The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published a Marine Information Note (MIN) detailing amendments to the existing process of gaining superyacht qualifications. The MIN describes planned changes to examinations as outlined in MSN 1802 as part of the 2010 Manila Amendments, as well as outlining changes to Able Seafarer and Navigational Watch Rating (NWR) certificates, the Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) syllabus and sea service requirements.

From 31 December, 2013, yacht rating certificates will no longer be issued and all seafarers wishing to sail as a rating will gain an unrestricted NWR certificate. Those already holding a yacht rating certificate do not need to upgrade their certificate, however.

In a move to improve the basic seamanship skills of today’s crewmembers, those working towards their Officer of the Watch (OOW) less than 3000gt CoC will also be required to gain the EDH certificate. This comes in addition to the requirement that came into force earlier this year that to receive their OOW candidates must also gain a certificate in Human Element, Leadership and Management (HELM). Minor changes have also been made to the EDH syllabus and all training providers are required to make these amendments by 31 December, 2013.

Also required from 31 December, 2013, is an MCA-approved ECDIS certificate for an MCA Chief Mate of yachts less than 3000gt or above. Those who have not completed this course will receiving the following limitation: “From the 1 January, 2017, this certificate is not valid for service on ships fitted with ECDIS”.

Those applying for their Yacht Master less than 500gt and 3000gt, as of 31 December, 2013, will be required to submit documentary evidence of a pass in celestial navigation, from an MCA-approved training provider. Moreover, a pass in celestial navigation is only valid for one year from its issue date.

"Every eight hours’ watch-keeping accrued may be counted as one day of watch-keeping service and does not need to be completed in a 24-hour period."

The final yacht-relevant amendment is that of watch-keeping service, which can now be recorded on a cumulative basis. The notice outlines: “This means that every eight hours’ watch-keeping accrued may be counted as one day of watch-keeping service and does not need to be completed in a 24-hour period. Time spent at anchor associated with a passage (and if this passage is part of the same 24-hour voyage) whilst the officer is engaged in a bridge watch can also be accepted. If you complete more than eight hours’ watch-keeping within a 24-hour period, this cannot be counted as more than one day watch-keeping time, e.g. a 12 hour watch within a 24 hour period can only be counted as 1 day watch-keeping time.”

With less than two months to go before the above changes are implemented, it is important that crewmembers have a full understanding of the amendments and their resulting effects. To download the full MIN, please click here.

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