Frequently asked questions Crew Training

Everything you need to know about our crew training
  • Do I need STCW basic safety training to get a job?

    Yes! You will not get a job on a charter yacht without a STCW basic safety training, and it is required by the vast majority of private yachts. Any MCA coded yacht over 500gt will require all crew to hold a STCW basic safety training certificate.

  • Which parts of my STCW need refreshing?

    Unfortunately, there are some training providers that issue STCW basic training certificates with expiry dates even though the qualification doesn’t technically expire. The new regulations are that the Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting module and the Personal Survival Techniques modules need revalidation. Elementary First Aid and PSSR do not actually expire or require revalidation though, and this is where the difficulty lies. If there is an expiry date on your Elementary First Aid and PSSR certificates (or on your STCW Basic Training certificate if all on one certificate), then were your vessel to have a control by the Port State authorities, this may well be an issue as officially speaking, the certificates look as if they are no longer valid. Therefore, many crew members in this position are choosing to take the complete STCW Basic Training again. In the end it is your choice whether to take the refreshers only or the full course again, but you may find some yacht management companies will enforce this. For the ’Updating Training’ for the STCW Basic Safety Training, we offer the Updated Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting and Personal Survival Techniques. As these two modules, A-VI/1-1.1 and A-VI/1-1.2, are the only two modules required to be updated by the STCW Manila Amendments. However, please note that if your First Aid and PSSR Certificates have expiry dates, they will be accepted by the MCA but, past that date, they may not be accepted by Flag State, Port State, Management companies or Insurance companies, so please check with your vessel if they have any issues.

  • I have got my Yachtmaster and want to do OOW. Which course should I do first?

    We advise you to start with the Efficient Deckhand module as you need to hold this certificate for 18 months before you can apply for your NoE. You can then take the other courses in whichever order ou prefer. Please don’t forget your Training Record Book as this takes a minimum of 12 months to complete and cannot be backdated.

  • I have lost my certificates, what can I do?

    Please contact the training office you took your courses at and the Training Coordinators will be happy to help.

  • How do I register on the SV route?

    To register for the SV programme, please bring, or scan and send, the following documents to a Bluewater training centre:

    • Course completion certificates for MCA Approved Engine Course part 1 & part 2
    • Valid Seafarer’s medical certificate (e.g. ENG1)
    • STCW basic safety training certificate (plus updated training certificates if required)
    • Proof of sea-time of at least 24 months service, including minimum 6 months actual sea service (this sea time MUST be verified by the PYA or Nautilus), and no more than 90 days in a shipyard. All is required to be accumulated in an engineering capacity.
    • Purchase an SV Second Engineer Training Record Book (€100 from a Bluewater training centre, this also includes the registration letter).
    • A passport-sized photo and a form of photo ID

    A member of the training team will check the above documents, and date and stamp your training record book accordingly. We will need to sight all elements before we can do this. Your date of registration is the date that we received all of your documents and enter this into the training record book.

    From this point, you can start to accumulate the remaining 11 months service required, 4 of which is actual sea-time, start the SV written modules (Marine Diesels, Operational Procedures, and Auxiliary Equipment part 1), complete the workshop as well as complete the tasks listed in the training record book. You cannot begin to have the tasks in the book signed off until you have registered onto the SV route.

  • What is the difference between PSA & PDSD?

    Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA) is required for every crew member on board ISPS-compliant vessels (which for yachts means every commercial yacht over 500 gross tonnes – approximately 50m+) and Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD) is for those who have security duties as outlined in the Ship’s Security Plan.

    We would strongly advise you go straight to Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD). This 1-day course includes the PSA syllabus and is the course many yacht crew would need if they have designated security duties on board.

    PSA and PDSD are available as e-learning courses or you can contact our training department for more information on the classroom schedules.

  • How do I apply for a Yacht Rating?

    To obtain your Yacht Rating, please refer to MSN1862 Section 3 and Annexe B, then fill out form MSF4340.
    You will need to show proof of 6 months’ yacht service, 2 months’ sea service and have a valid STCW and ENG1.

  • How long are my certificates valid for?

    As of 1st January 2017, if your STCW basic safety training certificate is 5 years old or over, you must update your training for your certificate to remain valid. Specifically, this applies to the Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting and Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques modules of your STCW basic safety training. This directive doesn’t apply to the other modules. You can update your training by completing the full STCW basic safety training course again, or by completing a refresher course. The refresher courses are called ‘Updated Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting and Personal Survival Techniques’ and we offer them at all our training centres.

    This directive also applies if you hold Proficiency in Advanced Fire Fighting and/or Proficiency in Advanced Sea Survival (OR Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (Other than Fast Rescue Boats)). We run refresher courses for both of these (note: we run the refresher for the Advanced Sea Survival, now known as the Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (Other than Fast Rescue Boats) RESTRICTED.

    For medical certificate validity, see the next question.

