Special training for ratings and officers

You may need special training if you work on certain types of ship.

Ratings and officers may need special training before working on:

  • tankers
  • high-speed craft (including hovercraft)
  • passenger ships


If you’re a rating with cargo handling duties or an officer on a tanker, you must complete either:

  • at least 3 months sea-going service on tankers
  • a tanker familiarisation training programme
  • at least 30 days service on a tanker of less than 3,000 gross tonnes on voyages of not more than 72 hours

Officers responsible for cargo operations need extra training and a tanker endorsement.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has information on the special training required for work on tankers.

High-speed craft

If you’re a master or officer on a high-speed craft, you must complete training in:

  • the craft’s propulsion and control systems
  • its handling characteristics
  • communication and navigation procedures
  • handling the craft in the event of severe weather conditions or damage

You may also have to take specialist training if you’re a rating or an engineer on a high-speed craft, depending on the work you do.

The MCA has more detailed information on the special training required for work on high-speed craft.

Passenger ships

If you’re working on a passenger ship you must complete training in:

  • crowd management
  • awareness of life-saving appliances and control plans
  • how to help passengers to muster and embarkation station

If you provide direct service to passengers, you must complete additional training in:

  • embarkation procedures and special assistance
  • how to communicate effectively with passengers
  • how to use personal life-saving appliances

If you have responsibility for the safety of passengers in emergency situations and for cargo safety and hull integrity then you must complete training in:

  • crisis management and human behaviour
  • loading and embarkation procedures
  • carriage of dangerous goods and securing of cargo
  • stability trim and stress calculations

The MCA has information on the special training required for work on passenger ships.