The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has released a Marine Information Note (MIN) outlining the requirements for deck officers wishing to use yacht service as a qualifying sea service towards the issue of an Unlimited Certificate of Competency (CoC).

Designed to clarify the sea service requirements, the MIN states that all yacht service must be submitted in the form of either yacht service testimonials (which can be found in the MIN’s Annex, at the end of the downloadable document) supported by a Discharge book or an MCA-approved log book. The testimonials and support must include a breakdown of actual sea service (time spend at sea, including time at anchor), stand-by service (the time immediately following a voyage, while the vessel is under preparation for another voyage) and yard time (when standing by a build, refit or repair).

Seagoing service on yachts is counted as a combination of the above, as long as stand-by service does not exceed the number of days performed on the previous voyage, nor does it exceed a maximum of 14 days in each period; and as long as yard service does not exceed a maximum total of 90 days for OOW and 30 days for Chief Mate or Master. “Under no circumstances can stand-by service exceed actual sea service”, states the MIN.

The MIN outlines the requirements for the individual CoCs:

OOW Unlimited – 36 months of seagoing service, which includes six months engaged in bridge watchkeeping duties in vessels (including yachts) of more than 24m or more than 80gt.

Chief Mate Unlimited – 18 months of seagoing service as a deck officer while holding an OOW Unlimited CoC in vessels (including yachts) of more than 24m or 80gt.

Master Unlimited – 18 months of seagoing service as a deck officer while holding a Chief Mate Unlimited CoC in vessels (including yachts) of more than 24m or 80gt.

In addition, crewmembers serving on yachts who hold an OOW Unlimited or a Chief Mate Unlimited CoC and are looking to qualify for a higher CoC must have the following included in their sea service requirements:
  • At least six months on yachts of 500gt or more operating beyond UK categoried waters, or if outside the UK then beyond the harbour limits, or;
  • At least six months on vessels of at least 24m, made up of voyages of more than 300 nautical miles
The MIN also adds, “If you have service on a yacht of over 3,000gt that has spent more than two thirds of its time proceeding to sea, then your sea service can be counted as per MGN 92 (M), i.e. at the full rate.”

The MIN – MIN 498 (M) can be downloaded here.