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UK Certificates of Competency

We issue UK Certificates of Competency (CoC) to seafarers looking to work commercially at sea. These licences apply to merchant vessels as well as yachts, tugs, workboats and other small craft. They are issued in line with the international convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).

Full requirements for obtaining a UK Certificate of Competency (CoC) are outlined in various Merchant Shipping Notices (MSNs), Marine Guidance Notices (MGNs) and Marine Information Notices (MINs) GOV.UK.

Application process

For most applications the process will follow the “standard route”.

The first application you will need to make will normally be for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE). We will assess the evidence you provide in support of the application to see if you are eligible to sit an oral examination.

If successful, you will be awarded an NoE which you can then use to sit an online examination with a Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) examiner. In some cases, you may be required to pass our online Part A computer-based exam before then sitting your online Part B exam with an MCA examiner. You can find more information in MIN 690.

On passing the Oral Examination(s) you will then need to apply for your CoC, including the other required documents for the licence you wish to gain. With these we will then issue the licence to you.

This process can vary depending on the type of certificate you are applying for.

How to apply

First-time applicants, who have not previously gained MCA certification, should submit their application in physical copy. The details for this can be found on the relevant application form.

For those applying for revalidation or for subsequent UK Certification, you can apply via email to your relevant processing team. The application form will detail the required supporting evidence that must be provided. We may select your application for additional screening, and as part of this you may be required to submit your documents in physical copy.

Processing times

  • For a Notice of Eligibility, Resit or Rating Application we will assess within 28 days.
  • For a CoC Application or a GMDSS Application, we will assess within 14 days.

If a company needs you to return to sea, and we hold your original documents, they can request that we can either copy and return your documents in time, or fully expedite the application for you to return to work.

Contact the team

If you require any assistance, please contact us directly: 

Phone: +44 (0)203 817 2200

Phone lines are open 08:15 to 17:30 Monday to Friday, excluding UK public holidays.

  • Select Option 1 For Safe Manning
  • Select Option 2 For CoC Revalidations
  • Select Option 3 For Deck NoE, Deck new CoC
  • Select Option 4 For Eng NoE and Eng new CoC
  • Select Option 5 For non-UK qualified officers applying for a new Flag State Endorsement, or to revalidate an existing Flag State Endorsement to work on UK-registered commercial vessels, and GMDSS

Email contacts:

Flag State Endorsements:
Safe Manning team:

Other information

If you are a foreign maritime agency or an employer that needs to verify a UK Certificate of Competency you can do this online through our designated verification page.

If you are verifying another UK issued certificate (such as a Watch Rating Certificate or GMDSS Endorsement), or are unable to verify through the online verification website, please contact the exams team for verification on