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Workboats come in many different shapes and sizes. The most common requirement for operating a sea-going workboat is the MCA Master Code Vessels Under 200GT CoC, you can find the full details for obtaining a Master 200 qualification here. A sea-going vessel is defined as one which leaves categorised (sheltered) waters. There is a full list of all the UK’s categorised waters in MSN 1837.

Sometimes a higher level of qualification is required to operate a workboat. For example the skippers of windfarm support vessels in Germany are often required to hold a Master 500, or even a Master 3000. Full details of the requirements for a Master 500 CoC can be found here, and Master 3000 here.

Boatmaster’s Licence (BML)

If you are operating a vessel that does not go to sea, or that only makes short coastal passages, the requirement is for you to hold a BML. The BML is valid for vessels operating no more than 5 miles from land which are never more than 15 miles from their point of arrival or departure. The BML can be used on any vessel which does not exceed these limits, including vessels carrying up to 250 passengers. The full list of the types of vessel for which a BML is suitable is listed here.

There are four levels of BML available and are shown in the table below.
Generic BML Type/Level  Level 1  Level 2 
Tier 1 National licence for non-tidal waters. Categories A,B & non-linked C National licence for sheltered waters, Categories A-D, and limited coastal waters.
Tier 2 Restricted Licence valid for specific areas in waters of any category Restricted licence valid for all Category A canals and specified areas of Category A,B or C
The BML also requires specialist endorsements for which you need experience in the relevant field.

The endorsements are:- Passenger, Towing, Oil, Chemical, Gas, Ro-Ro and Fast Craft. In addition, to operate in certain areas, for example the Thames or the Severn Estuary, you need a Local Knowledge Endorsement to demonstrate that you understand the hazards and regulations associated with your area of operation.

Full details of the requirements for obtaining a BML can be found in MSN 1853, we can provide assistance in identifying your specific requirements.

If you wish to apply for a first BML you must;Workboats

Meet the minimum age requirements
Have completed the required sea time
Present a completed Work Record Book (MSF 4366)
Hold the relevant Ancillary Safety Training certificates
       Personal Survival
       Fire Safety
       First Aid
Present a completed Training Record Book (MSF 4367)
Hold a valid medical certificate, ML5.
An ENG1 is also suitable but needs renewing more often. (Details of Medical certificates can be found here)
Pass a boat handling test.
Complete assessments in the relevant Maritime Studies Qualifications OR
Pass an MCA Oral Examination. Tier 1, Level 1 syllabus here, Tier 1, Level 2 syllabus here.

You can apply for a BML using form MSF 4364.

Workboats - Course List

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