FAQs (MCA & STCW Training)

FAQs MCA Deck Officer Training

What is STCW and how does it effect me?

The International Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) is legally binding for signatory countries. The convention gives minimum legal standards for qualifications and training at sea, in short Captains, Mates, Watchkeepers, Engineers and Crew must complete this training.

Do I need STCW?

Yes, you are legally required to hold appropriate STCW qualifications to work on boats over 24m.

What is a Notice of Eligibility?

Before attending your final orals examination you must prove your eligibility to hold the Certificate of Competence. By completing form MSF 4343 for Masters, Chief Mates and Deck Officers / MSF 4278 for Engineer Officers together with proof of your sea time and experience to the MCA you will receive a notice of eligibility.

I have overseas qualifications, are they acceptable?

The MCA recognise some overseas qualifications, known as equivalencies. Some are accepted outright and some require additional training. You will need to apply for a Certificate of Equivalent Competency. You can do so by downloading and completing application form MSF 4203. Please consult the following Marine Guidance Notice MGN 221 (M) part 19 for a Merchant Navy application or MGN 220 (F) part 20 for a Fishing application. You will also need to check Marine Information Note (MIN) 163 (M & F) as this contains some recent changes to the requirements for obtaining a Certificate of Equivalent Competency.

Master 200gt is non-mandatory, what does that mean?

The Master 200gt is a STCW certificate designed as a bridging qualification between the RYA Yachtmaster and MCA Deck Officer Structure. The RYA Yachtmaster allows you to work either on vessels up to 24m or British registered vessels up to 200gt. Some overseas administrations do not recognise Yachtmaster qualifications without STCW endorsements. Master 200gt will enable students to overcome this problem.

What evidence do I need of sea time?

It is your responsibility to prove your record of yacht service and collect any testimonials from previous owners and captains. Anybody commencing Officer of the Watch training will need to present this information in a Training Record Book. If you are completing Yacht Rating Training you will need to complete a Yacht Rating Task Book.


Can I start Deck Officer Training before I have the required sea time?

Yes. When you complete a module you will receive a course completion certificate which will have a three year validity, meaning you will need to finish the training modules and sit an oral exam within these three years. Failing to do so will result in the course completion certificate becoming invalid and you will then need to retake and expired modules.

What are the Service definitions?

  • Onboard Yacht Service is the time spent signed on a yacht irrespective of the vessel’s activity.
  • Actual Sea Service is time spent at sea which may include time at anchor or river and canal transits associated with a passage.
  • Stand-by Service is time moored whilst fully crewed, victualled, fuelled and stored ready to proceed safely to sea.
  • Yard Service is time when standing by a build, refit or repair.
  • Sea Service includes a combination of Actual Sea Service, Stand-by Service and/or Yard Service.
  • Watchkeeping Service is Actual Sea Service spent as a Watchkeeping Officer in full charge of a navigational watch for less than eight out of every 24 hours whilst the vessel is on a voyage.