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MCA Ships’ Cook Certificate of Competency (SCC) Requirements for UK Registered Commercial Ships and Yachts

mca ships cook

A Ships’ Cook career is rewarding in many ways and pays well especially in superyachts and cruise ships. This job offers good exposure to various dishes and cuisines around the world. A chief cook is one of the unlicensed senior crewmembers working in the steward's department of a merchant/cruise ship or a yacht. The duties include food handling, cleaning, stocking and cooking for the ships’ crew as well as the passengers.

In modern ships and yachts, there are different levels of hierarchies for chefs - assistant chief cook, first cook, second and third cook, and several other positions such as party chef, or a trainee cook etc. They are an integral part of the steward’s department in the ships’ gallery (kitchen) and require specialized training and assessments to obtain a certificate of competency.

Any Commercial Vessel that operates more than 60 miles from a safe haven and has 10 or more seafarers on-board must have at least one Ship’s Cook Certificate of Competency (SCC) holding chef as per Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) regulations. To achieve the Ship’s Cook Certificate, one must take the Assessment in Marine Cookery and would have gone through Food Hygiene Training.

ships gallery kitchen

A chief cook is one of the unlicensed senior crewmembers working in the steward's department of a merchant/cruise ship or a yacht

UK MCA General Requirements for Ship’s Cook CoC (SCC)


  • Meet the minimum age requirement - 18
  • 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
  • Take the required assessment in mariner cookery

MCA Sea Service Requirements for Ship’s Cook CoC

  • All applicants must show at least one month sea service. Sea service must be shown in Discharge Book entries, or Certificates of Discharge, or sea service testimonials signed by the master.

MCA Evidence of Cooks Experience Requirements for Old Cooks

  • Holders of Ships’ Cooks certificates (Parts 1 and 2) issued or recognized under The Merchant Shipping (Certificate of Ships’ Cooks) Regulations 1981 may continue to sail as a Ships’ Cook until 7 August 2019.
  • Holders of Ships’ Cooks Certificate of Competency Parts 1 and 2 issued under 1981 Ships’ Cooks Regulations can submit a testimonial issued and signed by the Master which confirms that the training requirements are met. There is no requirement for existing ships cooks holding Ships’ Cook Certificate of Competency Parts 1 and 2 to complete the assessment in Marine Cookery.
  • Existing Ships Cooks without Parts 1 and 2 Ships’ Cook Certificate of Competency must enclose evidence of the successful completion of an Assessment in Marine cookery.
  • Experienced Cooks without Parts 1 and 2 Ships’ Cook Certificate of Competency must enclose evidence of the successful completion of an Assessment in Marine cookery PLUS evidence of at least 12 months working in a shorebased catering establishment or business. 

MCA Training Requirements for New Cooks

  • New Ships’ Cooks must enclose evidence of the successful completion of - Level 2 Professional Diploma in Cookery or a recognized equivalent PLUS Assessment in Marine Cookery PLUS at least 12 months service in a shorebased catering establishment or business OR
  •  Level 2 Professional Diploma in Marine Cookery or a recognized equivalent and the following modules - Health and Safety in Catering in the Maritime industry, Cultural and religious catering requirements, and Dietary requirements for shift workers.

MCA STCW Requirements for Ship’s Cook CoC

  • All Ships’ Cooks must complete the STCW Training: Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Elementary First Aid, Personal Safety and Social Responsibility, and Security Awareness

MCA Food Hygiene or Food Safety in Catering Requirements for Ship’s Cook CoC

  • All ships’ cooks must meet the learning outcomes and assessment criteria in Food hygiene or Food Safety in Catering as set out. A list of qualifications and awarding bodies that are recognized and accepted in the UK as fulfilling the learning outcomes and assessment criteria is provided by MCA.
  • Online food safety certificates are NOT accepted and a formal assessment under exam condition within an approved training center is required.

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

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