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The MCA release an update to the structure and requirements of Boatmasters’ Qualifications, Crew and Hours of Work

Published on: 08 December 2021

The MCA release an update to the structure and requirements of Boatmasters’ Qualifications, Crew and Hours of Work

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have released MSN 1853 (M) Amendment 1 which contains changes to the Boatmasters’ Qualifications, Crew and Hours of Work regulations.


MSN 1853 describes the structure and requirements of “The Merchant Shipping (Boatmasters’ Qualifications, Crew and Hours of Work) Regulations 2015” which applies to the masters of all passenger and non-passenger vessels operating in the UK.


The most recent amendment removes references to terms derived from EU law such as ‘Boatmaster Certificates’ (BMC) and ‘Rhine Navigation Licences’ contained in the Merchant Shipping Notice. It removes the ability to issue UK boatmasters’ certificates for use on inland waterways of EEA States and the recognition of EEA-issued boatmasters’ certificates and Rhine Navigation Licences by the UK. 


The following sections have been amended to remove references: 

  • The application and Scope of BMC's were previously noted in section 2 (Pages 3-4); 
  • The use of alternative qualifications, including the Rhine Navigation Licence, was previously noted in sections 3 - 4, (pages 4 - 7) and Annex 4 (page 33); 
  • The certificates available previously were listed in section 5 (page 8); The requirements were previously noted in sections 9 - 17 (pages 11 - 17); 
  • Further information on BMC qualifying requirements was contained in Annex 7 (page 41).
These updates bring the guidance in line with Statutory Instrument (SI).No 2019/808 (The Merchant Shipping (Inland Waterways) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019), in order to ensure that it provides accurate guidance for boatmaster licensing and technical requirements for inland waterway vessels after the UK leaves the EU. It also contains various minor grammatical and numerical changes/corrections which have been made to this notice which do not alter the detail of the text within.

MSN 1853 amendment 1 can be downloaded here .