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.
The following certificates can receive the standard commercial endorsement:
Course completion certificates:
Certificates of competence:
In addition, the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean Certificates of Competence can receive the STCW endorsement.
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.
The RYA is a certifying authority for the codes of practice and can give advice on the coding and categorisation of commercial yachts. Find out more about the 'Requirements for commercial craft' here'.
Send the following items to RYA Certification, RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Hampshire SO31 4YA:
If your Doctor has entered any “Yes ticks” on your ML5 Medical Report form then your ML5 Medical will need to be referred onto the MCA to be reviewed and you will be required to complete Part D the Medical Review on page 13/14 of your ML5 Medical to provide the RYA with additional information to submit to the MCA. The MCA will not be able to give a decision on the issue of your Commercial Endorsement if this section is not completed in full. Please note the MCA will not accept any ML5 Medicals which are more than one year old
If you are issued with a restricted ENG1 or ML5 Certificate of Medical Fitness then your RYA Commercial endorsement will also be issued with restrictions.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.
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 here.
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.
PLEASE NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic the MCA has approved a temporary extension of medical certificates. Full details can be found in the following statements from the MCA:
The majority of Approved Doctors are now offering ENG1 medical examinations. Where a candidate is unable to gain access to an ML5 medical examination they should seek to gain an ENG1 or equivalent seafarer 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.
You can download a revalidation form here.