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MCA Chief Mate Certificate of Competency Requirements for UK and Non-UK Mariners Serving UK Registered Merchant Vessels

chief mate mca

Chief mate (C/M) is the second in command following the Master and head of the deck department on a merchant vessel. The Merchant Shipping (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) Regulations 2015, implement the requirements of the International Convention and Code on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping (STCW) 1978, as amended including the provisions prescribing the mandatory minimum requirements for the certification of Chief Mate.

chief mate ship

You may also read: International Maritime Organization (IMO) STCW requirements for Chief Mate

UK MCA General Requirements for Chief Mate 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 Chief Mate Unlimited (STCW II/2) Requirements

  • Hold a valid OOW unlimited, II/1, Certificate of Competency
  • Have completed 12 months’ watchkeeping service while holding an OOW unlimited, II/1, Certificate of Competency;
  • Successfully complete an approved education and training program meeting the standards of competency specified in section A-II/2 of the STCW Code
  • Pass SQA Chief Mate written examinations at an approved SQA centre in the following subjects – Navigation, and Stability and Structure
  • Candidates who enrolled on an MNTB-approved Hons Degree, Foundation Degree or Scottish Professional Diploma prior to 01 September 2015 will be exempt from the external SQA written examinations up until 1 September 2022 - You must have met the full qualifying conditions for the Chief Mate unlimited, II/2, Certificate of Competency and have submitted original documentary evidence of this to the MCA prior to this date
  • If you are not enrolled on an MNTB or MCA approved route and have been working as a General Purpose (GP) rating you must demonstrate 48 months seagoing service
  • Pass MCA oral examination B
  • The SQA written examinations and MCA oral examination must be passed within 3 years prior to the date of the issue of your Certificate of Competency

Non-UK CoC Chief Mate Unlimited (STCW II/2) Requirements

  • To qualify for the issue of UK Chief Mate unlimited, II/2, Certificate of Competency you must already hold a valid OOW unlimited, II/1, Certificate of Competency issued under the authority of an administration included in the IMO list of STCW parties (White List) and meet the full requirements for Chief Mate unlimited, II/2, Certificate of Competency

MCA Chief Mate Less Than 3000 GT Unlimited (STCW II/2) Requirements

  • Hold a valid OOW unlimited, II/1, Certificate of Competency
  • Have completed 6 months’ watchkeeping service while holding an OOW unlimited, II/1, Certificate of Competency
  • Hold a NAEST certificate at management level
  • Hold a HELM certificate at management level
  • Pass MCA oral examination D

MCA Chief Mate Unlimited Near-Coastal (STCW II/2) Requirements

  • Hold a valid OOW unlimited, II/1, Certificate of Competency (Holders of a Master less than 500 GT, near-coastal trading area, regulation II/3 Certificate of Competency are eligible to apply for this Certificate. They must first complete additional academic units required to meet the standard for an OOW unlimited, regulation II/1 standard)
  • Have completed 12 months’ watchkeeping service while holding an OOW unlimited, II/1, Certificate of Competency
  • Successfully complete an approved education and training program meeting the standards of competency specified in section A-II/2 of the STCW Code as applicable to a near-coastal restricted Certificate of Competency and covered by passing the following SQA written examinations - Magnetic Compass and Navigational Aids, Ship Construction and Stability, and Shipboard Operations.
  • Pass MCA oral examination F
  • The SQA written examinations and MCA oral examination must be passed within 3 years prior to the date of the issue of your Certificate of Competency

MCA Chief Mate Less Than 3000 GT Near-Coastal (STCW II/2) Requirements

  • Hold a valid OOW unlimited, II/1, Certificate of Competence;
  • Hold a valid ENG1 (medical fitness Certificate) or accepted equivalent;
  • Hold a NAEST Certificate at Management level;
  • Pass MCA oral examination D (Oral examination ‘D’ will be conducted from the perspective of a Chief Mate on a less than 3,000 GT near-coastal vessel)

Chief Mate Ancillary and Safety Course Certification Requirements

courses training chief mate
Table: Ancillary and Safety Course Certification for Chief Mate - 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.
  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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