Tel.: +33 (0)4 93 34 09 67

Frequently Asked Questions

Notice of Eligibility or the re-validation of Certificates of Competency (CoC)

This document shall clarify the procedure NAUTILUS has applied to assist their members when it comes to the issue of a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) or the re-validation of their Certificate of Competency (CoC).

It does not explain the re-validation procedure or the procedure to obtain a NoE. You may refer to MSN 1861 for re-validation or MSN 1858 / 1859 for the issuing of a NoE or you may contact your local NAUTILUS office for advice.

The MCA requires evidence of qualifying sea service in support of seafarer’s applications for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) or for the renewal of a Certificate of Competency (CoC) to be in the form of a correctly completed Sea Service Testimonial (SST), signed by a Responsible Person and verified by (e.g.) Nautilus.

The MCA accepts a properly filled in NAUTILUS Service Record Book as evidence of sea service without the need to accompany this document with SSTs or Certificates of Discharge.
Quote from MIN 543:
“1.5 The MCA will continue to accept that duly signed and stamped entries of qualifying sea service declared in an approved Service Record Book (SRB) constitute prima facie evidence of such sea service and does not require additional documentation or further verification.
3.1 The process of verifying sea service will include:
3.1.1 Confirmation of the seafarer’s identity by sighting an attested copy of a valid passport as proof of identity. A copy will be retained for auditing purposes.
3.1.2 Performing checks that the SST has been completed correctly to ensure that all the required data has been entered accurately and is legible.
3.1.3 Checking that the information on the SST is plausible. The information provided in the SST will be examined for inconsistencies. Information will be compared with other data held on file to identify conflicts.
3.1.4 Obtaining confirmation from the responsible person who signed the SST that the information within it is correct. A verified copy of this correspondence must be retained for auditing purposes.”

When seafarers seek to revalidate their existing CoC or progress in their career they have to show activity related experience at work, in other words: “sea time”!
Quote from MIN 543:
“1.2 The MCA will continue to provide direct verification of sea service on individual application but seafarers must note that the response time may be subject to operational delays and will not be included in the normal MCA service standards. The MCA may take 160 days to process applications that do not include a completed … Nautilus Record Book. We may return applications where sea service is not broken down…”
Whilst in the merchant fleet the equation “on-board time = sea time” is accepted as being true the world of yachting does not enjoy such simplicity. Yachts are very often not long at sea as their ordinary merchant counterparts and the MCA has developed a more in depth system which recognizes these special needs in yachting.
It is strongly recommended using the forms found in MSN 1858 for Deck Officers or MSN 1859 / MIN 524 for Engineer Officers; Ratings in both departments use the same form as officers.
You may use a “company testimonial form” containing the same information since Nautilus is required to contact the issuer of the testimonial in order to verify its authenticity and the correctness of information stated on the testimonial (see above).
If the form you have used for your service on-board / at sea does not contain the necessary information (contact details; break down of service time, disregard of the definitions on services time..) it will at its best delay the process but in the worst case scenario your testimonial remains unverified and or your sea time might not be recognized.

Service on board a yacht is broken down into on board time, sea time and watch keeping time.
1. Service time
1.1. On board time
1.1.1. This is the time from signing your SEA or Crew Agreement until you are discharged.

2. Sea time
Sea time is broken down into:
2.1. Actual sea time
2.1.1. This is the time actually spent at sea, either on a voyage or at anchor. A day at sea has no minimum defined length in hours spent at sea per 24 hour period but you can only claim 1 day at sea for every 24 hour period.
2.2. Yard time
2.2.1. This is the time spent in a shipyard whilst working on the yacht for refit, repair etc.. A maximum of 90 days per year can be claimed to be counted towards “sea time”
2.3. Stand-by time
2.3.1. This is the time between two voyages whilst “ready to rumble”; it cannot be longer than the preceding voyage and not more than 14 days per preceding voyage.

3. Watch-keeping time
3.1. Navigational, Engineering, UMS or Anchor watch; NO harbour watch.
3.1.1. This is time spent at sea with watch keeping duties, either navigational, anchor or engine room incl. UMS watch keeping duties. Watch keeping time cannot exceed “actual sea time” and despite the fact that a day of watch keeping is accrued after 4 hour of watch keeping you can only claim one day of watch keeping in any 24 hour period.

The MCA requires this “break down” (see quote above).
If you have not served “yard time”, “stand-by time” or time on watch, just figure it at “0 days” in your testimonials.

For more details on definitions or anything else relating to the above, please refer to the appropriate MSN / MGN / MIN.

What we expect you to do:
· Please fill your SRB as you would fill in a Discharge Book (or get the issuer of your SST doing this for you),
· then get it endorsed on board – meaning stamped and signed by the Master, Staff Captain, Chief Engineer, Purser, Manager or Owner.

Note that self-signed testimonials are not accepted by the MCA.
· Join the SST to your SRB (the certificate of discharge is not needed) and
· bring or send both, SST and SRB to the appropriate Nautilus office.

