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Commercial Fishing Courses - Introduction to Fishing, Fire Fighting, Health and Safety, Safety Awareness

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.

New Entrant Fisherman - Compulsory training and the Introduction to Commercial Fishing course

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;New Entrant Fisherman

Health & Safety - (Seafish)
Fire Fighting (MCA)
First Aid (STCW)

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.

Experienced Fishermen – Under 16.5m Skipper

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 Under 16.5m Fishing Skippergold (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

5-day Bridge Watchkeeping (RYA Yachtmaster Offshore CoC Accepted as an alternative)
5-day Engine Room Watchkeeping (MCA 30 Hour Applied Engine Course (AEC))

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 

Deck Officer

– Class 1

Deck Officer – Class 2 Deck Officer – Class 3
 Unlimited  40m and over 2 1  
 Unlimited  Under 40m 1 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.

The training and qualification requirements for each Certificate are as follows;

Deck Officer – Class 3 – Fishing

Electronic Navigation Systems (ENS) Fishing

Fisherman’s Safety Training - The 4 basic safety training courses
Signals Certificate

Candidates will also need to prove sea service and pass a colour blindness check.

N.B. Currently we do not offer the Class 3 fishing certificate as there is only a very small requirement, we recommend that you should consider the Deck Officer Class 2 as an alternative

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)
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.

When you have completed all of the above then you can apply for the MCA oral examination.

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) What should I write here, Hazel?
ENS Fishing 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)

Commercial Maritime News

Commercial Maritime News (7)

Tuesday, 28 November 2017 14:03

Replacement Certificates

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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.   

PLEASE NOTE - The MCA are currently issuing Deck Notice of Eligibilities (NOEs) 6 weeks from the date the application is received. If you need your application to be expedited, please request your company or nautical college email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and explain the reason and time scale you require your NOE to be issued by.

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.


Friday, 22 April 2016 13:38

Helping to keep Mariners safe for 25 years

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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.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014 21:38

JW Slater Scholarship for ratings

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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:

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 21:33

STCW 2010 (Manila Amendments)

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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

Tuesday, 23 June 2015 21:09

A change to ECDIS requirements by the MCA

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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.

MIN_503 – ecdis

Published 21 April 2015 by Maritime Coastguard Agency

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