MCA certificate of competency for workboats over 24m

The MCA has acknowledged the increasing number of workboats over 24m in load line length by introducing STCW certificates of competency (CoCs) which allow deck and engineer officers to work on these vessels without having to hold full Merchant Navy unlimited certificates.

The MCA Master (Workboats Less Than 500GT) CoC was introduced in 2013 - details are contained in the M-Notice MGN 496. The Master 500GT CoC builds on the MCA Master 200GT (Code Vessels Less Than 200GT).

Candidates meeting the requirements will be issued with a STCW CoC limited to service in workboats of 500GT or less, with an unlimited area of operation. This will be based on the certification requirements for large yachts detailed in MSN 1858.

Manning scales

The following manning scales apply to workboats over 24m and less than 500GT.


Area - miles from safehavenRankVessel - Less than 500GT
Up to 60nmMaster and chief mateMaster Workboats < 500GT and Coastal Skipper
Up to 150nmMaster and chief mateMaster Workboats <500GT
Over 150nmMaster, chief mate and OOWMaster Workboats <500T, Master Code Vessel less than 200GT and Yachtmaster Offshore

Where appropriate, dual deck and assistant engineer roles may be considered, provided that the officer is suitably qualified in both disciplines and that the person holding the dual role is a person other than a Master.

Engineering qualifications for workboats over 24m

The small vessel engineering qualification is a combined certification structure for engineer officers wanting to work on tugs, large workboats, standby, seismic survey, oceanographic research vessels government patrol vessels, fishing vessels, or commercial yachts.

The route for certification is structured to provide a progressive career path for those in the industry to achieve small vessel engineer qualifications and will provide three certification levels:

  • Second Engineer Less than 9,000 kW, Less than 3000 GT,
  • Chief Engineer Less than 3,000 kW, less than 500 GT/ Second Engineer less than 9,000 kW, less than 3,000 GT, and
  • Chief Engineer Less than 9,000 kW, Less than 3,000 GT.

CoCArea limitationPower limitation and tonnage limitationVessel limitationSTCW Convention regulation
Second engineerUnlimitedLess than 9,000kW and less than 3,000GTFishing vessels, yachts, tugs, workboats, seismic survey, oceanographic research vessels and government patrol vesselsIII/2
Chief engineerUnlimitedChief Engineer less than 3,000kW and less than 500GTFishing vessels, yachts, tugs, large workboats, standby, seismic survey, oceanographic research vessels and government patrol vesselsIII/3
Chief engineerUnlimitedSecond engineer less than 9,000kW and less than 3,000GTFishing vessels, yachts, tugs, large workboats, standby, seismic survey, oceanographic research vessels and government control vesselsIII/2
Chief engineerUnlimitedLess than 9,000kW and less than 3,000GTFishing vessels, yachts, tugs, large workboats, standby, seismic survey, oceanographic research vessels and government patrol vesselsIII/2