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Southampton Solent University
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The deck section of the MCA Seafarer Training & Certification department can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone on 0044 (0)23 8032 9231 – select option 1 for the deck team.
Warsash Maritime Academy is an exam centre for IAMI (International Association of Maritime Institutions) exams. Exam results are usually available within six weeks of sitting the exam and will be communicated by Warsash Maritime Academy. It is recommended that you leave us your address to send you your pass certificate.
Ideally any service is evidenced in the form of a Discharge Book. If you haven’t got one, you can apply for a Discharge Book using the MCA form MSF4509.
Alternatively, yacht personnel can use a form called Yacht Certificate of Discharge which can be found in Annex F of MSN 1858.
Official discharge forms can also be found in Yacht Training Record Books (TRB) (Section 10, page 17). A Yacht TRB can be downloaded from the MCA's website.
Another way is using the PYA’s Service Record Book or Nautilus' Service Record Book.
Once you have your NOE you can then go ahead and book your oral exam at any of the MCA offices throughout the UK. The MCA office you have chosen will not confirm your booking until you have received your NOE. (note: the list now includes Falmouth) Be aware that they do have busy periods so it is best to book your oral well in advance to ensure you get your preferred date. Click here for a list of MCA Marine Offices.
In order to obtain your OOW Unlimited through the HNC Exam Route for Experienced Seafarers you will need either 36 months' sea service on a merchant ship of at least 24 metres in length of not less than 80GT, or 36 months' sea service on a yacht over 24 metres.
The 36 months' sea service on a yacht will follow the service definitions in MSN 1858 (M+F):
Sea Service = Actual Sea Service + Standby Service (max 14 days between voyages) + Yard Service (max 90 days in total).
You will need a total combined figure of 1,080 days. There can be multiple periods of stand-by service as along as the yacht proceeded to sea in between.
At least six months of the qualifying sea service must have been performed within the five years preceding the application for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE).
Make sure you apply using MSF 4274 but submit Sea Service Testimonials in accordance with MSN 1858, section 4.
You will also need a letter from the captain or the management company confirming 'that the candidate has been involved in navigational watchkeeping duties under the supervision of a certificated officer duties for at least 6 months'. Anyone holding a OOW (Yachts, less than 3,000GT) is exempt from having to provide evidence of watchkeeping activities.
Note also, that we are talking about being 'involved in watchkeeping duties' and not about 'watchkeeping service'. The MCA wants to see that you have been involved with some bridge operations and not exclusively been working on deck. 'Watchkeeping service' is only for officers who are in charge of navigational watch and want to move up the career ladder from OOW/Chief Mate to Master.
Service may be performed on vessels of any flag. Candidates who are serving in a dual engine and deck capacity will have their service counted at the rate of 50%. See also the OOW Unlimited section.
The MCA works with the following definitions:
This a seafarers medical fitness certificate which must be renewed every two years. You must have a valid certificate work at sea. A list of approved doctors, both in the UK and overseas, can be found on the MCA website.
When you have accrued sufficient sea service to sit an oral examination with the MCA, you are required to apply for an NOE. This form can be downloaded from the MCA website and must be returned with ORIGINAL COPIES all of your supporting documentation (sea service testimonials, STCW certificates, exam pass certificates and ENG1) to prove that you are eligible for an oral examination.
There is accommodation available at the Warsash campus along with a café, bar and restaurant facilities.
There is also a website where students can book bed and breakfast accommodation off campus in the local area. The accommodation listed has a range of prices and facilities: www.warsashhousing.co.uk.
In addition, there are four pubs in the village of Warsash, all of which serve good quality food.
There are five basic training modules that every person working at sea is required to complete before they can be employed on a UK-registered vessel. This is a mandatory safety requirement and more advanced versions of these modules will have to be completed as your career progresses.
More information about the courses
Any award certificate queries (HNC/HND/FD) need to be forwarded to: firstname.lastname@example.org and the awards department at Southampton Solent University will help you obtain a copy of your certificate.
All yacht deck modules are valid for three years from the date of issue of the pass certificate. Within a three year period you must pass your oral exam and all three modules, otherwise your modules will expire and you will have to take them again. Gaining your CoC removes this requirement for the modules appertaining to that certificate.
You will need 36 months' on board yacht service on a vessel of any size, including a minimum of 365 days sea service on a yacht over 15 metres loadline length, where the sea service is minimum of 250 days Actual Sea Service, and the balance of 115 days any combination of the following:
You must also have completed the MCA approved Training Record Book (note: this is not required if the candidate can provide evidence of 36 months' sea service in vessels of at least 24 metres in load line length).
See also MSN 1858.
