We are asked all the time “What certificates do I need to work commercially on powerboats/small fishing boats?” and the answer depends on 2 things:
- How far offshore you are looking to go, and
- What certificates/qualifications you already have.
This blog takes you through the possible options for your commercial endorsement, what certificates and qualifications you need and how to get them.
So what is a commercial Endorsement?
A commercial endorsement is required for work on board British flagged vessels subject to the MCA’s codes of practice for small commercial vessels. A number of additional training courses and medical fitness certificates are required to be eligible for a commercial endorsement.
Which certificate do I need?
The MCA’s codes of practice categorise British flagged commercial yachts according to the type of yacht and the waters in which they operate. It is this categorisation that determines which of the above certificates you will need
Powerboat Level 2 Commercial Endorsement – 3 miles from a nominated point of departure (Cat 6 waters)
The types of commercial craft requiring this level certification are typically: charter fishing boats, small passenger launches, thrill ride operators, harbour patrol launches, construction site safety boats etc. Once your Level 2 certificate is commercially endorsed you can then work on commercial vessels up to 24m in length, operating in category 6 waters – that is up to 3 miles from a nominated departure point in fine weather and daylight hours. Although you can take the Level 2 course at age 12 the minimum age for a commercial endorsement is 17 years old.
Powerboat Advanced Certificate of Competence – up to 20 miles from a safe haven (Cat 3-6 waters)
If you are looking to work on commercial vessels up to 24m in length, operating in category 3, 4, 5 and 6 waters – that is up to 20 miles from a safe haven, carrying up to 12 passengers then you will need to have completed the RYA Advanced Certificate of Competence (EXAM) in order to gain your commercial endorsement. NOTE: You CAN NOT simply apply for a commercial endorsement against the Advanced course certificate following completion of the 2 day Advanced course.* Candidates must have successfully passed their Advanced Exam to apply for a commercial endorsement.
How do I know which courses/qualification I need?
See our blog post here for more details on what courses you need both for the practical, navigation and shorebased courses. Plus details on our great bundles – saving you between 10 and 15% off when you buy a bundle together!
Advanced Exam Pre-requisites and Prices
The minimum sea time requirements for the Advanced Exam are: 30 days, 2 days as skipper, 800 miles, 12 night hours. (if you hold the Advanced course certificate this is reduced to 20 days, 2 days as skipper, 400 miles, 12 night hours) – you must also hold an in date first aid certificate and VHF/SRC licence.
The exam costs £171 (Oct 15) and is a practical test of boat handling and pilotage. It includes an oral and written test on passage planning, chart work, tides, collision regulations, weather and safety. At least some of the test must be undertaken at night. Candidates for Advanced Power Boat certificates of competence should have theory knowledge to the level of RYA Coastal Skipper shore based syllabus.
If you don’t have your own vessel you will need to hire a suitable vessel for your exam – details on the vessel requirements can be found here
How do I apply for the Commercial Endorsement?
You will need to send the following items to the RYA Certification Dept:
- Your original certificate – either your RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate or your RYA Advanced Powerboat Certificate of Competence
- Your Professional Practices and Responsibilities certificate – this is a compulsory online course covering your responsibility as a commercial skipper
- A commercial endorsement application form
- An ML5 or ENG1 medical fitness certificate – Skippers working in category 2-6 waters require an ML5 whereas 1 or 0 waters will need the ENG1 medical.
- A copy of your RYA Basic Sea Survival certificate or STCW Personal Survival Techniques
- RYA First Aid Certificate or other acceptable first aid certificate (only required if applying for a commercial endorsement to a Day Skipper, Powerboat Level 2 or Advanced Powerboat Course Completion Certificate).
- RYA SRC Certificate or other acceptable GMDSS Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate.
- A passport sized photo with your name on the back
- The fee
Revalidating your commercial endorsement
All commercial endorsements must be revalidated every five years by proving at least 150 days of actual sea service on appropriate vessels during the previous five years, and be in possession of a valid medical fitness certificate.
Categories: Powerboat Courses