We are one of the leading providers of Seafish, SQA, MCA and STCW Commercial Fishing courses in the UK and have been providing training for fishermen for over 25 years. Our experience means that we are able to guide and assist you in the correct choice of courses and provide advice on funding which may be available.
Before you can go to sea you must attend a 1-day Sea Survival Course.
Within 3 months of completing the Sea Survival course, you must complete the following 3 additional 1-day courses;
Alternatively, there is a 3-week course – Introduction to Commercial Fishing – which includes these four mandatory courses and training in the use of fishing gear, catch handling and watchkeeping amongst other things. For full details about the Introduction to Commercial Fishing course, how to register and for upcoming course dates, please click the link above. We run this course twice a year.
On successful completion of all 4 basic safety courses (sometimes referred to as fishermen’s safety training) you can apply for a New Entrant Certificate Photo-ID Card, a credit card sized document which verifies that you hold all 4 certificates.
After completing 6 months of service, you are required to attend a 1-day Safety Awareness course. This course MUST be completed within 2 years of starting fishing.
When you have 2 years of service and have completed all 5 safety courses you are classed as an Experienced Fisherman and can apply for an Experienced Fisherman’s Certificate Photo-ID Card which verifies these requirements.
As an experienced fisherman, you can progress towards the Seafish Under 16.5m Skipper’s Certificate. This is a voluntary qualification which is available at two levels, silver (restricted) and gold (unrestricted).
The Under 16.5m (Silver) Skipper’s Certificate entitles you to take control of a fishing vessel up to 20 miles offshore. To achieve this you must achieve the following additional qualifications;
2-day Stability Awareness (Seafish) (Consists of Stability Awareness for Experienced Fishermen and Advanced Stability Awareness)
2-day Bridge Watchkeeping (Seafish)
2-day Engine Room Watchkeeping (Seafish)
1-day GMDSS SRC (Or higher, we recommend the GMDSS ROC course as a higher level of qualification)
If you wish to achieve the gold (unrestricted) certificate need 2 further qualifications
Vessels over 16.5m
If you serve on a vessel over 16.5m whether as a skipper or a mate, you must hold an MCA Certificate of Competency depending on the areas of operation as follows;
|Fishing Area||Length of Vessel||
– Class 1
|Deck Officer – Class 2||Deck Officer – Class 3|
|Unlimited||40m and over||2||1|
|Limited||30m and over||1||1|
|Limited||24 m or more but under 30m||1||1|
|Limited||16.5m or more but under 24m||1|
Limited qualifications are restricted to the UK limited fishing area.
To achieve an MCA CoC, you must pass an MCA Oral Exam. Once you have fulfilled the sea-service and training requirements and you can then apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NOE) using application form MSF4345 (we can help you with this). Once your NOE has been issued, you can apply for the Oral Exam.
Deck Officer – Class 3 – Fishing
Electronic Navigation Systems (ENS) Fishing
Fisherman’s Safety Training - The 4 basic safety training courses
GMDSS LRC or ROC
Candidates will also need to prove sea service and pass a colour blindness check.
Deck Officer – Class 2 – Fishing
To obtain the Deck Officer - Class 2 - Fishing qualification, you must hold the following certificates;
|STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid||This is a 4 day course which fishing skippers do not need to update this qualifications every 5 years in the same way that merchant navy candidates do|
|Electronic Navigation Systems (ENS) Fishing||This course is still available at some training centres, but has been superseded by the 4-week NAEST (O) course (Navigation Aids, Equipment and Simulator Training) which includes ECDIS.|
|Advanced Fire Fighting||This is a 2-day course which includes the use of fire fighting systems and breathing apparatus. It is not the same as the 4-day STCW advanced course required by Class 1 skippers. Fishing skippers do not need to update every 5 years|
|GMDSS GOC||This 8-day course is the highest level of commercial radio qualification available and will cover you for any radio equipment that you may use|
|Basic Survival Techniques||This is the same as the basic 1-day Sea Survival course. We teach STCW Personal Survival techniques course which fishermen are not required to update every 5 years|
|HELM (O) – Human Element, Leadership & Management||This is a 3-day course covering bridge and crew management|
|Signals Certificate||We teach signals as part of the Class 2 Fishing course|
|SQA Class 2 Fishing Exam Pass||The Class 2 Fishing course covers the subjects needed for the SQA exams. The exams take place every 3 months|
You will also need to prove that you have 3 years sea time in an acceptable deck capacity, including 2 years on vessels over 12m in length, and pass a colour blindness check.
