Guidance

How to apply for Able Seafarer, Rating certificates and EDH requirements

Instructions on applying for STCW watch ratings, yacht ratings, or able seafarer certificates and information on gaining an efficient deck hand certificate

Watch rating overview

STCW watch rating certificates are the only qualification you need to work as a watch rating on board a vessel.

There are 2 types of watch rating certificates:

  • navigational watch rating certificate STCW II/4
  • engine room watch rating certificate STCW III/4

To qualify for your certificate you must:

  • be at least 17 years old
  • have completed at least 6 months approved sea service in the deck department or engineer room - or 2 months sea service if you’ve completed a MCA-approved special college-based training programme
  • have completed the basic safety training
  • have been assessed as meeting the specified STCW requirements and performance standards
  • hold a valid medical fitness certificate ENG1 or a recognised non UK equivalent. Please read MSN 1815 for details

How to apply

Many UK-flagged shipping companies issue watch rating certificates on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

If you’re a rating serving with a company which isn’t authorised to issue this certificate you can apply directly to MCA.

Complete application form MSF 4371 below.

Download

  • MSF 4371 Application for a MCA issued watch rating certificate, navigational or engine room

You’ll need to submit the following items with your application form:

  • certified copy of passport (and visa if applicable)
  • discharge book or certificates of discharge (original copies) or yacht service record book
  • sea service testimonials (original copies)
  • 1 passport size photo (countersigned)
  • relevant ancillary course certificates
  • watch rating training record book (deck: Annex A of MSN 1862 or engine: Annex A of MSN 1863)
  • valid medical fitness certificate ENG1 or a recognised non UK equivalent
  • The Fee as noted on the Payment Page of the application form

Yacht rating overview

Yacht rating certificates will allow you to work on yachts and sail training vessels of less than 3000GT.

To qualify for your certificate you must:

  • be at least 17 years old
  • have completed the basic safety training
  • have completed at least 6 months onboard Yacht Service, including 2 months’ actual seagoing service or 2 months actual seagoing service if you’ve completed an MCA-accepted yacht training programme
  • yacht rating training record book Annex B of MSN 1862. Please note that you may gain exemptions from this, please see the relevant section of the guidance notice.
  • have been assessed as meeting the specified STCW requirements and performance standards
  • hold a valid medical fitness certificate ENG1 or a recognised non UK equivalent. Please read MSN 1815 for details.
  • The Fee as noted on the Payment Page of the application form

How to apply

Many colleges offering yacht training issue yacht rating certificates on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Alternatively you can apply directly to MCA.

Complete application form MSF 4340 below.

Download

  • MSF 4340 Application for an MCA issued yacht rating certificate

Find further information and downloadable watch training record books in the marine information note MGN 270

You’ll need to submit the following items with your application form:

  • certified copy of passport (and visa if applicable)
  • discharge book or certificates of discharge (original copies) or yacht service record book
  • certificate of completion from an MCA accepted course or a completed yacht rating Training record book (TRB)
  • sea service testimonials (original copies)
  • relevant ancillary course certificates
  • 1 passport size photo (countersigned)
  • valid medical fitness certificate ENG1 or a recognised non UK equivalent
  • fee

Post your application, supporting documents and fee to MCA:

Seafarer Training and Certification Branch
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
Southampton
SO15 1EG

Applications sent by email or fax will not be accepted

MCA aims to process your application within 28 days of receipt. You’ll receive an email:

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

Contact the Seafarer Training and Certification Branch at MCA if you’ve got any queries about your application:

Tel +44 (0) 23 8032 9231
Email: deck@mcga.gov.uk
Email: engineering@mcga.gov.uk

MCA doesn’t offer a counter service

Efficient Deck Hand (EDH)

EDH is the qualifying examination for an Able Seafarer Deck Certificate. The course and examination must be completed at an MCA approved training provider. You must be at least 17 years old to qualify, a full list of the requirements can be found in MSN 1862.

Able seafarer overview

The Deck Able Seafarer Certificate of Proficiency will allow you to work on board vessels as an able seafarer under regulation II/5.

To qualify for this certificate you’ll need to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have completed at least 18 months sea service in the deck department whilst holding an Navigational Watch Rating (NWR) certificate or 12 months sea service while holding an NWR Certificate if following an MNTB approved programme of education and training
  • have completed the basic safety training and PSC&RB
  • have been assessed as meeting the specified STCW requirements and performance standards
  • hold a valid medical fitness certificate ENG1 or a recognised non UK equivalent. Please read MSN 1815 for details

How to apply

You should apply directly to your local MCA marine office.

Complete application form MSF 4310 Application for a certificate of proficiency as able seafarer regulation II/5.

You’ll need to submit the following items with your application form:

  • discharge book or certificates of discharge (original copies) or yacht service record book
  • STCW basic training certificates
  • efficient deck hand certificate (EDH)
  • certificate of proficiency in survival craft and rescue boat other than fast rescue boats certificate (PSC&RB)
  • valid medical fitness certificate ENG1 or a recognised non UK equivalent
  • the Fee as indicates in the application form

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

Published 1 May 2014
Last updated 13 November 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated with requirement revisions as listed in MSN 1862
  2. First published.