weeks of MCA-approved additional Workshop Skills Training.
    • Complete the MNTB Small Vessel Training Record Book during your seagoing service.
    • Complete the Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel Engineer.
    • Successfully pass the MCA-approved written examinations for:
      • Marine Diesel Engineering
      • Auxiliary Equipment Part 1
      • Operational procedures, Basic Hotel Services and Ship construction.
    • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates.
    • Hold a valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent.
    • Complete MCA oral examination for Second Engineer Officers on Small Vessels less than 9000 kW, less than 3000 GT, unlimited area, III/2 (syllabus available online, go to www.gov.uk and search “Small Vessel Oral Examination Syllabus”).

This route is for existing seafarers serving on small vessels. You will not be required to complete the Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel Engineer; however, you will need to complete a preparatory college course and SQA written examinations.

To be eligible to register on a study programme, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed 24 months’ seagoing service on vessels of at least 200kW.
  • Hold an Approved Engine Course 1 & 2.
  • Hold basic STCW safety training certificates:
    • 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 and Social Responsibilities (STCW Code A-VI/1-4).

Once entry is gained on to an approved course in addition to meeting the requirements above, you must complete the following requirements to be issued with a Notice of Eligibility to sit an MCA oral examination:

  • Have completed: 
    • A further 11 months’ seagoing service on a vessel of 35kW, which must include a minimum of 6 months’ seagoing service engaged in watchkeeping or UMS duties.
    • 2 weeks MCA-approved Initial Workshop Skills Training.
    • A further 2 weeks seagoing service on vessels of at least 350kW or 2 weeks of MCA-approved additional Workshop Skills Training.
  • Complete the MNTB Small Vessel Training Record Book during your seagoing service.

To be issued this Certificate of Competency under this route, once you have obtained your MCA issued NOE, must meet the following requirements:

  • Successfully complete the MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding written examinations for:
    • Marine Diesel Engineering.
    • Auxiliary Equipment Part 1.
    • Operational procedures, Basic Hotel Services and Ship construction.
  • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates.
  • Hold a valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent.
  • Complete MCA oral examination for Second Engineer Officers on Small Vessels less than 9000 kW, less than 3000 GT, unlimited area, III/2 (syllabus available online, go to www.gov.uk and search “Small Vessel Oral Examination Syllabus”).

The Alternative Route is designed for those with relevant Engineering qualifications to apply directly to an MCA-approved training provider for an Action Plan detailing the requirements they must meet to obtain a Second Engineer Officer on Small Vessels less than 9,000kW less than 3,000GT, unlimited area, Certificate of Competency.

You will be eligible for this route if you have completed a suitable engineering qualification and/or work-based apprenticeship. This will include:

  • Graduates or Higher National Diploma (HND)/Higher National Certificate (HNC) holders in mechanical/aeronautical/marine/electromechanical or an engineering programme that comprises at least four of the following six modules: applied mechanics, applied heat, mathematics, engineering drawing, naval architecture and ship construction and electro-technology.
  • Suitable engineering apprenticeship (NVQ level 2 or above) holders. Examples could include, but not limited to Mechanical, Marine Engineering and Diesel Fitter.

For any qualification gained outside the UK, you must obtain a NARIC letter confirming a comparable standard of your qualification to a UK equivalent. HND and HNC qualifications will only be accepted if gained from an EU state. 

The college will assess suitable engineering apprenticeship (NVQ level 2 or above) to ensure they cover experience, training and qualification levels. Relevant apprenticeships must have been completed in an EU state, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.

The following training and seagoing service will also be assessed for eligibility onto the Alternative Route:

  • Royal Navy engineering: service, training and qualifications.
  • Naval engineering: service training and qualifications from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

If you are eligible to enter this programme, you will need to apply directly to an MCA-approved nautical college. The college Action Plan will be summarised in letter format. The letter will draw on the requirements in this section. All requirements in black are mandatory, the requirement in red is a possible exemption, and your additional seagoing service will be chosen from one of the options in blue.

