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

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

The underpinning Marine Notices detailing the MCA’s COVID-19 response have now expired and, as such, the associated guidance has been removed.

STCW Review Survey Summary Report

STCW Review Survey Summary Report - Navigation Engineering ETO (PDF, 3.01 MB, 108 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, 234 KB, 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.

For the latest guidance on oral exams, please refer to MIN 675.

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, 160 KB, 17 pages)

Engineer officers written examination syllabus:

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

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

GES I - Chief Engineer Small Vessel (STCW III-2 & V-II) and Second Engineer or Chief Engineer under 3,000 kW (STCW III-3) (PDF, 109 KB, 3 pages)

GES II - Chief Engineer Small Vessel (STCW III-2 & V-II) and Second Engineer or Chief Engineer under 3,000 kW (STCW III-3) (PDF, 111 KB, 4 pages)

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

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

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

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

Deck yacht officers written examination syllabus:

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

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

Engineer yacht and small vessel written examination/course syllabus:

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

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

Approved engine course part 2 (AEC) (PDF, 385 KB, 26 pages)

Small Vessel Engineer written examination/course syllabus:

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

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

Workshop Skills Training (PDF, 780 KB, 19 pages)

Workboat less than 500 GT syllabus:

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

1 day Small Workboat stability course syllabus:

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

For consultation reference

Model Course for Ratings as Able Seafarer Deck (A-II/5) (PDF, 2.79 MB, 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 19 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. The underpinning Marine Notices detailing the MCA's COVID-19 response have now expired and, as such, the associated guidance has been removed.

  2. Workshop Skills Training Added

  3. BML and VTS COVID-19 Guidance removed

  4. Updated the guidance for Vessels having difficulties requiring replacement Medical Stores due to COVID-19

  5. MGN 69 replaced by MIN 653 and 654, Fishing CoC Oral Exam Syllabuses added, updated MIN 620 link.

  6. Syllabuses for GES I & II have been updated with the following: 1. Document split in two, one for GES I and another for GES II. 2. "Fluids at Rest" and "Transverse Stability" modules have been moved to GES II, they are now located in the "Naval Architecture" section. 3. "Units" module removed from GES I "Mechanics" section. 4. "Arithmetic" module removed from GES I "Mathematics" section.

  7. Updated MCA approved SV Training Provider list

  8. Updated: 1) Coronavirus (COVID-19): Contingency Plan and Guidelines for the services provided to Seafarers and Shipowners by the MCA; 2) Coronavirus (COVID-19): Revised medical certification policy information for Merchant Seafarers and Fishermen; 3) Coronavirus (COVID-19): Medical examination policy information for ML5 medical certificate holders; 4) Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for Vessels having difficulties requiring replacement Medical Stores.

  9. Removed: 'Coronavirus (COVID-19): Timeline for Oral Exams and the Issue of New NOEs'

  10. Updated VTS guidance during COVID-19 lockdown

  11. Updated: Coronavirus (COVID-19): MCA approved course delivery and Oral and Written Examination information. New: HNC-only exemptions from Second Engineer III/2 Academic Subjects deadline extended and Short Course reapprovals.

  12. Coronavirus (COVID-19): 'Fishermen's Short Course Requirements' updated

  13. Updated: MCA-approved course delivery, oral exams and written exams during COVID-19 period

  14. Updated PDF - Coronavirus (COVID-19): Contingency Plan and Guidelines for the services provided to Seafarers and Shipowners by the MCA.

  15. Added Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tanker Training Requirements

  16. Have removed outdated document and replaced with link to current MIN (currently MIN 632 Amendment 1)

  17. Updated Guidance for Vessels having difficulties requiring replacement Medical Stores

  18. 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'.

  19. 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.

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

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

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

  23. 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

  24. Added COVID-19: College Exam Assessment Policy

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

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

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

  28. Added COVID-19 ML5 information

  29. Updated Medical Information.

  30. Updated guidance for COVID-19

  31. Updated COVID BML information

  32. Updated VTS COVID information

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

  34. Updated COVID-19 Medical information.

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

  36. Updated COVID-19 Course delivery information.

  37. Added ENG1/ML5 doctor information.

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

  39. COVID-19 information updated

  40. Added COVID-19 section

  41. New AEC 1 & 2 Syllabuses uploaded.

  42. Updated nautical colleges and training providers

  43. Added 1 day Small Workboat Stability Syllabus

  44. Added RN MoUs

  45. SVE examinations updated

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

  47. AEC part 2 file updated.

  48. Oral exam syllabus 'G' added

  49. AEC Part 2 and Master Yacht Syllabus Updated

  50. Attachment updated

  51. Update to Workshop Learning Outcomes

  52. AEC file updated

  53. Updated IAMI Engineering EK Control syllabus

  54. Added Workshop Learning Outcomes and updated AEC 2

  55. Added UK LAP 2

  56. Updated Master and OOW Yacht Syllabuses

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

  58. Added Small vessel Syllabus for Chief and Second Engineer

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

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

  61. AEC Part 2 added.

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

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

  64. Added electro-technical officer oral syllabus

  65. 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

  66. First published.