In order to speed up the process and keep turnaround time short, we encourage every member to send a scan of your testimonial to us as soon as it is issued to you:
If you send a scan of your SST shortly after it has been issued to you to us, NAUTILUS, we can start the verification process based on the information received immediately. Later, when receiving SRB and SST in paper form only the “final step” is needed:

The NAUTILUS official will compare the already verified content of scan with the paper copy sent and compare the SRB entry you or a responsible person has made with the content of the corresponding testimonial. If no discrepancies are found, the SRB entry can be endorsed as verified immediately and the endorsed testimonials and SRB are sent back to you immediately after reception.

The advantage is that Captains, Managers or any other person authorized to issue SSTs have not moved on (yet), their memory is fresh, supporting documents are still on board, contact details are valid, phone numbers still work, e-mail accounts have not been abandoned, etc….
The office currently dealing with SRB / SST verification is in Antibes. The address is found on the front cover and on page two of your SRB; e-mail:
Generally turnaround time is short; less than two weeks.

Hints and glitches:
· The turnaround time varies with workload and the quality how the testimonial was filled.
· Handwriting is sometimes not only difficult to decipher, e-mail addresses don’t work properly with “typos” due to ambiguities resulting from handwriting.
· Those testimonials which date back several years are generally more difficult to verify.
· Missing contact details delay the verification, i.e. The use of P.O. boxes for contacting the company require “snail mail” procedures which we avoid using since P.O. Boxes are generally either not regularly monitored or it takes weeks before receiving an answer, if any…
· E-mail addresses are expected to be, or similar; e-mail accounts like or can also be used, a ship’s phone number is also useful.
the point is the “genuine /obvious link” between the issuer of the testimonial and the e-mail provided for verification purposes.
· E-mail accounts like or are unacceptable for verification purposes.
· Inconsistent testimonials delay the verification, i.e. watch keeping time exceeds sea time, each stand-by time is not listed per voyage (yes!), yard time claimed is more than 90 days per year etc….

Do I need STCW basic training to get a job on a yacht?

Yes, All (paid) crew working on commercially (but very often privately as well) registered vessels need the STCW basic safety training (in date) and a medical fitness certificate in the UK known as ENG1.

Do you have the address of an MCA qualified doctor for the ENG1?

There are 3 doctors in the South of France

Dr Jolanda Weerts
Vallis Bona
4D Place de la Vignasse
06560 Valbonne
Tel:+33(0)4 97 25 71 16

Dr Lefebvre
69 Boulevard Wilson
Juan Les Pins
Tel:+33 (0)4 92 93 07 70


Dr Patrick Ireland
1913 Route de Cannes
Tel:+33 (0)4 93 12 95 66


Dr B Lavagne
“Le Vendome” C
4 Chemin du Tanit
Juan Les Pins Antibes
Tel:+33 (0)4 93 67 03 07

Are the examination fees included in the course price?

For exams where the fee is paid directly to the examiner or exam authority the exam fee is not included to avoid the candidate paying an additional 20% VAT.

Do you provide accommodation?

No, but we can provide a list of crew accommodation in Antibes

How do I apply for a CEC?

STCW requires that each Administration shall establish measures to ensure that seafarers who present, for recognition, certificates issued under the provisions of regulation II/2, III/2 or III/3, have an appropriate knowledge of the maritime legislation of the Administration relevant to the functions they are permitted to conform.

We offer a course that deals with “United Kingdom Legal and Administrative Processes” in other words, the knowledge required by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for the recognition of STCW certificates issued by non-British authorities.

You need to make an application to the MCA, enclosing a testified copy of your French license, CGO, Passport and Marlins and Tose test of English (we can do all this in our office) Please note the MCA will need 4 weeks to process the paperwork and send your notice of assessment.

Once you have the notice of assessment you can apply to the Scottish Qualification Authority for an exam date for the written UKLAP exam, it is a good idea to ask for an exam date to coincide with the end of the exam preparation.

The costs involved are as follows:

D and B Services course and Marlins/TOSE test: 550€

MCA (£76) and SQA exam fee (£170)

Total approximately 850 €

Note: For a Cayman Island CeC the procedure is similar, but there is no course, just an exam in our premises

How do I revalidate my RYA Yachtmaster Commercial Endorsement?

Send the following items to RYA Certification, RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Hampshire SO31 4YA:

  • Your original certificate
  • Your Professional Practices and Responsibilities certificate (If you do not have this we can offer this online course for 50.00 euro)
  • ENG1 (or other accepted) medical fitness certificate
  • A copy of your RYA Basic Sea Survival certificate ideally a STCW Personal Survival Techniques Certificate of Proficiency.
  • STCW Elementary first aid certificate
  • RYA SRC Certificate or other acceptable GMDSS Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate.
  • A passport sized photo with your name on the back
  • The fee

All the above information can be found on the RYA website:

What is the cancellation policy for courses booked with D and B Services?

If the student cancels the course for other reasons than health or work commitment (proof), the deposit will not be refundable unless a replacement is found / provided. Cancellation after the course started will not be accepted; the full fee remains payable. D and B Services is not responsible for any personal loss / damage caused to students who are advised to arrange her / his own insurance in this regard. In order to receive a course completion certificate the student must attend at least 80 % of the course.