Deck Officer – Class 1 – Fishing
To progress to the Deck Officer – Class 1 – Fishing qualification, you must hold the following certificates in addition to those listed above for the Class 2 ticket.
|STCW Proficiency in Medical Care||This is a 5-day course which must be updated every 5 years|
|Navigation Control Course (Fishing) (NCC)||This course has been superseded by NAEST (M)|
|Advanced Fire Fighting||This is a 4-day STCW course. Fishermen are not required to update it every 5 years|
|SQA Class 1 Fishing Exam Pass||SQA Class 1 fishing exams take place every 3 months|
You will also need to prove that you have the required sea service (see below) and pass a colour blindness check before you can apply for your MCA Oral Exam.
Sea Service Requirements for Class 1 Fishing – This must be completed whilst holding the Deck Officer – Class 2 - Fishing
12 months in fishing vessels over 12m in unlimited waters
12 months in fishing vessels over 12m in limited waters AND 6 months in fishing vessels over 12m in unlimited waters
2 years in fishing vessels in limited waters (at the discretion of the MCA Chief Examiner)
We offer a wide range of fully approved MCA STCW courses for superyacht crew of all levels, from basic safety training to professional short courses for the Master (Yachts), Chief Mate (Yachts) and Officer of the Watch (Yachts) Certificates of Competency.
Everyone wishing to work on a superyacht, regardless of position, needs to complete some basic safety training. Before you can be employed on board, you must complete the following STCW basic safety training courses;
Whilst it is not an MCA requirement, most yachts will require you to hold a security qualification. The basic security course is the STCW Proficiency in Security Awareness. However, If you take any kind of active role in the security of the boat, for example passerelle duty, you will require the STCW Proficiency in Designated Security Duties.
As well as your basic safety training, you will need an ENG1 medical certificate to prove your medical fitness which must be renewed at least every 2 years whatever your function on board or level of seniority. Full details on MCA medical fitness certificates can be found here.
Deck crew only need the STCW basic safety training to be able to work on board, but larger yachts may require you to hold a Yacht Rating Certificate. From here you can progress to an Able Seafarer. Full details on how to achieve these can be found in MSN 1862 Sections 3 to 5.
To obtain an OOW (Yachts) certificate you must be 19 years old and meet the following training and sea service criteria before you can you sit your MCA Oral;
- Hold RYA Yachtmaster Coastal OR IYT Master of Yachts Coastal
- Complete the Yacht Training Record Book (Candidates with 36 months’ Actual Sea Service on yachts over 24m Load Line Length are exempt from this requirement)
- Hold the following MCA qualifications in addition to your STCW basic training
- Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) (Can be taken from the age of 17 and must be held for 18 months before an OOW CoC can be issued, visit the EDH page for a full list of pre-course requirements)
- Navigation & Radar
- General Ship Knowledge (Syllabuses for Nav & Radar and GSK can be found here)
- HELM (O)
- GMDSS GOC (ROC may be sufficient depending on your areas of operation)
- STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats
Sea Service Requirements (Definitions ofd the different types of sea service can be found here)
- Since the age of 16 you must have 36 months’ Onboard Yacht Service.
- 365 days of this service must be made up as follows;
- 250 days of Actual Sea Service (Minimum)
- 115 days of any combination of the following;
- Actual Sea Service
- Stand-by Service
- Yard Service – Up to a maximum of 90 days in total
Once all of these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA OOW (Yachts less than 3,000GT) Oral examination, you can find the full syllabus here and we offer an OOW 3000 oral prep course.
You may apply for your Notice of Eligibility (NOE) before you have completed all of the courses but you should complete them before you apply for your exam date. In any case your CoC will not be issued until you have met all these requirements even if you pass your oral before this time. To apply for your oral exam, or for full details on the application requirements see MSF 4343.
The qualifying requirements for a Chief Mate are very similar to those for OOW 3000, the sea time requirements and oral examination syllabus are exactly the same but you need the following additional qualifications;
- RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and shorebased course completion certificate OR IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited
- STCW Advanced Fire Fighting
- STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid
- STCW HELM (M)
You can apply for your Chief Mate CoC at the same time as your OOW 3000 as long as you meet all the qualifying requirements
To progress to Master (Yachts) 500GT you must have 12 months’ Onboard Yacht Service as a deck officer on vessels over 15m load line length. This must include at least 120 days of watchkeeping service and be served whilst holding your OOW 3000 CoC. (Sea service definitions can be found here).
You also need to complete the following STCW qualifications if not already held;
- STCW Proficiency in Medical Care
- STCW Advanced Fire Fighting
- STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid
- STCW HELM (M)
And complete the following training modules and pass the corresponding IAMI exam;
- Seamanship and Meteorology (Master)
- Stability (Master)
- Business & Law (Master)
- Navigation, Radar & ARPA Simulator
- IAMI Celestial Navigation exam (exam only)
Once all of these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA Master (Yachts) less than 500 GT Oral examination, you can find the syllabus here and we offer a Master (Yachts) 500 oral prep course.
