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
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.
Nautical colleges and training providers
Find contact details for Training providers (PDF, 242KB, 3 pages) running courses leading to a UK Certificate of Competency (CoC).
Nautical colleges, yacht deck training providers and small vessel engineer training providers
Find contact details for MCA approved Training providers (PDF, 242KB, 3 pages) running courses leading to a UK Certificate of Competency (CoC).
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.
- MGN 69 (M) Training and certification guidance – Part 11 – Conduct of MCA Oral examinations
- Electro-technical officer (ETO) (PDF, 260KB, 5 pages) MCA Oral Examination Syllabus
- Small Vessel (SV) Engineer (PDF, 130KB, 5 pages) MCA Oral Examination Syllabi
- Oral exam syllabus ‘F’ (PDF, 171KB, 4 pages) for Chief Mate unlimited tonnage near coastal Reg II/2
- Oral exam syllabus ‘H' (PDF, 175KB, 5 pages) for Master less than 3,000 GT, specified area, Reg II/3
- UK Legal and Administrative Processes - Grade 2: UK LAP 2 (PDF, 293KB, 3 pages)
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 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, 599KB, 29 pages)
Master yacht written examination syllabus (PDF, 688KB, 49 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, 282KB, 4 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)
Workshop Learning Outcomes (PDF, 213KB, 2 pages)
Workboat less than 500 GT syllabus:
Workboat less than 500 GT syllabus (PDF, 153KB, 4 pages)
For consultation reference
Model Course for Ratings as Able Seafarer Deck (A-II/5) (PDF, 2.79MB, 157 pages)
External maritime organisations
Find links below to various organisations that can provide further information on nautical training, for example:
- Association of Marine Electronics and Radio Colleges(AMERC) - a network of colleges, universities and private organisations providing courses and consultancies in marine radio and electronics
- International Association of Marine Institutions (IAMI) - providing education and training for personnel in the merchant navy, towing and fishing industries
- International Yacht Training Worldwide -international body for boating, including yachts, power vessels, dinghies etc.
- Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) - leading international membership body and learned society for marine professionals.
- Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) - the shipping industry’s central body for promoting and developing seafarer education, training and skills
- UK NARIC - national agency providing information and advice about vocational, academic and professional skills and qualifications
- Royal Institute of Naval Architecture (RINA) - internationally renowned professional institution involved in design, construction, maintenance and operation of marine vessels and structures
- Royal Yachting Association (RYA) - national body for boating, including dinghy and yacht racing, powerboat racing and windsurfing
- Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) - national accreditation and awarding body in Scotland
- Seafish - the UK’s only cross-industry seafood body working with fishers, processors, wholesalers, seafood farmers, fish friers, caterers, retailers and the import/export trade
Published: 6 May 2014
Updated: 22 May 2017
- Added Workshop Learning Outcomes and updated AEC 2
- Added UK LAP 2
- Updated Master and OOW Yacht Syllabuses
- Added consultation reference for Model Course for Ratings as Able Seafarer Deck (A-II/5)
- Added Small vessel Syllabus for Chief and Second Engineer
- Added Small Vessel (SV) Engineer MCA Oral Examination Syllabus
- Added Management Level (III/2) Academic Syllabus and Management Level (III/2) Engineering Knowledge (EK) Examinations
- AEC Part 2 added.
- Amended AEC Course and added Oral Exam H and F Syllabi
- Added Engineer yacht officers written examination syllabus: SQA Yacht Engineering Syllabus Approved Engine Course (AEC)
- Added electro-technical officer oral syllabus
- 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
- First published.