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MCA Master (Captain) Certificate of Competency Requirements for Serving UK Registered Mega Yachts (Superyachts) of over 24m

mega yacht captain

The Captain (Master) of a Yacht is a licensed mariner whose primary duty is the safe manning and operation of the yacht. The captain is fully responsibility for the crew and the guests and must be familiar with overall safety codes and the safety training of crew. Previous experience of yacht handling is essential for the Yacht Master and handling a yacht of the same or similar sizes offers a distinct advantage. A Captain of a superyacht must have excellent seafaring knowledge, a good grasp of accounting, IT and administration including masters dealing with authorities and administrations.

A Superyacht (Mega Yacht or Luxury Yacht) is usually over 24 meters motor yacht and privately owned and professionally crewed. The legal definition is between yachts above 24 meters and below and mostly it has permanent crew onboard. Some yachts are used by their owners exclusively and others are operated as charter businesses full-time or part-time.

The route for yacht certification is structured by MCA to provide a progressive career path for those in the industry to achieve yacht restricted Master Qualifications.

superyacht master

The Captain (Master) of a yacht is a licensed mariner whose primary duty is the safe manning and operation of the yacht

MCA General Requirements for Master Yachts CoC


  • Meet the minimum age requirement
  • 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 education and training meeting the minimum vocational and academic standard
  • If applicable, pass an oral examination conducted by MCA

MCA Master Code Vessels Less Than 200 GT (STCW II/2) & OOW Yachts Less Than 500 GT Requirements

Not More Than 150 Miles from Safe Haven

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have completed 6 months seagoing service while holding an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore or IYT Master of Yachts Limited certificate
  • Hold either RYA Yachtmaster offshore certificate or a certificate of successful completion of a shore-based Yachtmaster Offshore course (Not required if the candidate holds a Yachtmaster Offshore certificate issued before 31 July 2003) OR, IYT Master of Yachts Limited
  • Pass the MCA Master (code vessels less than 200 GT) oral examination
  • The 150 miles from safe haven limitation may be removed from your Certificate of Competency upon presentation of a valid GMDSS certificate issued by the UK or an administration recognized by the MCA; and either RYA shore-based Yachtmaster Ocean course and Yachtmaster Ocean certificate; or IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited.
  • Important Note: The Master (Code Vessels Less Than 200 GT) Certificates of Competency is not mandatory. Seafarers serving in UK code vessels using MCA-recognized RYA/IYT qualifications have found that some overseas Administrations do not recognize those qualifications. This CoC is to overcome those objections and is voluntary.
  • Safe Haven: A safe haven is harbour or shelter of any kind, which affords safe entry and protection from the force of weather.

MCA Master Code Vessels Less Than 200 GT Unlimited (STCW II/2) & OOW Yachts Less Than 500 GT Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have completed 6 months seagoing service while holding an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean or IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited certificate
  • Hold both RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certificate and a certificate of successful completion of a shore-based Yachtmaster Ocean course (Not required if the candidate holds an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certificate issued before 31 July 2003) or IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited
  • Pass the MCA Master (Code Vessels Less Than 200 GT) oral examination

MCA Master Yachts Less Than 500 GT Unlimited (STCW II/2) Requirements

  • Have completed a minimum of 12 months’ onboard yacht service as a deck officer, including at least 120 days watchkeeping service, in vessels of 15 meters or over in load line length while holding an OOW yachts, less than 3000 GT, II/1 Certificate of Competency
  • Successful completion of approved education and training, meeting the standards of competency identified by the MCA from section A-II/2 of the STCW Code as applicable to a yacht restricted Certificates of Competency and covered by successful completion and passing the writer examinations of - Seamanship and Meteorology (Master Yachts), Stability (Master Yachts), Business and Law (Master Yachts), Radar and ARPA Simulator (Master Yachts), and passing the Celestial Navigation written examination.
  • Pass the Master (yachts less than 500 GT) oral examination

MCA Master Yachts Less Than 3000 GT Unlimited (STCW II/2) Requirements

  • Completed a minimum of 24 months onboard yacht service as a Deck Officer, including - at least 240 days watchkeeping service while holding an OOW yachts Less Than 3000 GT STCW II/1 Certificate of Competency.
  • All of the above service must be completed in vessels of 15 meters or over in load line length and include - 12 months in vessels of 24 meters or over in load line length, or 6 months in vessels of 500 GT or more
  • Hold either - MCA Master yachts, less than 500 GT II/2 Certificate of Competency and a pass certificate for the IAMI ‘Celestial Navigation’ written examination (Celestial Navigation must be less than 1 year old and all other IAMI written exam pass certificates must be less than 3 years old) OR
  • Certificates demonstrating successful completion of all of the MCA approved yacht modules and IAMI written examinations passes applicable to the Master yachts, Less Than 500 GT II/2 Certificate of Competency
  • Pass the Master (yachts less than 3000GT) oral examination
  • Note: As training module pass certificates are valid for three years, candidates are advised to obtain the MCA Master yachts, less than 500 GT, II/2, Certificate of Competency where circumstances may preclude them from attempting the Master (yachts less than 3000 GT) oral examination before the modules expire. If you do not hold a Master Yachts, less than 500 GT, II/2, Certificate of Competency, with the exception of ‘Celestial Navigation’, all IAMI written examinations must be passed prior to the issue of your Notice of Eligibility (NOE).

Master Yachts Ancillary and Safety Course Requirements

master yachts course requirements
Table: Ancillary and Safety Course Certification for Master Yachts - Credits: MCA

(*not more than 150 miles from safe haven)

  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.
  4. The MCA will accept certificates issued under the authority of any EU Member State and those listed on the approved list.

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

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