Seafarers experience and licenses

Rating: all ratings do not require academy or university education, they only require the following courses:

  • Basic training courses
    • Elementary First Aid (BFA)
    • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (PSSR)
    • Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques (BPS)
    • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (BFF)
  • Ship security awareness: this course is dedicated to rating level as introduction to security

After ratings get the five above courses they should proceed to get the following from the authority they want

  • Seaman book: seaman book for seafarers serves as the passport for normal people, it includes the position of the seafarers onboard, here the rating

Exactly as in ship registration, the seafarer can obtain his seaman book from any country in the work in a condition that this country accept to issue seaman books for foreigners

  • Security awareness endorsement: this endorsement is a certificate issued by the authority certifying he that the course they have is recognized by them
    1. All officers (both deck and engine dept.)
      • Ranks require all courses mentioned above based on their rank onboard, for example. Detailed requirements are summarized in the following matrix

Seafarers are upgrading from rank to rank according to their service experience as per the following:

  • Master:
    • Sea service as chief mate for 12 months plus 12 months as deck officer OR
    • 36 months as deck officer
    • Training courses as per STCW
    • Masters get upgrading to the same size of the ship they certified for
    • For vessels below 500 GRT, only 12 months of sea service is required
  • Chief officer:
    • 12 months’ sea service
    • STCW courses as management level
  • Other deck officers:
    • 12 months’ sea service as deck office of lower rank or same rank as part of approved training program under approved training center or
    • 36 months’ sea service as deck office of lower rank or same rank
    • STCW course
  • Ratings:
    • Sea service as navigational watch for 6 months
    • Rating forming part of navigation watch course
  • Able seaman:
    • 18 months’ sea service in deck dept.
  • Chief engineer:
    • For vessels more than 3000 KW engine: 36 months’ sea service as engineer officer
    • For vessels between 750 KW and 3000 KW: 24 months’ sea service
    • STCW courses
  • Second Engineer:
    • 12 months’ sea service
    • STCW courses
  • Other engine officers:
    • 30 months’ sea service
    • STCW courses
  • Electrical engineers:
    • 36 months’ sea service in a combined workshop skills training, 30 months of them as engine officer
  • Engine ratings:
    • 6 months’ sea service
    • STCW courses
  • Able seaman in Engine dept.:
    • 12 months’ sea service or
    • 6 months training program
  • Electrician:
    • 12 months’ sea service or
    • 6 months training program


After a seafarer obtain the above mentioned courses and sea service required, he then apply for the authority to get the following licenses

  • Certificate of competency (COC): specifies the positions and duties onboard
  • GMDSS operator license: GOC
  • Seaman book