Deck training & qualifications

So you have completed your STCW95 modules, you've walked the docks and you are now working as a junior deckand onboard a yacht.  Now what?  Well, the first thing you should consider is to document your sea time and the most effective way of doing this is by keeping records of your sea service in a discharge book .

Sea service can be recorded using:

  1. Merchant Navy Discharge Book (Seaman’s Book)
  2. Certificates of Discharge from ship
  3. Professional Yachtsmen’s Service Record Book  PYA Service Record Book
  4. MCA approved Seaman’s Discharge Book  MCA form 4509 for Service Record Book

The above needs to be supported by signed testimonials from Owners, Masters, Chief Engineers or Management Companies.

In order to record you sea time correctly, you will need to be familiar with the following definitions of service, (as listed in MSN1802):

  1. Onboard Yacht Service: Time spent signed on a yacht irrespective of the yachts activity.
  2. Actual Sea Service: Time spent at sea which may also include time at anchor or river and canal transits associated with a passage.
  3. Stand-by Service: Time moored whist fully crewed, victualled, fuelled and stored ready to proceed to sea.
  4. Yard Service: Time when standing by a build, refit or repair
  5. Sea Service: Is a combination of Actual Sea Service, Stand-by Service and/or Yard Service
  6. Watchkeeping Service: Acutal Sea Service spent as a Watchkeeping Officer in full charge of a navigational watch for not less than 8 out of every 24 hours whilst the vessel is engaged on a voyage.

You have now made up your mind that yachting is the career path that you would like to follow, and in order to make this a successful career and to progress up the ranks of Yacht Rating, Officer of the Watch (OOW), Chief Mate and then Master (Master 500 & Master 3000) you will need to consider doing courses.

Yacht Rating:

To qualify as a yacht rating, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  1. 16 years of age or older
  2. 6 months Yacht Service (including 2 months sea service) on a vessel with a load line length of 15 meters or greater
  3. Completion of the Yacht Training Record book.  Please find more information on the Record Book and Yacht Rating Training & Certification in MGN 270
  4. Completion of the following training modules:
    1. Personal Survival Techniques OR RYA Basic Sea Survival (STCW A-VI / 1-1)
    2. Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW A-VI / 1-2)
    3. Elementry First Aid (STCW A-VI / 1-3)
    4. Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (STCW A-VI / 1-4)

An application for a Yacht Rating Certificate should be made on form MSF 4340.  With regard to filling in your Yacht Training Record Book (example of MCA Traing Record Book) it should be noted that this should be completed over a reasonable period.  The MCA will not accept you filling this in over a too short a period.  Training may be spread across different yachts but it remains the responsibility of the master of the final vessel to establish that the required standards have been met.

You will need to include the following with your application to the MCA:

  1. The completed application form
  2. Birth certificate or passport
  3. Evidence of Service
  4. Sea Service Testimonials
  5. Valid Medical Fitness Certificate (ENG1) or equivalent ML5 if applicable
  6. STCW basic training certificates
  7. The appropriate fee.

Officer of the Watch (OOW):

The next rank onboard that you will be aiming towards will be your Officer of the Watch and to this you will need to be 19 years of age or older and have completed a minimum of 36 months onboard yacht service .  Within this 36 months of onboard yacht service you will need to log 365 days of Sea Service which must include 250 days of Actual Sea Service

The balance of 115 days may comprise of:
Actual Sea Service
Standby Service to a maximum of 14 consecutive days in one period.  If you are going to log futher standby service you can only do this once the vessel returns from going to sea on a passage.
Yard Service to a maximum of 90 days continuously.

As you have progressed from a Yacht Rating, you will have completed the four elements of STCW basic training , but in addition to this, you will be required to complete the Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSC&RB STCW A-V1/2-1) or Advanced Sea Survival for Yachtsmen.

In addition to the above, you will also need to hold the following certificates:

  1. Yacht Master Offshore
  3. Navigation & Radar (OOW Yachts) including a pass certificate from a recommended training institution
  4. General Ships Knowledge module (OOW Yachts) including a pass certificate from a recommended training institution

You will then need to sit your OOW oral examination.  For further information on the OOW Oral Examination please see Annex H in MSN 1802.

Chief Mate:

Once you have obtained your OOW, you can plan to move up to you Chief Mate's ticket.  You will need to be in posession of your Advanced Firefighting (STCW A-V1/3).  You will also need to have completed you Yachtaster Ocean (Shore-based and CoC).  The Shore-based module is a theoretical course that covers astronavigation and world meteorology.  

If you meet all these requirements at the time of undertaking your OOW, you CoC will automatically reflect Chief Mate when you receive it. 

Master (Yachts less than 500gt):

Info to follow

Master (Yachts less than 3000gt):

Info to follow




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