You may apply for your Notice of Eligibility (NOE) once you have completed the relevant sea service. You need not have completed all of the IAMI and STCW qualifications but you should complete them before you apply for your exam date. In any case your CoC will not be issued until you have met all the requirements. To apply for your oral exam, or for full details on the application requirements see MSF 4343.
To progress to Master (Yachts) 3,000GT you must have 24 months’ Onboard Yacht Service as a deck officer on vessels over 15m load line length. This must include at least 240 days of watchkeeping service. Of this 24 months, either 12 months must be completed on vessels over 24m load line length OR 6 months must be completed on vessels over 500 GT. All of this must be served whilst holding your OOW 3000 CoC. (Sea service definitions can be found here).
You must also hold an MCA Master (Yachts) less than 500 GT CoC and an IAMI Celestial Navigation exam pass certificate.
If you do not hold the Master 500 qualification, then you must complete all the relevant STCW short courses and IAMI module as listed above.
Once all of these requirements have been met you can apply for your MCA Master (Yachts) less than 3,000 GT Oral examination, you can find the full syllabus here and we offer a Master (Yachts) 3,000 oral prep course.
You may apply for your Notice of Eligibility (NOE) once you have completed the relevant sea service. You need not have completed all of the IAMI and STCE qualifications but you should complete them before you apply for your exam date. In any case your CoC will not be issued until you have met all the requirements. To apply for your oral exam, or for full details on the application requirements see MSF 4343.
The below terms will be counted in days and months. A day is defined as at least 4 hours of working duty in the deck department in a 24-hour period. A month is a calendar month or 30 days if made up of shorter periods.
Onboard Yacht Service – The time spent on board a yacht from enlistment to discharge regardless of the vessel’s activity.
Actual Sea Service – Time spent at sea, including time at anchor or river and canal transits associated with a passage.
Stand-by Service – Time immediately following a voyage while the vessel is being prepared for the next voyage. Your period of stand-by time cannot be longer than the previous voyage and you cannot count more than 14 days in any one period of stand-by activity.
Yard Service – Time spent during the construction, refit or repair of the vessel.
Sea Service – Includes Actual Sea Service, Stand-by Service and/or Yard Service.
Watchkeeping Service – Actual Sea Service spent in charge of a navigational watch. 4 hours of watchkeeping in a 24-hour period counts as 1 day. You cannot count multiple watches in a single 24-hour period as more than 1 day.
Commercial Maritime News (7)
Certificates can be replaced however there is an administration fee for this of £10.00 per certificate. These will then only be posted to the certificate holders’ address. We cannot give them to a third party. We recommend that you keep your certificates in a safe place and never give your original certificates to anyone. Make copies if required. Contact us to order replacement Certificate or for further details.
MIN 524 (M+F) has been issued today. It sets out and explains the regulatory requirements regarding the implementation of training elements applicable under Chapter III and Article IX of the STCW Convention and Code. It outlines the certification structure and examination and training requirements for engineer officers wanting to work Fishing Vessels, Yachts, Tugs, Workboats, Standby, Seismic Survey, Oceanographic Research and Government Patrol Vessels.
The route for certification is structured to provide a progressive career path for those in the industry to acheive Small Vessel engineer qualifications.
MSN 1859 and the Interim Tug Guidance will run parallel with this MIN until 1st July 2021. This will allow those with Engineering Yacht or Tug Certificates of Competency to complete their training or convert to a Small Vessel Certificate of Competancy. You will still be able to revalidate existing Engineering Yacht or Tug restricted Certificates of Competancy after this date.
Hazel Bennett is celebrating 25 years with Plymouth-based Western Maritime Training Ltd, running a wide range of licensed courses for the modern maritime industry.
As training manager, Hazel has seen vast changes within the industry and its training provision, from the early days of only using paper charts through to today's high-tech bridge simulators.
Hazel said: "The industry has changed completely since I started. Levels of professionalism and safety on board boats have risen and hopefully my role has contributed to that.
"It is an industry that is a lot more highly regulated nowadays and more professional because of it. Everyone needs to be certificated for tasks on board that they would not have needed to be in previous years."
She added: "The new generation of fishermen have become very safety conscious.
"As well as the regulated mandatory qualifications there are also voluntary training programmes schemes, which a lot of fishermen have taken up. This is great because it has helped raise standards and safety awareness.
"It is not a business you can make a lot of money out of but that's not the point. We are here to help people access safety training and make the whole point of being at sea safer."
Travel the length and breadth of Devon and Cornwall and you'll find several generations of seafarers who Hazel has organised training for including fishermen, workboat crews, ferry crews and merchant navy crew.
She has also been instrumental in managing several large projects over the years.
