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Commercial endorsements

A commercial endorsement is required for work on board British flagged vessels subject to the MCA’s codes of practice for small commercial vessels. A number of additional training courses and medical fitness certificates are required to be eligible for a commercial endorsement.

By Iain Barbour

Which certificates can be commercially endorsed?

The following certificates can receive the standard commercial endorsement:

Course completion certificates: 

RYA Level 2 Powerboat Handling Certificate
RYA Advanced Powerboat Certificate (only if issued before 1 January 2005)         
RYA Day Skipper practical course completion certificate supported by a Day Skipper shorebased course completion certificate. The Day Skipper shorebased course may be undertaken online or in the classroom. In either case, the exams must be invigilated.

Certificates of competence:

RYA Advanced Powerboat Certificate of Competence
RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence
RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence
RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence  

In addition, the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean Certificates of Competence can receive the STCW endorsement.

Which certificate do I need?

The MCA’s codes of practice categorise British flagged commercial yachts according to the type of yacht and the waters in which they operate. It is this categorisation that determines which of the above certificates you will need. See the MCA's table of manning requirements on the right.

The RYA is a certifying authority for the codes of practice and can give advice on the coding and categorisation of commercial yachts. 

How do I apply for a standard commercial endorsement?

Send the following items to RYA Certification, RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Hampshire SO31 4YA:

Your original certificate - see list above
Your Professional Practices and Responsibilities certificate
A commercial endorsement application form - see link on the right
Your original, completed ML5 or ENG1 medical fitness form.
A copy of your RYA Basic Sea Survival certificate or STCW Personal Survival Techniques
A copy of your RYA Marine Radio SRC Certificate or other acceptable GMDSS Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate.
A passport sized photo with your name on the back
The application fee

Medical referrals

If you are submitting an ML5 Medical Report Form and Certificate and the Doctor has entered any ticks within the sections 1-9 or comments in section 9, your medical will need to be referred to the MCA, and they will not accept any medicals which are more than one year old. Please contact the RYA Certification Department for further details on 023 8060 4146.

If your medical fitness certificate has a restriction you may not be able to hold a commercial endorsement. If you are considering a seagoing career the RYA and Maritime and Coastguard Agency strongly advise that you undergo a medical or sight test, which includes testing of colour and visual acuity, before starting training. Restrictions on a ENG1 certificate will prevent you gaining STCW qualifications for vessels greater than 24m in length.

Professional Practices and Responsibilities course

Since April 2012 it has been a requirement for commercial endorsement holders to take the online Professional Practices and Responsibilities course (PPR).

All new applicants for the endorsement must take the course prior to submitting their application.

Existing commercial endorsement holders who gained their endorsement prior to April 2012 will be required to take the course prior to their next revalidation. More details are available through the link on the right.

Re-validating your commercial endorsement
All commercial endorsements must be revalidated every five years by proving at least 150 days of actual sea service on appropriate vessels during the previous five years, and be in possession of a valid medical fitness certificate.

If you are unable to prove the requisite sea service but are able to demonstrate that during at least half of the five year period you have been employed on duties closely associated with the management and operation of one or more of the appropriate types of vessels, you may have your certificate considered for revalidation.

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