New yacht deck officer training requirements now published in MSN 1858 – 5 things you need to know

MCA-logo-2013-newThe UK MCA has published the most important M-Notices for yacht deck training since 2006.  The new MSN 1858 replaces MSN 1802 which used to specify all requirements for training towards Officer of the Watch (OOW), Chief Mate and Master (Yachts, Less Than 500GT/3000GT).  It incorporates all changes which have been in a series of Marine Information Notices (MIN) over the past few years, mainly caused by the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Code and MLC 2006.

We have summarised the relevant information in two easy-to-read tables which are supported by further explanations.  We hope this document proves useful to any yacht deck officers, as well as anyone dealing with recruiting, training or manning superyachts.


The STCW Convention (under Article IX “Equivalents”) allows administrations to adapt alternative training arrangements for special types of ships and trades.  For several decades, the MCA has very successfully made use of this provision by implementing a special training route for those serving on large yachts and sail training vessels which are 24m or more in load line length, less than 3,000GT, and which do not carry more than 12 passengers.

Major changes

  1. Stand-by service cannot exceed the duration of the previous voyage (and is still limited to a maximum of 14 days per period).  Stand-by service now needs to be submitted in a table on the back of the new sea service testimonials (which can be found in annex E and F).  In effect this means that the qualifying stand-by service can never exceed actual days at sea.
  2. New definition of one day’s watchkeeping service: Rather than eight hours it is now four hours in every 24 hours of being “in charge of a navigational watch”. This will in effect allow candidates to progress quicker from OOW/Chief Mate to Master 500GT and respectively 3,000GT.
  3. To obtain a Master (Code Vessels Less Than 200GT) / OOW (Yachts Less than 500GT) candidates now need to provide evidence of six months’ sea service (with testimonials). Also, candidates with an OOW (Yachts Less Than 3,000GT) now need to pass a separate MCA oral examination to obtain the Master 200GT rather than obtaining it automatically.
  4. Note following in chapter 5.5: “The MCA would recommend that all seafarers hold an STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Certificate of Proficiency [instead of the Advanced Sea Survival for Yachtsmen]. This is due to potential problems of Port State Control Officers outside of the UK, not accepting non-STCW Advanced Sea Survival.”
  5. The biggest change is obviously the new course requirements which are summarised In the tables below.

MIN1848 STCW safety 


  • The table lists the requirements for the Master, II/2 code vessels less than 200GT/OOW Yachts 500GT, unlimited area. For the Master 200GT limited to 150nm from a safe haven, the following is sufficient: GMDSS ROC (instead of GOC) and RYA/IYT Yachtmaster Offshore (instead of Yachtmaster Ocean).
  • For the basic STCW safety certificates (Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Elementary First Aid, PSSR) the MCA will accept certificates issued under the authority of any IMO 'White List' country.
  • For the advanced STCW safety certificates (PSCRB, Advanced Fire Fighting, Medical First Aid, Medical Care) the MCA will accept certificates issued by any EU Member State, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
  • Medical Care refreshing: Those serving on an EU-registered vessel as a Master, II/2, or are the person in charge of medical care on the yacht operating in an unlimited area, will need to have undertaken approved Medical Care training or a refresher course within the previous five years. This is the requirement of Article 4(1) (b) of EEC Directive 92/29.
  • ECDIS, EDH, HELM must be MCA certificates.
  • GMDSS GOC/RO: The CMCA will accept certificates issued by any EU Member State and those listed on the approved list available from on the MCA website: and search “GMDSS”.
  • The GMDSS certificate should be submitted with your NOE pass so that the STCW endorsement expiry date can be synchronised with that of your Certificate of Competency. The STCW endorsement needs to be renewed every five years (but there is no need to take the course again).
  • Candidates obtaining a Chief Mate (Yachts less than 3000GT) Certificate of Competency directly without holding an OOW (Yachts less than 3000GT) will be required to complete both HELM (O) and HELM (M).


MIN 1848 yacht deck certification 


  • The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore must be commercially endorsed. IYT Master of Yachts Limited is accepted in lieu.
  • The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean must be commercially endorsed. IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited is accepted in lieu.
  • Candidates obtaining a Chief Mate (Yachts less than 3000GT) Certificate of Competency directly without holding an OOW (Yachts less than 3,000GT) will be required to complete these two OOW modules Navigation & Radar (OOW) and GSK (OOW).
  • The master modules have to be completed only once (if the course completion certificate is in date) when progression to Master (Yachts less than 500GT), or when progressing straight to Master (Yachts less than 3,000GT) from OOW/Chief Mate without having obtained the Master (Yachts less than 500GT).
  • Celestial Navigation is a written examination only, there is no requirements for a course to be completed.
  • All sea service needs to be completed on vessels of 15 metres or over in load line length (but this does not apply to on board yacht service).
  • Master (Yachts less than 3,000GT) requires 24 months' on board yacht service since holding OOW (or 12 months since holding Master 500GT), this must include 12 months in vessels of 24 metres or over in load line length, or six months in vessels of 500GT or more.
  • Sea service is a mix of actual days at sea, stand-by service (max 14 days per period, never longer than duration of previous voyage) and yard service (max 90 days). A minimum of 250 actual days at sea is required for OOW (Yachts less than 3,000GT).
  • Watchkeeping service is measured in days in charge of a navigational for at least four hours within 24 hours.
  • 240 days of watchkeeping service since holding OOW is required for Master (Yachts less than 3,000GT), or 120 days since holding Master (Yachts less than 500GT).
  • The Training Record Book is not required if the 36 months’ on board yacht service is on vessels of at least 24 metres in load line length.


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