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

  • Complete a minimum of 6 months’ seagoing service engaged in watchkeeping duties or UMS duties. Seagoing service must be completed on vessels of at least 350 kW, and you must document your onboard training during this period in an approved MNTB Small Vessel Training Record Book (TRB). In addition, you must complete one of the following:
    • A Graduate (Degree), a holder of an MCA-approved HND in Marine Engineering Qualification or an engineering apprenticeship (NVQ level 3 or above), must complete: a further 5 months of seagoing service on vessels of at least 350 kW and either:
      • An additional 2 weeks seagoing service on vessels of at least 350 kW; or, 
      • 2 weeks of further MCA-approved additional Workshop Skills Training.
    • A HND student must complete a further 8 months of seagoing service on vessels of at least 350 kW and either:
      • An additional 2 weeks seagoing service on vessels of at least 350kW; or, 
      • 2 weeks of further MCA-approved additional Workshop Skills Training.
    • A HNC holder must complete a further 11 months of seagoing service on vessels of at least 350 kW and either:
      • An additional 2 weeks seagoing service on vessels of at least 350kW; or,
      • 2 weeks of further MCA-approved additional Workshop Skills Training.
  • Hold an Approved Engine Course 1 & 2
  • 2 weeks MCA-approved initial Workshop Skills Training.
  • Successfully complete the MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding written examinations for:
    • Marine Diesel Engineering;
    • Auxiliary Equipment Part 1; and,
    • Operational procedures, Basic Hotel Services and Ship construction.
  • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates.
  • Hold a valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent.
  • Complete MCA oral examination for Second Engineer Officers on Small Vessels less than 9000 kW, less than 3000 GT, unlimited area, III/2 (syllabus available online, go to www.gov.uk and search “Small Vessel Oral Examination Syllabus”).

Second Engineer Small Vessel – less than 3,000GT and 9,000kW

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.

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.

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.

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.

Workshop Skills Training

Overview:

Unless you have been exempted by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency due to previous industrial experience/qualifications, you must undertake and pass an MNTB Workshop Skills Training programme before you can gain initial certification as Engineer Officer of the Watch (EOOW). 

This Workshop Skills Training course is a practical course designed to teach candidates required engineering skills. The training covers all marine engineering workshop skills elements, then advances to cover maintenance skills, assembly skills and electrical/electronic practice.

The following skills and knowledge candidates will be expected to able to apply after this course: 

  • interpretation of drawings;
  • use and care of hand tools;
  • use of measuring equipment;
  • safe use of portable power tools;
  • safe use of centre lathes and vertical milling machines; 
  • safe use of drilling machines;
  • safe use of off-hand grinders;
  • metal joining – welding, brazing, soldering;
  • gas cutting;
  • mechanical joints – gaskets, flanges, couplings;
  • assembly skills;
  • electrical testing and wiring;
  • plant maintenance; and,
  • plumbing.

Prerequisites: 

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Duration:

Candidates must complete 2 weeks of approved Workshop Skills Training.

Small Vessel Second Engineer – Marine Diesel Engineering

Overview:

This course covers engine working principles, turbochargers, engine operation and maintenance, engine safety devices and governors, clutches and gearboxes, fuel supply systems, fuel characteristics and treatment, cooling water systems, engine starting systems, and engine construction. 

Prerequisites:

This course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course. All candidates must have completed the following before enrolling in this course:

  • Approved Engine Courses (AEC I & II); 
  • Basic Safety Certificates; and, 
  • Service as required for issue of Training Record Book.

Duration:

This course is 1 week; however, it is considered a revision course in preparation for the examination.

Small Vessel Second Engineer – Auxiliary Equipment Part 1

Overview:

SV Auxiliary Equipment Part 1 is a module for seafarers working towards becoming a Small Vessel Engineering Officer. This course has a reduced volume of content compared to the Y4 Auxiliary Equipment module and covers the following topics: 

  • Valves;
  • Pumps;
  • Compressed Air Systems;
  • Hydraulic and Pneumatic Control Principles;
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning;
  • Steering Gears;
  • Propulsion;
  • Transmission and Shafting;
  • Electrical Plant; and,
  • additional topics as relevant or required.

Prerequisites: 

This course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course. All candidates must have completed the following before enrolling in this course:

  • Approved Engine Courses (AEC I & II); 
  • Basic Safety Certificates; and, 
  • Service as required for issue of Training Record Book.

Duration:

This course is 1 week; however, it is considered a revision course in preparation for the examination.

Small Vessel Second Engineer – Operational Procedures, Basic Hotel Services and Ship Construction

Overview:

The SV Operational Procedures, Basic Hotel Services and Ship Construction course is required to obtain either the Y4 CoC or the Small Vessel Second Engineer <9000kW/<3000gt CoC. It covers the following topics:

  • Legislation;
  • Watchkeeping;
  • Maintenance;
  • Pollution;
  • Bunkering and Fuel Transfer;
  • Sewage Systems;
  • Air Conditioning;
  • Refrigeration;
  • Fresh Water Maker;
  • Stabilisers;
  • Fire Fighting; and,
  • Ship Construction.

