Qualifications - Also called Tickets, Certificates, Licences
Vessels - Boats, ships and yachts
LOA - Length Over All (this document always refers to length overall)
Yachts - Power or Sail
MCA - Maritime and Coastguard Agency
RYA - Royal Yachting Association
Flag state - The country your boat is registered in and flag flying at the stern
Coastal state - The country a vessel is visiting when away from home waters
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea gives countries the right to sail ships on the Oceans. That right isn’t given to an individual. To use the seas, a boat needs to have the permission to fly the flag of a country. That country is its flag state.
If a boat is used in a country other than its flag state, it must comply with the regulations of that country (the coastal state) in addition to those of its flag state.
To understand the requirements for evidence of competence, it’s necessary to know what is required by the flag state and what is required by the coastal state.
Choosing a flag state for your vessel
If you are choosing a flag for your boat, you need to make sure you are choosing a country on the white list, if international travel is a consideration. This list is updated annually and can be found at:
MCA regulations and courses
Course Syllabuses and structure can be found on the MCA Website https://www.gov.uk/seafarer-skills-and-training.
You can also download the Merchant Shipping Notice (MSN 1802) this will provide Yacht Deck Officer Training and Certificate Guidance.
You can check MCA Manning Requirements for UK small commercial vessels here.
Anybody training for Officer of the Watch 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.
A great way of recording your sea time in a suitable format to count for the MCA requirements is by becoming a member of Nautilus, this will enable you to use their online recording system, with sea time being verified by the vessels owner / manager / captain. https://www.nautilusint.org/en/our-union/where-we-work/yachts/sea-service-verification/
Note: For sea time to count, the vessel must be over 15 mtrs LOA.
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.