Warsash Maritime Academy is an ELCAS approved training provider. If you have ELCAS funding available to you, you can use it to pay for your training. All you need to do is let us know that you will be accessing your ELCAS funding, and provide us with the relevant forms to complete on your behalf when making a booking with us.
Candidates undertaking an MCA written exam conducted by SQA/IAMI who have been diagnosed as dyslexic by either an educational psychologist or a specialist dyslexia teacher may be allowed an extra 15 minutes for each hour of normal examination time. Please note that the request for the extra time must be made at least two weeks prior to the exam date and must be accompanied by the relevant paperwork.
The MCA will not allow the use of readers, scribes or computers; however, other aides such as tinted film etc are permitted. If you have been assessed, and an increased exam time has been agreed, it will remain valid for all future exams, until the tenth anniversary of the assessors report.
MIN 435 explains the MCA dyslexia policy in detail.
You can re-sit the examination at an approved IAMI examination centre anywhere in the world. They will require you to produce the relevant course completion certificate and pay the IAMI exam fee plus their administration costs.
It depends upon how badly you fail. If you didn't come up to the required standard, the examiner will advise you of what you failed on and suggest a suitable strategy. However if you made a fundamental error with respect to safety then a sea time penalty may be imposed. MIN 451 gives further guidance on retaking oral exams.
HELM stands for Human Element, Leadership and Management and was brought in as part of the Manila Amendments to the STCW Code (also known as STCW2010).
Seafarers must complete the corresponding HELM course for their Certificate of Competency (CoC):
We have scheduled our courses so they fit the yacht OOW and Master modules as well as yacht engineering Y4 to Y2 modules.
HELM(O) - course details HELM(M) - course details Warsash was the first training provider to achieve approval for both HELM(O) and HELM(M) and was closely involved in establishing the syllabus for these courses.
You can take your documents to the MCA in Southampton and they will take photocopies of the originals. If you are not able to do this, sending by courier or Royal Mail recorded delivery is the next best thing. If you are studying at Warsash, the deck course leader and a few other members of staff have been given permission by the MCA to authenticate photo copies of your ORIGINAL documents, so you do not have to trust them to the postal service.
If you have good GCSE or A-level grades, the most cost and time effective method of getting onto a superyacht is to enrol in the Merchant Navy as an deck officer cadet. You will be paid a wage by a sponsoring company; they will also pay your course fees. At the end of a three year period of study (depending upon starting qualifications) you should be awarded a Merchant Navy Officer of the Watch certificate. This is much quicker than any other route and is a far superior qualification, which has fewer limitations on the size and power of yacht you will be able to work on. It will also speed up your career progression.
Find out more about our superyacht cadetship
Your best way forward is to get practical experience on yachts and learn on the job. Your first step is to get a position on a yacht after having completed the mandatory training for new entrants. Warsash Superyacht Academy is in partnership with yacht recruitment agencies that can assist in this process.
A Notice of Eligibility is valid for five years from date of issue, and for three years after a successful oral exam. You must apply for your NOE well in advance of your anticipated exam date as they can take up to six weeks to be processed. For more information on how to apply for an NOE visit the MCA website and look for section titled: Commercial and Private Yachts
There is no substitute for hard work and pre-study! It is strongly recommended that you read your study guides and from them try to answer the selection of past questions that we supply you. You may find that you need to search the internet to gain additional information before you fully understand the problem. By this means you will arrive at Warsash ‘knowing what you don’t know’, and this will then enable you to focus your studies during the course.
No, because of the amount of time and effort involved in improving them to ensure they reflect current practice; they are only available when booking a course.
MEOL(Y) notes can be purchased on their own.
We have an enthusiastic and dedicated team of lecturers consisting of Master Mariners, Chief Engineers, naval architects and maritime lawyers, including an ex-DNV surveyor and an ex-MCA senior examiner. In addition to their expertise they have all achieved a higher qualification in how to teach. Each separate topic in a yacht deck module will be delivered by a subject specialist, which means we are able to deliver you the best teaching currently available anywhere in the world. All of these lecturers are conversant with more than one subject, so sudden illness and other unforeseen circumstances will not impact upon your course delivery.
We operate in a relaxed manner which allows students access to lecturers outside of timetabled sessions to discuss engineering issues relating to their own personal experiences.
Our comprehensive study guides undergo regular updates to cater for changes in legislation and improvements in technology. They are now available as an app for iPads or Android and will automatically be refreshed when notes are updated.
In addition we have an extensive maritime library, with full IT facilities, open until 2100 hrs for students to complete their examination preparation.
Our students enjoy well above industry standard exam pass rates; our aim is to maintain and improve upon this level of achievement.
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