Prerequisites: 

This course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course. All candidates must have completed the following before enrolling in this course:

  • Approved Engine Courses (AEC I & II); 
  • Basic Safety Certificates; and, 
  • Service as required for issue of Training Record Book.

Duration:

This course is 1 week; however, it is considered a revision course in preparation for the examination.

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.

Second Engineer (SV) <3000GT and 9000kW Oral Prep/Exam

The MCA oral examination ensures the candidate’s ability to undertake the duties appropriate to the second engineer. 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.

If you are undertaking the Second Engineer Officer on Small Vessels Oral Examination, you should bring your MNTB TRB at the Marine Office, where you are scheduled to sit the examination.  The Examiner may refer to it during the examination.  

You must take your current passport (with visa if applicable) to the oral examination as a means of identification. 

It is recommended that you complete all of the education and training before attempting the oral examination. This will provide you with the knowledge on which the examination is based. The Oral Examination syllabus is available online, go to www.gov.uk and search “Small Vessel Oral Examination Syllabus”). 

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 you should take the course as close to your exam date as possible and in the same geographic location as your exam.

The examiner will record the result of your oral examination on your NOE. 

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

High Voltage Training Operational Level (HV)

Overview:

To give seafarers the essential education and training in high voltage installations to meet the knowledge, understanding and proficiency requirements set out in the specific part of STCW Table A-III/1 for electrical, electronic and control systems at the operational level.

The course aims to achieve the following training outcomes: 

  • knowledge of the arrangement and protection of HV installations onboard a vessel, including what is considered to be high voltage, typical voltages found on board ship, the reasons why modern vessels are equipped with high voltage generators, the difference between insulated and earthed neutral distribution systems, which circuits will operate at high voltage, and the function of the protection devices and their sequence of operation; and,
  • knowledge of the safety requirements necessary for HV installations, including the hazards associated with high voltage, the requirements outlined in the HSE publication Electricity at Work safe working practices, the terms ‘authorised and competent person, the difference between an ordinary and a high voltage permit to work, the isolation process required to produce a high voltage permit to work, and the importance of a circuit main earth. 

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites for entry to this course, and it is suitable for marine engineer officers, electrical or electro-technical officers, engineer surveyors and marine superintendents.  

Duration:

This is a 4-8 hour course dependent on the school and can either be taken in the classroom with practical components or online. 

Audio Visual – Yacht AV and Control Systems Training

Overview:

Yacht AV systems are usually high-end, bespoke, complex and extensive.  Further to this, they’re a major part of the guest experience. However, training and experience with each main system component is needed outside of courses offered by manufacturers.  These courses are designed for technicians installing and programming the systems, so they are much more in-depth than seafarers maintaining systems require.  

This course is designed to provide base knowledge on the main common software and systems used on yachts.  Systems such as Crestron, Kaleidescape, Lutron and Soundweb are examples of what may be taught in this course depending on the location where seafarers undertake their training. 

Students are taught the common tasks likely to be encountered onboard and how to troubleshoot problems.

Prerequisites:

No prerequisite training or qualifications are required to enrol in this course.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course comprising both theory and practical components; however, some schools offer an adapted online version.

Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Course

Overview:

VSAT  is a satellite communications system that consists of a two-way satellite ground station with a small dish antenna primarily used to transmit narrowband data such as transmitting broadband data for VoIP, video, or satellite internet to remote locations.

This VSAT training course covers a broad range of subjects. The focus is to deliver an overview of the most common tasks and knowledge,  including troubleshooting.

Prerequisites:

No prerequisite training or qualifications are required to enrol in this course.

Duration:

This is usually a 3-day course comprising both theory and practical components; however, some schools offer an adapted online version.

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.

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 this Certificate of Competency, you must meet the following requirements:

  • while holding a Second Engineer Officer on Small Vessel less than 9,000kW, less than 3,000GT, unlimited area Certificate of Competency, complete a minimum of 6 month’s seagoing service as a Second Engineer on vessels of at least 350kW;
  • successfully complete the approved modules and pass the corresponding examinations for:
    • Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements;
    • Auxiliary Equipment part – 2;
  • hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates; and,
  • pass the MCA oral examination for Chief Engineer Officer, less than 3000 kW, less than 500 GT, unlimited area, STCW Reg III/3 (syllabus available online, go to www.gov.uk and search Small Vessel Oral Examination Syllabus).

