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
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.
MIN 632 can be found here which contains information relating to the extension of seafarer employment agreements.
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 approvedrunning 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, 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.
- MGN 69 (M) Training and certification guidance – Part 11 – Conduct of MCA Oral examinations
- MCA Oral Examination Syllabus
- MCA Oral Examination Syllabi
- for Chief Mate unlimited tonnage near coastal Reg II/2
- for Master unlimited tonnage near coastal Reg II/2
- for Master less than 3,000 GT, specified area, Reg II/3
- UK Legal and Administrative Processes – Grade 2:
Written examination syllabuses
Deck officers written examination syllabus:
Engineer officers written examination syllabus:
Deck yacht officers written examination syllabus:
Engineer yacht and small vessel written examination/course syllabus:
Small Vessel Engineer written examination/course syllabus:
Workboat less than 500 GT syllabus:
1 day Small Workboat stability course syllabus:
For consultation reference
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:
- 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