Commercial Fishing

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) 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.

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) 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)

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