Support for maritime training (SMarT)

Support for maritime training (SMarT) funding is available for merchant navy training until March 2019.

The MCA uses any information we collect about you when your sponsoring company claims for the government funded support for maritime training (SMarT) on your behalf.

Government funded support for maritime training (SMarT) is administered on behalf of the MCA by the administering body (AB), currently MaTSU. MaTSU is not a policy making body but has an executive role in ensuring that the scheme is operated effectively. MaTSU approves the payment of public funding to approved training providers (sponsoring companies) to support the costs of approved training.

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 the MCA personal information charter page.


The Government’s Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme has been running since April 1998 and supports courses approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) for the training of officers, officer cadets and ratings. The Government’s principal objective in supporting merchant navy training is to facilitate an adequate supply of UK maritime expertise to meet the nation’s economic and strategic requirements.

SMarT is currently administered on behalf of the MCA by MaTSU, an independent unit of Ricardo-AEA. The budget is held by MCA, whilst MaTSU provides the funding direct to training providers and conducts audits to ensure compliance.

Initially there were five SMarT categories (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). These funded training towards a first and second certificate of competency, watch rating training and also rating to officer conversions and conversions from STCW ‘78 to STCW ‘78, as amended (‘95). More information can be found in MGN 455 (M).

In financial year 2011 to 2012 following an announcement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mike Penning) the SMarT categories were rationalized to just three categories SMarT 1, 3 and 5. A fixed annual budget of £12 million was announced until 31 March 2015 to support maritime training. The majority of this money was focused on supporting initial training for cadets studying at junior officer level (SMarT 1).

On 9 September 2013 the Transport Secretary, Mr Patrick McLoughlin, announced that the SMarT budget, over the Spending Review period to the end of March 2016, would receive an increase of up to £3 million a year. This is in recognition of the importance of sustaining the UK’s skills base for this important sector. This has enabled the reintroduction of SMarT 2 and increased the scope of SMarT 3 funding to help with the costs of additional ancillary training courses. There are currently four categories of SMarT (1, 2, 3 and 5), more information can be found in MGN 455 (M), MIN 466 (M) and MIN 486 (M).

Who can claim?

SMarT coversup to 50% of actual training costs and is paid to the training providers (shipping companies) who sponsor the trainees, not to individuals or colleges. SMarT funding is available for MNTB and MCA approved merchant training programmes and centres. Eligible Shipping Companies (TPs) must apply to become a TP within SMarT before they are able to claim for eligible trainees.

Unemployed seafarers wishing to train as either a Rating or who is a Rating and wishes to become an Officer, may apply for funding through the Merchant Navy Training Provider. More details can be found in MGN 455 (M) section 14.

SMarT M Notices

  • MIN 486 (M) The Government Support for Maritime Training Scheme (SMarT) - Additional Funding £3 million

  • MIN 466 (M) The Government Support for Maritime Training Scheme (SMarT) - Additional Guidance valid until 31 March 2015

  • MGN 455 (M) Guidance valid from 1 August 2012 until 31 March 2015.

Contacting the SMarT team

For more information contact the administrative body (MaTSU) at:

The SMarT Administrator
The Gemini Building
Fermi Avenue
OX11 0QR

Tel: 01235 753244

You can also contact SMarT at MCA:

SMarT Team
Seafarer Training and Certification
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
105 Commercial Road
SO15 1EG

Tel: 02380 329183/381/280

For training queries not related to SMarT you will need to contact the relevant seafarer training and certification team

Published 5 September 2014
Last updated 1 February 2018 + show all updates
  1. Date in summary updated

  2. Changed the contact email for the administrative body.

  3. First published.