Sea Service and Days at Sea

AS per MSN 1858 

Officer of the Watch (Yachts less than 3000gt)

Have (since the age of 16 years) a minimum of 36 months Onboard Yacht Service, in vessels of any size, including not less than 365 days Sea Service in vessels of 15 metres or over in loadline length, where the Sea Service is:

i. A minimum of 250 days Actual Sea Service, and

ii. The balance of 115 days any combination of the following:

  • Further Actual Sea Service

  • Stand-by Service to a maximum of 14 consecutive days in one period regardless of any further time spent standing-by. A maximum of 14 consecutive days may be counted at one time, but on no occasion may a period of standby service exceed that of the previous voyage. Therefore, under no circumstances can your total standby service exceed your actual sea service

  • Yard Service to a maximum of 90 days continuously or in separate periods


Hence you require 250 days of Actual Sea service plus either more or standby or yard!

“Actual Sea Service is time spent at sea which may include time at anchor or river and canal transits associated with a passage”

So you require 250 days of time spent at sea not attached to a dock via docklines hence a day at anchor counts as one day. A day when you left Monaco and went to Antibes is 1 day etc.

This is due to the fact that prior to the CoC you did not have time in the bridge so a day away from the dock in any situation is considered as a learning training day.

For the Master 500gt you need

Once you have the OOW ticket then you are expected when not on the dock to be running watches. As you are a qualified watchkeeper.

Hence for your Master 500gt ticket the sea requirements are different:

“Have completed a minimum of 12 months’ onboard yacht service as a deck officer, including at least 120 days watchkeeping service, in vessels of 15 metres or over in load line length while holding an OOW yachts, less than 3000 GT, II/1 Certificate of Competency;

For the Master 3000gt you need

“Have a minimum of 24 months Onboard Yacht Service as a Deck Officer, including not less than 240 days Watchkeeping Service whilst holding an accepted OOW STCW Reg. II/1 (Yachts less than 3000gt) CoC. All of this service must be completed in vessels of 15 metres or over in loadline length and include 12 months in vessels of 24 metres or over in load line length, or six months in vessels of 500gt or more”

Watchkeeping service is actual sea service spent as a watchkeeping officer in full charge of a navigational watch for not less than 4 out of every 24 hours while the vessel is engaged on voyage.

Watchkeeping service may be recorded on a cumulative basis.

This means that every 4 hours watchkeeping accrued may be counted as 1 day of watch keeping service and does not need to be completed in a 24 hour period. Time spent at anchor associated with a passage, whilst the Officer is engaged in a bridge watch and if this passage is part of the same 24 hour voyage, can also be accepted. Completing more than 4 hours watchkeeping within a 24 hour period cannot be counted as more than 1 day watchkeeping time, e.g. a 12 hour watch within a 24 hour period can only be counted as 1 day of watchkeeping time.

Proof of onboard yacht service will need to be documented in either:

  • Merchant Navy discharge book supported by testimonials (Annex E); or

  • Certificates of discharge (Annex F) supported by testimonials; or

  • Professional Yachtsmen’s Association (PYA) Service Record Book; or

  • Similar MCA-approved service record book.

April 2017 saw a new MIN 543  

Our sea service needs to be verified.

“The MCA requires evidence of qualifying sea service in support of seafarer’s applications for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) to be in the form of a correctly completed Sea Service Testimonial (SST)"

How do we do this?

2 options the PYA or Nautilus

I emailed them both and asked how to verify your sea time.
I have tried my best to explain both options below:

Click Here for PYA 

Click Here for Nautilus 

Failure to do this will cause severe processing delays of around 160 days in the issue of your NOE.

Min 543 provides further information for obtaining Sea Service Verification.