Chief Engineer Small Vessel – less than 500GT and 3,000kW

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.

Small Vessel Chief Engineer – Statutory and Operational Requirements

Overview:

The SV Statutory and Operational Requirements course is one of the 2 modules required to obtain the MCA Small Vessel Chief Engineer less than 500gt, 3000kw qualification. The course will cover the following topics: 

  • the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  • the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS);
  • the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL);
  • the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW);
  • the International Convention on Load Lines;
  • the International Labour Organization (ILO);
  • the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA);
  • the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and Classification Societies;
  • planned maintenance systems;
  • surveys and audits;
  • dry-docking; 
  • voyage planning; and, 
  • emergencies.

Prerequisites:

No prerequisite training or qualifications are required to enrol in this course; however, this course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course delivered either in the classroom direct or online.

Small Vessel Chief Engineer – Auxiliary Equipment Part 2

Overview:

This course forms part of the chief engineer officer qualification for small vessels (less than 9000kW and less than 3,000GT) with an unlimited area. The certification is for new and experienced crew who wish to move into the small vessel environment as engineers and covers the following topics: 

  • pumps;
  • hydraulics;
  • high-pressure air compressor and air systems; 
  • electrical plant; 
  • ship construction and dry-docking; 
  • alternative fuels; 
  • refrigeration and air conditioning plant; and, 
  • lifting plants.

Prerequisites:

This course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course. All candidates must have completed the following before enrolling in this course:

  • Approved Engine Courses (AEC I & II); 
  • Small Vessel Chief Engineer Auxiliary Equipment Part 1
  • Basic Safety Certificates; and, 
  • Service as required for issue of Training Record Book.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course delivered either in the classroom direct or online.

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.

Chief Engineer (SV) <500GT and 3000kW Oral Prep/Exam

The MCA oral examination ensures the candidate’s ability to undertake the duties appropriate to the second engineer. 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.

If you are undertaking the Second Engineer Officer on Small Vessels Oral Examination, you should bring your MNTB TRB at the Marine Office, where you are scheduled to sit the examination.  The Examiner may refer to it during the examination.  

You must take your current passport (with visa if applicable) to the oral examination as a means of identification. 

It is recommended that you complete all of the education and training before attempting the oral examination. This will provide you with the knowledge on which the examination is based. The Oral Examination syllabus is available online, go to www.gov.uk and search “Small Vessel Oral Examination Syllabus”). 

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 you should take the course as close to your exam date as possible and in the same geographic location as your exam.

The examiner will record the result of your oral examination on your NOE. 

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

High Voltage Training Management Level (HV)

Overview:

This course is designed to give seafarers responsible for the safe control and management of high voltage power systems the essential education and training in high voltage installations to meet the knowledge, understanding and proficiency requirements set out in STCW Table A-III/2 and A-III/6.

It covers electrical, electronic and control engineering at the management level.  By the end of the course, seafarers will manage high voltage installations, troubleshoot and restore electrical equipment to operating condition.

Prerequisites:

Candidates must have either:

  • Prior electrical or electro-technical experience in a shipboard environment; or
  • Have completed 12 months sea time as EOOW; or
  • Part of an initial electro-technical training programme.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course consisting of a blend of classroom and practical training.

Audio Visual – Yacht AV and Control Systems Training

Overview:

Yacht AV systems are usually high-end, bespoke, complex and extensive.  Further to this, they’re a major part of the guest experience. However, training and experience with each main system component is needed outside of courses offered by manufacturers.  These courses are designed for technicians installing and programming the systems, so they are much more in-depth than seafarers maintaining systems require.  

This course is designed to provide base knowledge on the main common software and systems used on yachts.  Systems such as Crestron, Kaleidescape, Lutron and Soundweb are examples of what may be taught in this course depending on the location where seafarers undertake their training. 

Students are taught the common tasks likely to be encountered onboard and how to troubleshoot problems.

Prerequisites:

No prerequisite training or qualifications are required to enrol in this course.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course comprising both theory and practical components; however, some schools offer an adapted online version.

Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Course

Overview:

VSAT  is a satellite communications system that consists of a two-way satellite ground station with a small dish antenna primarily used to transmit narrowband data such as transmitting broadband data for VoIP, video, or satellite internet to remote locations.

