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Armed forces personnel possess many skills and characteristics sought after by the commercial shipping and maritime industry. Many former military personnel have made a successful transition to a second career in the Merchant Navy, both at sea and ashore, working as watchkeepers, in customer services, human resources, security, education or operational/logistics management. 


For watchkeeping officers there are mechanisms that permit recognition of military experience and qualifications and fast track attainment of a commercial Certificate of Competency (CoC). Download the Royal Navy to Merchant Navy transfer flow diagrams for deck officers for further guidance. Full details can be found in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1856


For RN personnel wishing to pursue a career as an engineer officer in commercial shipping, our advice would be to first write to the MCA to obtain a Letter of Initial Assessment. This sets out the exemptions given to candidates based on their prior experience in the RN (or other part of the Forces). RN personnel need to complete the MSF 4352 application. Download the Royal Navy to Merchant Navy transfer flow diagrams for engineer officers for further guidance.

Other useful links

The MCA's general applications for seafarer certificates information may be useful, depending on individual circumstances. The MCA website also has a large amount of information on training and certification for working at sea.  

ELCAS (Enhanced Learning Credits) and Solent University

You can use your credits for a variety of our maritime short courses as well as the University's undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Our Learning Provider ID is 1876, please type the name Solent University into the provider name search option on the ELCAS website.  

Visit the ELCAS website for more information and a list of our courses 

If you're looking for courses to transfer your skills for a career change, click on the links below:

Transferring skills for superyachts

The superyacht sector is driven by exemplary customer service and superyacht owners and their guests expect a first-rate experience. Delivering on this expectation requires elite professional crews and shore-based staff who are trained to the highest possible standards 

Many military skills, such as discipline, commitment, integrity, punctuality, presentation, ability to work under pressure, long hours, security awareness, and ability to take orders are often sought after by employers and are quite easily transferable to the superyacht industry.  

For RN personnel wishing to pursue a career as a deck officer or chief engineer on a yacht, the best advice is to write to the MCA first to obtain a Letter of Initial Assessment (LIA). This sets out the exemptions based on your prior experience in the RN (or other part of the Forces). 

We have helped many ex-forces personnel move into the superyacht industry and other maritime sectors. We can advise on how to obtain the LIA, as well as assist with the 'interpretation' of it. The latter sounds simple but can be occasionally a daunting task.  

The next steps to working on a superyacht: