Working at sea – guidance

UK seafarer careers: training provision, information and examination syllabuses

Training for seafarers including, career information, written and oral exam syllabuses and details for nautical colleges and training centres

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 and training providers

Find contact details for Training providers (PDF, 230KB, 2 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, Falmouth, Glasgow, Hull (Beverley), Liverpool, Newcastle (Tyne), Norwich, Plymouth and Southampton.

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, 257KB, 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 and master yacht written examination syllabus (PDF, 395KB, 53 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, 232KB, 6 pages)

Approved engine course part 2 (AEC) (PDF, 425KB, 6 pages)

Small Vessel Engineer written examination/course syllabus:

Small Vessel Second Engineer Syllabus (PDF, 372KB, 14 pages)

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

Workboat less than 500 GT syllabus:

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

External maritime organisations

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