As the average size of superyachts has increased and the industry has grown, opportunities for crew working on larger yachts to gain the necessary experience on the relevant sized vessels to progress on the superyacht career path has become increasingly difficult to obtain.
Sea time on board yachts under 24m is required to be eligible for the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore or IYT Master of Yachts/Mate (less than 200gt) Certificates of Competency (CoC), a mandatory pre-requisite for those wishing to obtain the MCA Officer of the Watch (OOW) Yachts (less than 3000gt) CoC. The issue has been, however, that many crewmembers find acquiring sea time on such small vessels is difficult to obtain.
Due to this feedback, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is consulting on a marine information note (MIN) which details a solution to the problem by introducing a new route that allows crew working on yachts over 24m to count some of this sea time towards the issue of an RYA Yachtmaster Coastal CoC or IYT Master of Yachts Coastal CoC. These coastal-level CoCs will allow a candidate the opportunity to progress within the industry to achieve yacht-restricted OOW, Chief Mate and Master qualifications.
Details on the qualifying process are set out in the following:
1. New route to obtain an OOW Yachts (less than 3000gt)
The RYA Yachtmaster Coastal CoC accompanied with an RYA Coastal Skipper practical course completion certificate, or the IYT Master of Yachts Coastal/Mate (less than 200gt) CoC, can be used in lieu of the following pre-requisites identified in MSN 1858:
• An RYA Yachtmaster Offshore CoC; or
• An IYT Master of Yachts Limited CoC.
2. Sea time requirements for the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal CoC
To be eligible for an RYA Yachtmaster Coastal examination, candidates should hold sea service of 800 miles and 30 days on board vessels less than 24m in length. Completing an RYA Coastal Skipper Practical course reduces the sea service requirement to 400 miles and 20 days on board vessels less than 24m.
Providing all other pre-requisites defined by the RYA are met, the MCA have agreed that completion of the RYA Coastal Skipper Practical course will also allow sea service of 800 miles and 30 days on board yachts up to 3000gt to be accepted as eligibility for the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal examination.
It is recommended that candidates with limited skippering experience on vessels less than 24m gain boat handling experience on appropriate vessels, such as larger tenders and other vessels greater than 7m waterline length, prior to attending the RYA Coastal Skipper Practical course.
Holders of the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal CoC will not be eligible to obtain a MCA Master Yachts (less than 200gt) CoC.
3. Sea time requirements for the IYT Master or Yacht Coastal CoC
To be eligible for an IYT Master of Yachts Coastal (less than 200gt) examination, a candidate must have completed 30 days at sea and 800 miles logged on yachts of any size. Successful completion of the IYT Master of Yachts Coastal (less than 200gt) course and examination can be used to obtain an IYT Master of Yachts Coastal/Mate (less than 200gt) CoC providing all other pre-requisites defined by the IYT are met.
Holders of the IYT Master of Yachts Coastal/Mate (less than 200gt) CoC will not be eligible to obtain the MCA Master Yachts (less than 200gt) CoC.
4. Progression to Chief Mate Yachts (less than 3000gt)
To enable those using the alternative coastal CoC route detailed in the MIN to progress to a MCA Chief Mate Yachts (less than 3000gt) CoC, the OOW Yachts (less than 3000gt) may be used as eligibility to complete a RYA Yachtmaster Ocean oral examination in lieu of the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore.
This evidence of successfully completing the RYA oral examination may be used in lieu of the following requirements listed in section 3.4 of MSN 1856:
• An RYA Yachtmaster Ocean CoC.
Holders of an IYT Master of Yachts Coastal/Mate (less than 200gt) CoC must complete the IYT Master of Yachts unlimited course and examination to be eligible for an MCA Chief Mate Yachts (less than 3000gt) CoC. All other pre-requisites, as detailed by the IYT, must be completed prior to taking the course and examination.
5. Pre-requisite requirements for an MCA-approved Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) course
In addition to the pre-requisites mentioned in MSN 1862, the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal CoC or an IYT Master of Yachts Coastal Mate (less than 200gt) CoC will permit entry into the EDH course.
6. Recognition of these certificates
The MCA accepts the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal CoC (with commercial endorsement) or IYT Master of Yachts Coastal/Mate (less than 200gt) CoC for the manning of UK-registered vessels in the following capacities:
• Chief Mate of 500gt on vessels up to 60 nautical miles offshore; and
• Chief Mate of 200gt on vessels up to 150 nautical miles offshore.
In addition, they are recognised for commercial use in UK waters as a Master on vessels of under 24m and 80gt and up to 30 nautical miles offshore.
While the MCA recognises these RYA and IYT qualifications for use on UK-registered yachts of less than 200gt in areas specified on the certificate, it cannot guarantee recognition internationally (outside of UK waters). If crew hold these certificates they should check the certification requirements of the local Port State Control administration prior to entering their jurisdiction.
The terms of this recognition will be detailed in separate agreements between the MCA and IYT/RYA. The agreements will be subject to ongoing approval procedures set out between the MCA and RYA/IYT and subject to review. Both organisations will need to meet the requirements identified by an MCA against an agreed set of terms and conditions to ensure they have robust ongoing approval and monitoring procedures.
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