Since she started she has won £42,000 worth of funding from the Training and Enterprise Council to produce a safety video 'Fighting The Odds'.
The video, which follows a disaster on board a fishing vessel, is still being used today across the world to train in sea safety.
In addition, nearly half a million pounds was awarded to Western Maritime Training Ltd to help Skippers' qualifications for the whole of the South West. After that more funds to train marine engineers in Newlyn were received.
Hazel is also continuously fighting for funding to help support those in the maritime industry get the additional training they need.
With most of those working in the industry being self-employed, giving up time valuable for extra training not only costs money but also results in no wage by not being at sea.
Hazel, one of two directors of Western Maritime Training Ltd, says that looking back over the last 25 years working in what is essentially a male-dominated environment has been plain sailing.
She added: "I've been doing it for so long now I don't really notice, so for me it's been great. The people are easy to work with and it's a very professional environment because at the end of the day, their training could save lives.
"Each year has brought a difference challenge. It is quite dynamic and people orientated and I have followed people right throughout their careers, from their first jobs at sea to becoming officers in merchant navy. And I hope to help many more in the future."
Western Maritime Training Ltd provides an extensive range of courses at all levels across the maritime industry and new courses are planned for later this year.
Training is provided at its base in Crownhill Fort using the company's £600,000, 270 degree bridge simulator.
This enables students to take 'control' of any type of vessel located anywhere in the world in all kinds of weather conditions and under a range of scenarios.
The Marine Society is dedicated to professionally developing seafarers, helping them to learn new skills, gain accredited qualifications and realise their full potential. The charity offers financial assistance including scholarships to seafarers to support their professional development at all levels.
On behalf of Nautilus International, The Marine Society administers the John William Slater Scholarship for ratings (deck or engine room) aspiring to their first officer of the watch certificate of competency and assists electro technical officers and yacht crew to gain STCW 2010 certification. If you would like to apply for these courses and you are not supported by a shipping company, or you are self or part funding your studies you may be able to apply for this scholarship worth up to £17,000.
For more information visit: www.marine-society.org/slater-scholarship
What is changing?
The STCW Convention 1978 has been amended by the 2010 Manila Amendments and contains new requirements for all seafarers. Seafarers revalidating their Certificates of Competency (CoC) will be required to submit additional evidence to ensure their Certificate is valid for service on certain types of ships after 31 December 2016.
The 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Code bring in the requirement for Deck Officers working onboard ships fitted with an Electronic Chart Display Information System (ECDIS) to undergo specific education and training. As of 1 January 2012 seafarers requiring revalidation of UK CoCs issued in compliance with STCW Regulation II/1, II/2 and II/3 (maintain a safe navigational watch; use of ECDIS to maintain safety of navigation; and maintain the safety of navigation through the use of ECDIS and associated navigation systems to assist command decision making) need to comply with the new STCW requirements to ensure their CoC remains valid on ships fitted with ECDIS after 31 December 2016.
For the revalidation of UK CoC valid after 31 December 2016, the seafarer must have completed one of the following: 1. MCA approved Navigation Radar and ARPA Simulator (NARAS)/ Navigation Aids and Equipment and Simulator Training (NAEST) (Operational Level) course completed on or after 1January 2005; or 2. MCA approved NARAS/ NAEST (management level) course completed on or after 1 January 2005; or 3. MCA approved ECDIS course completed on or after 1 January 2005; or An ECDIS simulator training course in compliance with the current IMO Model Course 1.27 and accepted by the MCA for the purpose of CoC revalidation only.
Western Training Provides NARAS, NAEST and ECDIS courses.
For further information please read MIN 494
A change to the UK MCA’s ECDIS training requirements has now been published. MIN 503 “Training for ECDIS as Primary Means of Navigation”, replaces MIN 442 and keeps the same generic training requirements but alters the Equipment/Type Specific training requirements.
The relevant section reads: 3.1
ECDIS ship specific equipment training for Deck Officers must relate to the make and model of the equipment fitted onboard the ship which they are currently serving. The decision on how to deliver ship specific training is now the responsibility of the ship owner or operator. They must take into account their responsibilities in accordance with ISM code (specifically sections 6.3 and 6.5) and also the STCW convention, Regulation I/14 – 5.
Published 21 April 2015 by Maritime Coastguard Agency
Commercial Fishing Course List
Introduction to Commercial Fishing - Seafish - 3-weeks - Includes all 4 of the basic training courses.
Vessels Under 16.5m
Under 16.5m Skipper's Ticket (Currently via Seafish Online training, contact us for details)
Watchkeeping and Navigation - Seafish - 5-days - RYA Yachtmaster Offshore accepted as an alternative
Vessels Over 16.5m
Class 2 MCA CoC
Superyacht Course List