Important Training For Professional Yachting Officer of the Watch: OOW

Obtaining your Maritime Coastguard Agency, MCA-approved Officer of the Watch certificate is not an easy task. It requires a lot of dedication in seagoing service, training and education programs approved by MCA to ensure your safety and the safety of the crew on board.

Basic Safety Training

First, you must complete an introductory safety training course which covers the following areas;

  • Fire fighting and prevention
  • Personal safety and social responsibilities
  • Personal survival
  • Elementary first aid
  • Security awareness proficiency

Relevant Organizations Related To OOW Certification

·        The RYA

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA)  qualifies examiners, provides examinations and issues RYA Yachtmaster Certificates of Competence to candidates undertaking the OOW course in the UK.

·        The IYT

The  International Yacht Training Worldwide (IYT) also qualifies examiners, provides examinations and issues IYT Master of Yachts CoC.

  • Both organizations, the RYA and IYT, validate training centres that provide the training.

Maritime Coastguard Agency recognizes the following Yachtmaster certificates:

  • RYA Yacht Master Coastal
  • IYT Master of Yachts Coastal
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore;
  • IYT Master of Yachts Limited
  • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean
  • IYT Master of Yachts Unlimited

RYA Yachtmaster Certificates

  • RYA Yachtmaster certificates are commercially endorsed for you to work onboard British vessels subject to the MCA’s codes of practice for small commercial vessels.

IYT Yachtmaster Certificates

  • IYT Certificate of Competency, CoC, requires no endorsement for use in the commercial sector. While the Maritime Coastguard Agency, MCA, recognizes these qualifications for use on less than 200 GT yachts in areas specified on the certificate, it cannot guarantee international recognition. If you hold these certificates, you should check the certification requirements.

Officer of the Watch (OOW) yachts, less than 3000 GT, unlimited area

To qualify for the issue of CoC, you must meet the following requirements;

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Must hold RYA Yachtmaster certificate Offshore and a certificate of successful completion of a shore-based Yachtmaster Offshore course.


  • An IYT Master of Yachts Limited certificate
  • Since the age of 16, you must have obtained a minimum of 36 months’ onboard yacht service, including at least 365 days of seagoing service on vessels of 15 metres in load line length. Of these, 250 days are for actual seagoing service, Ninety of which are in the yard and 14 consecutive days on standby.
  • You must hold an MCA-approved Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) certificate.
  • Have the applicable ancillary course certificates.

Education and Training

Completion of approved education and training that meets the standards of competency identified by the MCA from section A-II/1 of the Standard Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping, STCW, Code as applicable to a restricted yacht Certificate of Competency and covered by successful completion of;

  • MCA-approved’ Navigation and Radar (OOW yachts)
  • MCA-approved’ General Ship Knowledge, GSK, (OOW yachts)’ training module and passed the written examination.

You will need to have a yacht Training Record Book that should record at least six months during your training. The book should show tasks executed and signed off by your supervisor, the Captain. However, with 36 months of seagoing service, you may not need to fill the training record book.

  • You have to pass your medical fitness test, ENG1
  • Finally, you have to pass the OOW (yachts less than 3000 GT) oral examination.

The approved and endorsed certifications are essential. They give you credit as a qualified officer to work in a specific type of vessel and a particular area of specialization. Also, the certifications determine the tonnage restrictions of the ship based on your training.

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