What to expect for your Yachtmaster Practical exam

This practical help guide is written by Ian Jinks, RYA Examiner for Sail, Motor, Powerboat and Ocean
lecturer for DandB Crew Training.

Most students find any examination process stressful, and the Yachtmaster unfortunately is no exception. Stress can only be lessened if you are well prepared, and have some expectation of what will be required of you. Hopefully, this post will help with the latter!

As an RYA Examiner, my goal is to try to get the candidates to perform to their best ability during the exam, and I try to do this by communicating as effectively as possible. I will always strive to ensure that the student understands what I have requested, but if in any doubt, YOU must be clear on what has been asked. All examiners will be happy to repeat, or clarify what they need, but are not expecting to tell you how to do it!

I always start off each exam by ensuring that the examination forms are completed, photos ready, and you are ready to sit the exam. Examiners generally prefer well organised candidates who have got all of their documentation ready, all completed, rather than having to do it during the examiners time, hopefully you can read between the lines here!

My next point is to run through the Exam Report Form. I show all of my candidates, without fail, the report form. I do this to show the candidate what I have to complete after the exam, and I do this for two reasons:
1) I can show the areas that I must assess during the exam.
2) I can state that I have to write something positive into each of those boxes on the form, and nothing negative, in order for me to recommend you for a pass.

I normally leave the form for all to see during the exam, and most candidates are therefore fully capable of understanding how they are doing during the exam.

The exam report has 9 sections:


  • Preparation of boat and crew
  • Passage planning


  • Boat handling
  • Pilotage


  • Seamanship and boat handling
  • Navigation and chartwork


  • Meteorology

Yachtmaster Exam Report Form

The largest of these boxes, and ultimately the most important is the overall ability as skipper. The performance during the exam is an overall performance, and provided you do nothing dangerous in any of the others, a pass is still the likely outcome if you remain calm and in command. At the end of the day, is more important that you clearly communicate and make safe decisions, vs knowing every single word from the rule of the road.

Remember, help your Examiner out to give them something positive to say in each of the boxes. Something simple like using sound signals whilst going astern, or going around a blind bend in a marina show the Examiner you know IRPCS!! Simple win for you and the Examiner.

As an RYA Examiner, I often feel sorry for some of the schools and their instructors, who have to teach students who have made absolutely no effort to learn for themselves. After teaching Yachtmaster Preparation Courses for many years, my opening line as an instructor was:

“If your here to do your Yachtmaster, I am assuming you are already have that knowledge. This week, i will show you techniques that may be done during the exam with the examiner. I cannot teach you the whole Yachtmaster Syllabus in 5 days”
For those of you who are looking to attend a “prep” course shortly, you will be advised to revise the following thoroughly before attending the course:

  1. COLREGS – All lights and shapes as a minimum. All sound signals. Risk of Collison. Who gives way to who? Action to avoid collision. Most of this is just a memory test, and impossible for even the best instructor to stuff it in your brain in a few days!
  2. Buoyage – IALA A and B, all of it!
  3. Navigation – Be able to do a Course to Steer, and Estimated Position, and a Tidal Height for a Standard Port. (All of this to be at least day skipper standard, or you wont pass your YM with only 1 week prep)
  4. Metoerology – Know the basics

If you learn all of this stuff, either by doing extra courses before you arrive, or study at home or on your yacht, you will have a better chance of passing first time. Do not blame the school that they didn’t teach you it, as prospective Yachtmasters, you should already know it.

Finally, if you prepare yourself well, perform well and continue to study during your prep course, your exam will be a much more enjoyable experience.

Your Examiner will normally be doing this because they enjoy getting out on the water, so think about the fact that you are taking them for a cruise, perhaps with their family, and do so safely.

STCW 2010 (Manila Amendments) - What is changing?

The STCW Convention 1978 has been amended by the 2010 Manila Amendments and contains new training requirements. Between 1 July 2013 and 1 January 2017 (as appropriate), all seafarers will be required to undertake additional training in compliance with these Manila Amendments and hold the requisite certification:

  • Officer of the Watch (Yachts, less than 3,000GT) candidates will be required to complete a five day Efficient Deck Hand course.
  • Officer of the Watch candidates (unlimited or yachts) will be required to complete a three day Human Element, Leadership and Management (Operational Level) course, if they are applying for their Certificate of Competency after 31 August 2013.
  • Chief Mate candidates (unlimited or yachts) will be required to complete a five day Human Element, Leadership and Management (Management Level) course, if they are applying for their Certificate of Competency after 31 August 2013.
  • All deck officers (including yachts) will need to undertake a five day generic Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) course before either applying for or revalidating their UK Certificate of Competency.
  • From 1 January 2014, mandatory security training is required for all crew (as appropriate), including Maritime Security Awareness, Security Familiarisation Training (conducted on board the vessel), Proficiency in Designated Security Duties and Proficiency as Ship Security Officer.