You need a seaman’s discharge book if you’re a British seafarer, or are working on a UK-registered ship or yacht.
How to apply
Download an application form for a British seaman’s card or discharge book.
Apply by post
It costs £40 to apply for a British seaman’s card and £40 to apply for a discharge book. The form explains how to pay and where to send your application.
Apply in person
You can apply in person at your local Marine Office. It costs £90 for a British seaman’s card and £90 for a discharge book.
To apply in person you must have an appointment with a Marine Office. There are telephone numbers on the form.
Seaman’s discharge book
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
You don’t need a discharge book if you’re employed:
- on a ship that doesn’t go to sea
- on a pleasure boat and don’t receive any pay
- only for the purpose of testing the ship, its machinery or equipment in UK coastal waters
- by the Crown and not normally employed as a master or seaman
- specifically for the construction, alteration, repair or testing of a ship
- on an un-registered ship
British seaman’s card
A British seaman’s card is an internationally accepted document which lets British seamen land at foreign ports without needing a visa. You must be a British citizen to apply for a card.
You don’t need a card if you:
- work in a ship belonging to a general lighthouse authority
- receive little or no pay (but cadets can apply)
Contact the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) if you need help with your application.