How to apply for a UK GMDSS STCW endorsement

Guidance on gaining or revalidating an endorsement for a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System certificate for working at sea on UK vessels.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) uses personal information that we collect about you when you apply for global maritime distress safety system (GMDSS) certification with the Association of Marine Electronic and Radio Colleges Limited (AMERC).

Applications for GMDSS certification are administered on behalf of the MCA, which is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Transport. The MCA is the data controller for the personal data we collect through the services provided by AMERC for the conduct of GMDSS examinations; course approvals, audits and collection of fees.

To find out more about how the MCA look after personal data, your rights and how to contacts our data protection officer please go to our privacy information notice page.


As radio personnel serving on UK registered vessels you must apply to the MCA to get your original global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) certificate endorsed so it meets the standards for training, certification and watch keeping (STCW) requirements. This applies to general operators certificates (GOC) and restricted operators certificates (ROC).

You must revalidate your STCW endorsement every 5 years.

How to apply

Complete the application form MSF 4354 below.


  • MSF 4354 Application for initial STCW endorsement and subsequent revalidation to GMDSS certificate of competency

Refer to marine guidance note MSN 1864 (M) Amendment 1 below for further information.


Read the guidance notes in your application form to check you are submitting the documents correctly.

If you are applying for your first STCW endorsement you must include:

  • original UK GMDSS GOC or ROC
  • valid medical fitness certificate, ENG1 or recognised non-UK equivalent
  • 4 elements of STCW basic training certificates or a UK CoC

The basic training certificates are:

  • 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)

To revalidate an STCW endorsement you must include:

And either:

  • An attested copy of your Certificate of Competency
  • Evidence of having completed or updated the training for Personal Survival Techniques and Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting within the last 5 years.

Email your application and supporting documents to the MCA:

The MCA aims to process your application within 14 days of receipt. You’ll receive an email:

  • if any further information/evidence is needed
  • when your certificate(s) and documents are being couriered back to you

MCA does not offer a counter service.

Accepted non-UK GMDSS

The MCA will accept some non-UK GMDSS towards the application of a UK CoC.

  • Find information about countries that have GMDSS certificates which are acceptable equivalents.

GMDSS that is accepted will be marked “yes”.

Further information

Radio operators working on offshore oil and gas installations or fishing vessels don’t need GMDSS endorsement. If you do request an endorsement you’ll need to comply with MCA application requirements and provide STCW basic training certificates.

Contact the Association of Marine Electronic and Radio Colleges if you’ve lost your original GOC or ROC certificate and need a replacement.

Published 1 May 2014
Last updated 6 February 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated application submission to allow for Online applications.

  2. Updated Revalidation requirements

  3. First published.