    All IAMI (deck) exam pass certificates last for 3 years from the date the examination took place. You must have sat your oral exam and have applied for your CoC before they expire. If you fail to apply for the CoC before your exam pass certificates expire, you would need to obtain a new exam pass certificate by resitting the exam only. If, however you fail the exam, you would be required to complete the full course again for another opportunity to take the exam.

    SQA (engineering) pass certificates last for 3 years, and you can retake the exam as many times as necessary to obtain an exam pass. On successful pass of an SQA exam, the exam pass certificate is valid for 3 years from the date the examination took place, during which you would need to apply for the appropriate CoC.

  • When do my medical certificates run out?

    The Medical Care at Sea certificate is valid for 5 years, after which you would need to update your medical training. This can be done with a Medical Care at Sea course or an Updated Proficiency in Medical Care course. As Captain, or the designated medical person in charge, your medical certificates should always be in date. However, you do not need to send this certificate when you revalidate your MCA CoC.

    Elementary First Aid and Medical First Aid do not expire.

    The RYA requires a certificate of updated medical training within the last 5 years to revalidate a commercial endorsement. Please refer to the question ‘How do I revalidate the commercial endorsement on my RYA certificate?’ to find out how to revalidate a commercial endorsement.

  • How do I revalidate an MCA Certificate of Competency (CoC)?

    Send the following to:
    MCA (Seafarer Training & Certification), Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1EG, U.K.

    • application form MSF 4201 (to download the form, refer to the question ‘How do I download MCA application forms?’)
    • original certificate of competency
    • 2 x passport photos (One certified, the other with your name and date of birth)
    • sea service testimonials and discharge book, or PYA/Nautilus Service Record Book (indicating 12 months on board yacht service in the last five years or 3 months on board yacht service in the last 6 months).
    • Masters: If you do not submit a PYA/Nautilus Service Record Book then you must provide a company letter verifying at least 12 months of your sea service.
    • courier fee of £56.00 (EU) or £66.00 (Rest of the World)
    • Evidence of having completed the basic (and advanced if applicable) updated proficiency safety courses in the last 5 years
    • valid ENG1 medical certificate (or accepted equivalent)
    • deck officers only: GMDSS GOC/ROC (as applicable)
    • deck officers only: ECDIS certificate (if not supplied, you will receive a negative endorsement)
    • engineer officers only: High voltage course completion certificate (if not supplied you will receive a negative endorsement)

    Additional information can be found in MSN 1861(M)

  • How do I revalidate my GMDSS after 5 years?

    Send the following scanned documents to deck@mcga.gov.uk:

    completed application form MSF 4354
    • original GMDSS licence
    • proof of 12 months’ sea service (testimonials/log book) within the last 5 years
    • courier fee of £10.00 (UK), £20.00 (EU) or £30.00 (Rest of the World)
    • valid ENG1 medical certificate (or accepted equivalent)

  • How do I revalidate the commercial endorsement on my RYA certificate?

    Send the following to:
    Royal Yachting Association, RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Southampton, SO31 4YA, U.K. Tel: +44 2380 604 100

    • commercial endorsement revalidation form (can be obtained from the RYA website)
    • original RYA certificate (Yachtmaster Offshore/Ocean, Powerboat Level 2, etc.)
    • 1 passport photo
    • valid ENG1 medical certificate (or accepted equivalent)
    • proof of sea-time (at least 150 days of actual sea service during the last 5 years)
    • Professional Practice and Responsibilities (PPR) online test or MCA issued deck CoC
    • fee of £35.00 (plus £25.00 for fast track service)
    • Elementary First Aid certificate from the last 5 years (or accepted medical equivalent)

  • How do I download MCA application forms?

    On the UK government services website: www.gov.uk, use the large search box to find the relevant application code.

  • How long is my Notice of Eligibility (NOE) valid for?

    It is valid for 5 years or 3 years following successful completion of an oral exam. The examination pass certificates must be less than 3 years old for issue of the CoC.

  • Can I work on British Flag vessels with a CoC issued by another country?

    Yes, the MCA recognises STCW endorsed certificates from other countries, provided that they have inspected and approved the training system in that country.

    You should check the MCA website for an updated list of countries currently recognised. If your country is recognised, you can apply for a Flag State Endorsement (formerly Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC)). The MCA should issue a Flag State Endorsement with the same limitations as the original certificate. Information on how to apply for a Flag State Endorsement can be found here.

  • How do I apply for a Flag State Endorsement?

    Email scans of the following documents to fse@mcga.gov.uk:

    completed application form MSF 4203
    • non-UK Certificate of Competency
    • deck officers only: GMDSS certificate
    • passport or discharge book
    • evidence of competency in English language (see the guidance notes in the application form for details on this)
    • 2 x passport photos (One certified, the other with your name and date of birth)
    • fee of £109 (UK), £129 (EU/EEA) or £139 (rest of the World)

  • How can I contact the MCA?

