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MCA Deck Rating Certificate of Proficiency (COP) Requirements for Working in the UK Registered Merchant Navy Ships and Yachts

mca deck rating

The Deck Ratings perform variety of deck operations including watch-keeping, routine navigation and anchorage assistance. They carry out many routine, skilled or semi-skilled duties to keep the ship deck clean and efficient. They are also required to carry out maintenance duties and act as Cook, Firemen, Carpenters, and Waste & Recycling Operators at various levels of their career. In UK, for the purpose of issuing a Safe Manning Document, Ratings are graded as either a Navigational Watch Rating or General Purpose (GP) Rating. GP Ratings are trained in both deck and engine room duties and may be employed in either department.

deck rating merchant ship

You may also read: International Maritime Organisation (IMO) STCW Requirements for Ratings 

MCA General Requirements for Deck Rating


  • Meet the minimum age requirements (lowest minimum age is 16)
  • Complete the minimum period of seagoing service
  • A valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent
  • Hold applicable ancillary and safety course certificates
  • Complete the appropriate courses and training meeting the minimum vocational and academic standard

MCA Navigational Watch Rating (NWR) Certificate (STCW A-II/4) Requirements

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Have completed at least 6 months seagoing service on vessels2 of at least 15m in load line length and this seagoing service can be reduced to 2 months when undertaking 'special training', i.e. when following an MNTB course or MCA approved course;
  • Have completed the basic safety training
  • Have completed the NWR Training Record Book -Each task of the training program must be signed off by an officer holding an appropriate UK Certificate of Competency (CoC) or UK Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC)

MCA Yacht Rating Certificate (STCW II/5) Requirements


  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Show at least 6 months onboard yacht service, including 2 months actual seagoing service, all of which must be on vessels of at least 15 metres or over in load line length
  • Complete the four elements of approved STCW basic training (Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Elementary First Aid, and Personal Safety & Social Responsibility)
  • Complete the Yacht Rating Training Record Book
  • If you hold one of the following certificates, recognized by the MCA, you will not need to complete the Yacht Rating Training Record Book and the requirement for 6 months yacht service may be reduced to 2 months actual seagoing service on vessels of at least 15 meters in load line length - Watch Leader Certificate, together with a Competent Crew certificate; OR Day Skipper Certificate together, with a Competent Crew certificate; OR Yacht Rating course completion certificate.

MCA Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) Certificate Requirements

  • Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) is the qualifying examination for an Able Seafarer Deck certificate. You must be at least 17 years of age to qualify. The following certification and experience will permit entry on to the EDH course and examination:
    • An MCA accepted Yachtmaster Offshore; OR
    • A Yacht Rating with at least 6 months seagoing service and a steering certificate; OR
    • An NWR Certificate; OR
    • A Boat Master Licence (BML) Tier 1 level 2 certificate; OR
    • A Tug Rating with at least 6 months seagoing service and a steering certificate or an NWR Certificate
  • Note: before an EDH certificate can be issued, a minimum of 6 months seagoing service in vessels of 15m or more is required. Seagoing service in category C and D waters will be accepted at full rate.
  • EDH is a requirement for the issue of an Officer of the Watch (Yacht less than 3000 GT) Certificate of Competency

MCA Able Seafarer Deck Certificate (Able Seaman) STCW II/5 Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a UK NWR Certificate, regulation II/4
  • Have completed the 4 elements of STCW basic training (Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Elementary First Aid, and Personal Safety & Social Responsibility)
  • Complete at least 18 months seagoing service in the deck department while holding an NWR Certificate, regulation II/4; OR 12 months seagoing service, while holding an NWR Certificate, regulation II/4, if following an MNTB approved program of education and training (Maritime Studies Qualification)
  • Hold an EDH Certificate
  • Hold an MCA approved Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats (CPSC & RB)
  • Note: Seagoing service must be completed on vessels of 15m or more in load line length, and shall include service of at least 6 months on vessels of 24m or more in load line length or over 80 GT which is outside of categorized waters.
  • Seagoing service performed in a deck capacity on a seagoing fishing vessel of more than 16.5m in registered length, Royal Navy ships or Mobile Offshore Units (MOU) (if service is as part of the deck crew) will be counted in full, but at least 6 months seagoing service on merchant ships will be required for the issue of your Able Seafarer Deck certificate
  • If you hold a UK AB certificate, issued under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 1946 (No 74), there is no requirement to update your certificate to Able Seafarer Deck, regulation II/5. However, applications can be made to your local marine office if you intend to obtain an Able Seafarer Deck certificate, regulation II/5
  • The MNTB apprenticeship for Able Seafarer Deck uses Maritime Studies Qualification (MSQ). If you are following this MNTB-approved program of education and training you will be eligible for a reduction in seagoing service from 24 months to 14 months, for the issue of an Able Seafarer Deck Certificate of Proficiency. Those on the MNTB-approved Rating apprenticeships will gain their Navigation Watch Rating and Able Seafarer certification along with an MSQ
  • If you hold a Yacht Rating Certificate and wish to progress to Able Seafarer Deck, you must first gain an NWR Certificate. The 12 months qualifying seagoing service must be completed after the issue of your NWR certificate
  • There is no requirement to revalidate an Able Seafarer Deck Certificate of Proficiency

Deck Rating Ancillary and Safety Course Requirements

mca deck rating course requirements
Table: Ancillary and Safety Course Certification for Deck Ratings - Credits: MCA

  1. The MCA will accept certificates issued under the authority of any IMO 'White List' country.
  2. The MCA will accept certificates issued under the authority of any EU Member State, as well as Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
  3. Certificates must be MCA approved.

Disclaimer: For general information purpose - please check with MCA for the latest requirements and accurate info

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