This VSAT training course covers a broad range of subjects. The focus is to deliver an overview of the most common tasks and knowledge,  including troubleshooting.

Prerequisites:

No prerequisite training or qualifications are required to enrol in this course.

Duration:

This is usually a 3-day course comprising both theory and practical components; however, some schools offer an adapted online version.

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.

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 this Certificate of Competency, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed 24 months’ seagoing service, which must include: 
    • 12 months as a Small Vessel Second Engineer of Small Vessel Chief Engineer while holding the applicable Certificate of Competency.
      • 6 months of this service must be complete on vessels of at least 750kW; and,
      • 6 months of this service must be complete on vessels of at least 350kW.
  • Successfully complete the approved modules and pass the corresponding written examinations for;
    • Auxiliary Equipment Part 2;
    • Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements; and,
    • Applied Marine Engineering;
  • Complete either:
    • MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding written examinations for General Engineering Science I & II; OR,
  • The Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel and the Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel Chief Engineer.
  • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates.
  • Pass the MCA oral examination for Chief Engineer Officer, less than 9,000 kW, less than 3,000 GT, unlimited area, STCW Reg III/3 (Syllabus available online, go to www.gov.uk and search “Small Vessel Oral Examination Syllabus”).

NOTE: The 24 months’ seagoing service required for the SV Chief Engineer Certificate of Competency does not include any workshop time. 

Chief Engineer Small Vessel – less than 3,000GT and 9,000kW

Small Vessel Chief Engineer – Auxiliary Equipment Part 2

Overview:

This course forms part of the chief engineer officer qualification for small vessels (less than 9000kW and less than 3,000GT) with an unlimited area. The certification is for new and experienced crew who wish to move into the small vessel environment as engineers and covers the following topics: 

  • pumps;
  • hydraulics;
  • high-pressure air compressor and air systems; 
  • electrical plant; 
  • ship construction and dry-docking; 
  • alternative fuels; 
  • refrigeration and air conditioning plant; and, 
  • lifting plants.

Prerequisites:

This course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course. All candidates must have completed the following before enrolling in this course:

  • Approved Engine Courses (AEC I & II); 
  • Small Vessel Chief Engineer Auxiliary Equipment Part 1
  • Basic Safety Certificates; and, 
  • Service as required for issue of Training Record Book.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course delivered either in the classroom direct or online.

Small Vessel Chief Engineer – Statutory and Operational Requirements

Overview:

The SV Statutory and Operational Requirements course is one of the 2 modules required to obtain the MCA Small Vessel Chief Engineer less than 500gt, 3000kw qualification. The course will cover the following topics: 

  • the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  • the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS);
  • the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL);
  • the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW);
  • the International Convention on Load Lines;
  • the International Labour Organization (ILO);
  • the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA);
  • the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and Classification Societies;
  • planned maintenance systems;
  • surveys and audits;
  • dry-docking; 
  • voyage planning; and, 
  • emergencies.

Prerequisites:

No prerequisite training or qualifications are required to enrol in this course; however, this course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course delivered either in the classroom direct or online.

Small Vessel Chief Engineer – Applied Marine Engineering

Overview:

This course forms part of the chief engineer officer qualification for small vessels (less than 9000kW and less than 3,000GT) with an unlimited area limitation. The certification is for new and experienced crew who wish to move into the small vessel environment as engineers.

The course covers:

  • materials technology;
  • heat treatment;
  • knowledge of testing materials;
  • knowledge of joining materials;
  • corrosion;
  • FRP (GRP);
  • instrumentation;
  • control engineering; and,
  • engineering drawing.

Prerequisites:

This course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course. All candidates must have completed the following before enrolling in this course:

  • Approved Engine Courses (AEC I & II); 
  • Small Vessel Chief Engineer Auxiliary Equipment Part 1;
  • Basic Safety Certificates; and, 
  • Service as required for issue of Training Record Book.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course delivered either in the classroom direct or online.

Small Vessel Chief Engineer – General Science Engineering I

Overview:

This course covers mechanics and stability and prepares students to sit the MCA/SQA written exam. General Engineering Science I examination is constituted of the following sections:

  • Applied Mechanics:
    • units;
    • kinematics;
    • dynamics;
    • statics;
    • friction;
    • machines;
    • strength of materials;
    • fluids at rest; and,
    • transverse stability.
  • Mathematics:
    • arithmetic;
    • algebra;
    • trigonometry;
    • geometry; and,
    • mensuration.

