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Discharge Books and British Seamans Cards

A Discharge Book is a continuous record of a seafarer's service and is not a proof of identity. It’s a requirement that seafarers working on UK Flagged ships or large yachts have a UK Discharge Book or one that is issued by one of the governments listed in MSF 4509.

A British Seaman's Card (BSC) is an internationally accepted document that allows a British seafarer to land at foreign ports without needing a visa. An applicant for a BSC must be a British citizen. 

You can find an application for a UK Discharge Book or a British Seaman's Card (MSF 4509) on GOV.UK.

The guidance notes in the application form show who is eligible for a UK Discharge Book.

General eligibility (all applicants)

  • Please do not apply for a Discharge Book or British Seaman’s Card if you are not a seafarer. For further information, including roles excluded from the definition of this term, please consult MGN 471 amendment 1 (especially Annex 1 and 2).
  • You can find further eligibility information specific to Discharge Books and British Seaman’s Card in Note 3 and 4, respectively.
  • Applications for Discharge Books

  • You can post applications for Discharge Books to:

    UK Ship Register
    Maritime and Coastguard Agency
    Anchor Court
    Keen Road
    CF24 5JW

    You can also call us on +44 (0)20 3908 5200 or email