Guidance

UK seafarer careers: COVID-19 guidance, training provision, information and examination syllabuses

Training for seafarers including, an COVID-19 update, career information, written and oral exam syllabuses and details for nautical colleges and training centres

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) collect and retain personal information provided on the medical examination of seafarers report form (ENG 2) the seafarer medical examination notice of failure/restriction (ENG 3), the certificate of medical fitness (ENG 1), and any seafarer medical report forms (ML5), which are referred to MCA for assessment.

We will use this information to fulfil our duties as stated in the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2010 (which implement the UK’s international obligations under Maritime Labour Convention, 2006), the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (C.188) and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW).

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Contingency Plan and Guidelines for Seafarers

Please see the documents below for the MCA’s response and advice to industry on areas of operation which may be affected by COVID-19.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Contingency Plan and Guidelines for the services provided to Seafarers and Shipowners by the MCA. (PDF, 96.6KB, 5 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (PDF, 63KB, 3 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): MCA approved course delivery and Oral and Written Examination information (PDF, 138KB, 3 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): College Exam Assessment Policy (PDF, 122KB, 2 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Timeline for Oral Exams and the Issue of New NOEs (PDF, 36.9KB, 3 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for revalidation of Boatmasters' Licences, issue of Discharge books and Ships Cook Certificates of Competency (PDF, 97.5KB, 2 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Contingency Plan and Guidelines for the services provided to VTS Centres and VTS Operators by the MCA. (PDF, 55.7KB, 1 page)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Fishermen's Short Course Requirements (PDF, 121KB, 2 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Revised medical certification policy information for Merchant Seafarers and Fishermen (PDF, 105KB, 4 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Medical examination policy information for ML5 medical certificate holders. (PDF, 106KB, 2 pages)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for Vessels having difficulties requiring replacement Medical Stores (PDF, 129KB, 2 pages)

Foundation degrees

Deck and engineer officers can study in areas of marine operation and marine engineering. Study programmes include studying for the officer of the watch (OOW) seafarer qualification. Courses cover management competencies as well as technical content. Foundation degrees are not available in Scotland but you can study equivalent programmes for merchant navy qualifications. These cover the same content as the foundation degree.

Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC) certificates

HND and HNC qualifications lead to a UK Certificate of Competency (CoC). Those issued by Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) and Edexel must be completed in an MCA approved training centre if they are being used towards gaining a CoC. In some cases there are collaborative schemes with overseas colleges where the qualifications are gained through an approved UK training centre – these are known as 1+1 schemes.

Careers at sea – merchant navy opportunities

Find more information about entry routes and training below.

Careers at Sea leaflet Visit the Careers at sea website.

Nautical colleges, yacht deck training providers and small vessel engineer training providers

Find contact details for MCA approved Training providers (PDF, 144KB, 4 pages) running courses leading to a UK Certificate of Competency (CoC).

Training centres

MCA-approved training centres deliver STCW short/ancillary training courses such as:

  • advanced fire fighting
  • ship security officer training
  • specialised tanker training

Find contact details for MCA approved training providers (ATP) running specific courses.

UK marine offices

Telephone and fax numbers for all UK Marine Offices and locations on a map. Opening hours are listed where available. Oral Exams can be taken at Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff, Colchester, Falmouth, Glasgow, Hull (Beverley), Liverpool, Newcastle (Tyne), Plymouth and Southampton.

For the latest guidance on oral exams during the COVID-19 lockdown, please refer to MIN 620.

Oral exam syllabuses

Deck and engineer officers sit oral exams to gain their certificates of competency. Find the syllabuses in the marine guidance note below.

Written examination syllabuses

Deck officers written examination syllabus:

OOW and chief mate navigation and stability syllabus examination syllabus (SQA) (PDF, 160KB, 17 pages)

Engineer officers written examination syllabus:

Engineer officer of the watch IAMI A & B syllabus (PDF, 235KB, 4 pages)

Engineer officer of the watch engineering knowledge (EK) examination syllabus (PDF, 408KB, 10 pages)

Second engineer <3000kW, class 1 fishing engineer, yacht 2 chief engineer (Y2), general engineering science I &II (PDF, 238KB, 19 pages)

Second engineer written examination syllabus (PDF, 412KB, 50 pages)

Chief engineer written examination syllabus (PDF, 653KB, 61 pages)

Management Level (III/2) Academic Syllabus (PDF, 419KB, 27 pages)

Management Level (III/2) Engineering Knowledge (EK) Examinations (PDF, 111KB, 5 pages)

Deck yacht officers written examination syllabus:

OOW yacht written examination syllabus (PDF, 1020KB, 30 pages)

Master yacht written examination syllabus (PDF, 1.07MB, 54 pages)

Engineer yacht and small vessel written examination/course syllabus:

SQA yacht engineering syllabus (PDF, 266KB, 26 pages)