    Helpline: +44 2380 329 231. You don’t need to wait for the operator to ask your questions, you can just select 1 for Deck/GMDSS, select 2 for Engineering or Safe Manning, or select 3 for Certificates of Equivalent Competency. Alternatively, you can email the MCA on deck@mcga.gov.uk, engineering@mcga.gov.uk, or cec@mcga.gov.uk.

  • Who can issue me a ENG1 medical certificate?

    There are 4 doctors in France who can issue ENG1 certificate (or a MCA accepted ML5 medical certificate);

    Dr Christopher Besse
    74 Avenue de la Liberte, 2nd floor, 06220 Golfe Juan, tel: +33 (0)6 47 45 22 88

    Michel Lauzel - The English Osteopath
    4 Rue Vauban, 06600 Antibes, Tel: +33 493 34 67 17 I www.englishosteopath.com (please book online)

    Dr Jolanda Weerts
    55 Place de la Vignasse,06560 Valbonne, tel: +33 497 25 71 16, Direct line: +33 492 92 13 84

    Dr C Trim-Cauchois
    Yacht Club de Monaco, Espace Calypso (Belle Classe Academy), Quai Louis II, 98000 Monte-Carlo, Tel: +33 643 91 75 79, Email

    Dr Bruno Lavagne
    “Le Vendome” C, 4 Chemin du Tanit, Juan Les Pins, 06160, Tel: +33 493 67 03 07

    In Spain you can go to;

    Dr Amit Bajpai
    British Medical Centre, Carrer ses Planas, 7, 07181 Palma Nova, Calvia, Mallorca, Tel: +34 971 683 511 - Email

    Dr Johanna Clark
    Club de Mar Medical, Carrer Les Rafaletes, 1A, Edificio Torremar B, Planta Primera, Local 2 IZQUIERDA, 07015 Palma de Mallorca, Tel: +34 971 703 391 - Email

    In Fort Lauderdale you can go to:

    Dr E Grenet
    Health Medical Centers, 1489 SE 17 Suite 2, 2nd Floor Southport Shopping Centre, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Tel: +1 954 525 7595 I www.healthmedcenter.net

    For a full list of doctors worldwide see www.gov.uk and search ’MCA approved doctors’.

  • How do I apply for a British seaman’s discharge book?

    Visit www.gov.uk and apply by post. It costs £55 to apply for a British seaman’s card and £55 to apply for a discharge book. You can also apply through the 24-hour premium service, that costs £105 for a British seaman’s card and £105 for a discharge book, or £160 for both. The form downloaded on the website explains how to pay and where to send your application.
    A seaman’s discharge book is a full record of a seaman’s career experience and certification. You need a discharge book if you are either:
    • a British citizen who works on ships or large yachts
    • not a British citizen but employed on a UK-registered ship or large yacht

  • How long before I can do a resit after a "fail" result?

    For externally moderated OOW 3000gt and Master courses, you may resit the failed exam as soon as you can organise a date with your training provider. You must resit any failed exam within 12 months of sitting the original. If you fail a second time, you must retake the whole course before re-attempting the exam. For externally moderated Engineering courses, you are able to resit the exam as many times as necessary without having to retake the course, up to 3 years following the date of the course completion certificate.

  • How do I fill in my OOW Training Record Book?

    Carefully! All tasks are to be completed and signed off by your Captain. None of the tasks should be signed off at the same time. If you are the Captain, you can sign the tasks off yourself, but the MCA will require, with your application for OOW 3000gt, a letter from someone higher up than yourself, i.e. owner, management company or PYA, explaining why you have self-assessed. TRBs should be filled in over a one to three year period. Dates must correspond to time on vessels, with corresponding testimonials. Don’t sign off tasks all on the same date. See page 89 of the Crew Training Manual for further details.

  • How do I verify my sea time?

    The PYA is authorised by the MCA, through the PYA ISO quality management standards, to verify sea service using the PYA Service Record Book (SRB). Your certificates and sea time (both present and retrospective experience) will be carefully checked and approved before being stamped into the SRB by the PYA.

  • Am I exempt from the SV Workshop Skills Training?

    You may be able to get an exemption if you have had workshop skills training in the past, such as for qualifying in a mechanical trade (diesel mechanic, fitter, etc.)
    They are not easy to get though and do require the previous training to have some marine content.
    If you think you might qualify, you should contact IAMI to apply for the exemption.
    If you are following the Alternative Route, you will still need to contact the MCA for a Letter of Initial Assessment, outlining your qualifications and sea time/yacht time.

  • I have an IYT Master of Yachts 200gt - can I do the RYA Ocean Theory course?

    Unfortunately, no, even though the MCA recognises both RYA and IYT qualifications, the RYA will not accept the IYT Yachtmaster Offshore as a pre-requisite for obtaining the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory course. You would have to complete the IYT equivalent.

  • Will my online Food Hygiene certificate be accepted?

    The MCA does not accept Food Safety certificates where the course has been delivered solely by computer-based training. If in any doubt, please consult MIN671 which has a list of accepted courses.