Qualifications and Legislation

British Flag vessels are obliged to obey United Kingdom Merchant Shipping regulations wherever they are. These regulations are published and enforced by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) with help from the RYA and other bodies.

The rules are constantly changing and evolving; you are advised to consult the authorities or ourselves for the latest version!


Skipper’s Qualifications

  1. Non commercial, private, small craft <80 tons are exempt from qualification requirements but need International Certificates of Competence when abroad. (ICC)
  2. Non commercial, private small craft >80<200 tons must have qualified skippers. An RYA/DOT certificate will suffice according to operating area.
  3. Any vessel operating commercially must comply with the regulations as detailed in the Codes of Practice books published by the MCA. These vessels may not carry more than 12 passengers and cannot carry cargo.
  4. RYA/DOT certificates (level according to operating area) with a commercial endorsement, are sufficient for commercial vessels up to 200 tons.
  5. Commercial endorsements to RYA/DOT certificates are obtained from the RYA on production of a Sea Survival certificate and personal medical fitness report and admin fee. They are valid for 5 years, provided First Aid remains in date, re-qualification period for First Aid is 3 years.
  6. MCA certificates (STCW95) are required for vessels over 24m and over 200 tons and up to 3000 tons.

Engineer’s Qualifications

The RYA diesel maintenance certificate is sufficient for sailing vessels <24m over 150 miles offshore and on motor vessels <24m up to 60 miles offshore. All superior categories require higher engineering qualifications as detailed in Codes of Practice.


We hope that you can find the information you require on these pages, if you have any further questions, or require advice, please call us.

Richard Brown (Principal) RYA Yachtmaster Instructor.