Approved engine course part 1 (AEC) (PDF, 315KB, 23 pages)

Approved engine course part 2 (AEC) (PDF, 358KB, 26 pages)

Small Vessel Engineer written examination/course syllabus:

Small Vessel Second Engineer Syllabus (PDF, 163KB, 13 pages)

Small Vessel Chief Engineer Syllabus (PDF, 430KB, 11 pages)

Workshop Learning Outcomes (PDF, 341KB, 2 pages)

Workboat less than 500 GT syllabus:

Workboat less than 500 GT syllabus (PDF, 153KB, 4 pages)

1 day Small Workboat stability course syllabus:

1 day MCA Small Workboat Stability course syllabus (PDF, 40.7KB, 1 page)

For consultation reference

Model Course for Ratings as Able Seafarer Deck (A-II/5) (PDF, 2.79MB, 157 pages)

Royal Naval MoUs

The MCA has memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the Royal Navy regarding converting to gain civilian certification. These are shown in Flowcharts detailed below:

External maritime organisations

Find links below to various organisations that can provide further information on nautical training, for example:

Published 6 May 2014
Last updated 5 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated the 'Coronavirus (COVID-19): Revised medical certification policy information for Merchant Seafarers and Fishermen' and 'Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for Vessels having difficulties requiring replacement Medical Stores'.

  2. Removed Norwich as an exam centre and added Colchester. Also, added link to MIN 620 (latest guidance on oral exams during the COVID-19 lockdown) in UK marine offices section.

  3. Updated 'Nautical colleges, yacht deck training providers and small vessel engineer training providers'

  4. Timeline for Oral Exams and the Issue of New NOEs added

  5. Updated: MCA Approved Course Delivery, Written Exams an Oral Exams During COVID -19 Period

  6. Updated Coronavirus (COVID-19): Contingency Plan and Guidelines for the services provided to Seafarers and Shipowners by the MCA. Added: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Maritime Labour Convention 2006

  7. Added COVID-19: College Exam Assessment Policy

  8. Updated COVID-19: MCA approved course delivery and Oral and Written Examination information Added COVID-19: Guidance for Vessels having difficulties replacing medical stores

  9. Updated COVID Notices for BML, Ships Cook and Discharge Books. Added COVID Notice for Fishermen's Short Course Requirements

  10. Updated: Revised medical fitness certificate policy during COVID-19 pandemic information for Merchant Seafarers and Fishermen

  11. Added COVID-19 ML5 information

  12. Updated Medical Information.

  13. Updated guidance for COVID-19

  14. Updated COVID BML information

  15. Updated VTS COVID information

  16. Added COVID-19 information for BML, Ships Cooks, VTS and Discharge Books.

  17. Updated COVID-19 Medical information.

  18. Updated COVID-19: MCA approved course delivery and Oral and Written Examination information

  19. Updated COVID-19 Course delivery information.

  20. Added ENG1/ML5 doctor information.

  21. Added information on MCA Approved Course Delivery During COVID -19 Period

  22. COVID-19 information updated

  23. Added COVID-19 section

  24. New AEC 1 & 2 Syllabuses uploaded.

  25. Updated nautical colleges and training providers

  26. Added 1 day Small Workboat Stability Syllabus

  27. Added RN MoUs

  28. SVE examinations updated

  29. Updated SVE 2/Eng Syllabi regarding Auxiliary Equipment and Operational Procedures & Basic Hotel Services

  30. AEC part 2 file updated.

  31. Oral exam syllabus 'G' added

  32. AEC Part 2 and Master Yacht Syllabus Updated

  33. Attachment updated

  34. Update to Workshop Learning Outcomes

  35. AEC file updated

  36. Updated IAMI Engineering EK Control syllabus

  37. Added Workshop Learning Outcomes and updated AEC 2

  38. Added UK LAP 2

  39. Updated Master and OOW Yacht Syllabuses

  40. Added consultation reference for Model Course for Ratings as Able Seafarer Deck (A-II/5)

  41. Added Small vessel Syllabus for Chief and Second Engineer

  42. Added Small Vessel (SV) Engineer MCA Oral Examination Syllabus

  43. Added Management Level (III/2) Academic Syllabus and Management Level (III/2) Engineering Knowledge (EK) Examinations

  44. AEC Part 2 added.

  45. Amended AEC Course and added Oral Exam H and F Syllabi

  46. Added Engineer yacht officers written examination syllabus: SQA Yacht Engineering Syllabus Approved Engine Course (AEC)

  47. Added electro-technical officer oral syllabus

  48. MIN (M) 470 The Government Support for Maritime Training Scheme (SMarT) - Additional Funding £3 million has been replaced by MIN (M) 486 The Government Support for Maritime Training Scheme (SMarT) - Additional Funding £3 million

  49. First published.