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IMO STCW 2010 Regulations -  Requirements for Medical Fitness & Eyesight Standards for the Seafarers (STCW Medical Certificate Requirements)

stcw medical certifcate

Seafarers are not allowed to work on a ship unless they are certified as medically fit to perform their duties. The medical certificate must have been issued by a duly qualified medical practitioner and must be still valid.

Certificates issued in accordance with, or meeting the substance of the applicable requirements, under the STCW Convention, as amended, are to be accepted as meeting these requirements (Section A-I/9).

Prior to the 2010 amended STCW it was only mandatory that seafarer need to be reasonably fit and in good health, and administrations established standards for medical health. The amended convention now stipulates mandatory minimum standards of medical fitness for all international seafarers, as previously many administrations had not enforced strict standards.

The new regulations do however give some discretion to the administrations, differentiating between those persons seeking to start a career at sea and those seafarers already serving at sea, and between different functions on board.

ship in harbor

You may also check our STCW Code Section for Medical Fitness & Eyesight

STCW Requirements for Standards of Physical and Medical Fitness



  • Have the physical capability to fulfill all the requirements of basic training;
  • Demonstrate adequate hearing and speech to communicate effectively and detect any audible alarms;
  • Have no medical condition, disorder or impairment that will prevent the effective and safe conduct of their routine and emergency duties onboard.
  • Are not suffering from any medical condition likely to be aggravated by service at sea or likely to render the seafarer unfit for such service or to endanger the health and safety of other persons on-board; and
  • Are not taking any medication that has side effects that will impair judgment, balance or any other requirements for effective and safe performance of routine and emergency duties on-board.

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Other Requirements

  • There should be procedures in place and a process to address if seafarers do not meet the fitness standards and have permanent or temporary limitations imposed on their ability to work. Seafarers may still be able to operate in some field of work or trading area or with a time constraint.
  • Medical fitness examinations of seafarers shall be conducted by appropriately qualified and experienced medical practitioners recognized by the administration. If you meet the medical standards, you will be issued with a medical certificate.
  • This certificate is subject to revalidation at least every two years unless you are under 18 years in which case it is every year.
  • Medical certificates should be in the official language of the issuing country and in English.

Note: If you want to know more about the medical standards that apply to you, the examination procedures and revalidation requirements, contact the administration that issued your certificate.

Disclaimer: For general information purpose only - please check with IMO STCW Convention for the latest requirements and accurate info

LAST UPDATED ON Dec 5, 2019

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