Candidates must achieve a pass mark of a minimum of 40% in each section. Candidates must achieve a minimum of 50% overall to pass the module.

Prerequisites:

This course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course. All candidates must have completed the following before enrolling in this course:

  • Approved Engine Courses (AEC I & II); 
  • Small Vessel Chief Engineer Auxiliary Equipment Part 1;
  • Basic Safety Certificates; and, 
  • Service as required for issue of Training Record Book.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course delivered either in the classroom direct or online.

Small Vessel Chief Engineer – General Science Engineering II

Overview:

General Engineering Science II examination will consist of the following sections:

  • Applied Heat:
    • heat energy;
    • gas laws;
    • combustion;  and,
    • refrigeration.
  • Electrotechnology and Naval Architecture:

    • nature of electricity;
    • electric currents;
    • electric circuits;
    • resistance;
    • secondary cells;
    • magnetic fields;
    • electromagnetic induction; and,
    • measuring instruments and measurements.

Candidates must achieve a pass mark of a minimum of 40% in each section. A minimum of 50%

must be achieved overall to pass the module.

Prerequisites:

This course is intensive, and candidates are strongly advised to undertake a pre-study before starting the course. All candidates must have completed the following before enrolling in this course:

  • Approved Engine Courses (AEC I & II); 
  • Small Vessel Chief Engineer Auxiliary Equipment Part 1;
  • General Engineering Science I;
  • Basic Safety Certificates; and, 
  • Service as required for issue of Training Record Book.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course delivered either in the classroom direct or online.

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.

Chief Engineer (SV) <3000GT and 9000kW Oral Prep/Exam

The MCA oral examination ensures the candidate’s ability to undertake the duties appropriate to the second engineer. 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.

If you are undertaking the Second Engineer Officer on Small Vessels Oral Examination, you should bring your MNTB TRB at the Marine Office, where you are scheduled to sit the examination.  The Examiner may refer to it during the examination.  

You must take your current passport (with visa if applicable) to the oral examination as a means of identification. 

It is recommended that you complete all of the education and training before attempting the oral examination. This will provide you with the knowledge on which the examination is based. The Oral Examination syllabus is available online, go to www.gov.uk and search “Small Vessel Oral Examination Syllabus”). 

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 you should take the course as close to your exam date as possible and in the same geographic location as your exam.

The examiner will record the result of your oral examination on your NOE. 

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

High Voltage Training Management Level (HV)

Overview:

This course is designed to give seafarers responsible for the safe control and management of high voltage power systems the essential education and training in high voltage installations to meet the knowledge, understanding and proficiency requirements set out in STCW Table A-III/2 and A-III/6.

It covers electrical, electronic and control engineering at the management level.  By the end of the course, seafarers will manage high voltage installations, troubleshoot and restore electrical equipment to operating condition.

Prerequisites:

Candidates must have either:

  • Prior electrical or electro-technical experience in a shipboard environment; or
  • Have completed 12 months sea time as EOOW; or
  • Part of an initial electro-technical training programme.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course consisting of a blend of classroom and practical training.

Audio Visual – Yacht AV and Control Systems Training

Overview:

Yacht AV systems are usually high-end, bespoke, complex and extensive.  Further to this, they’re a major part of the guest experience. However, training and experience with each main system component is needed outside of courses offered by manufacturers.  These courses are designed for technicians installing and programming the systems, so they are much more in-depth than seafarers maintaining systems require.  

This course is designed to provide base knowledge on the main common software and systems used on yachts.  Systems such as Crestron, Kaleidescape, Lutron and Soundweb are examples of what may be taught in this course depending on the location where seafarers undertake their training. 

Students are taught the common tasks likely to be encountered onboard and how to troubleshoot problems.

Prerequisites:

No prerequisite training or qualifications are required to enrol in this course.

Duration:

This is usually a 5-day course comprising both theory and practical components; however, some schools offer an adapted online version.

Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Course

Overview:

VSAT  is a satellite communications system that consists of a two-way satellite ground station with a small dish antenna primarily used to transmit narrowband data such as transmitting broadband data for VoIP, video, or satellite internet to remote locations.

This VSAT training course covers a broad range of subjects. The focus is to deliver an overview of the most common tasks and knowledge,  including troubleshooting.

Prerequisites:

No prerequisite training or qualifications are required to enrol in this course.

Duration:

This is usually a 3-day course comprising both theory and practical components; however, some schools offer an adapted online version.

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.

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.