If you are pursuing a career in the yachting industry you’ll need the right documents, in the right format, signed by the right people outlining your role onboard each vessel you’ve been signed on to.

You also need to consider which path you would like to pursue. Whether it be in the deck department, engineering department or general service department, the requirements vary and you need to know what’s needed for your particular path.

For instance, any position that does not fall under the deck department or engineering department does not actually require any official proof of sea service, as of yet. However, it is still important to keep a log of how you’ve spent your time in the industry for employment reasons, as well as keeping up with an industry that is constantly evolving with more and more regulations..

Another thing to consider is which agency to use for certification…   Should it be the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency), USCG (United States Coast Guard), AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) or some other agency for certification?

This is an important question, because each agency requires different information to be recorded while onboard a vessel, as well as different course requirements, citizenship requirements, medical forms, etc., so be sure to take this into account when logging sea service and seeking certification.

So, the agency thing…

The U.S.C.G.

The USCG only accepts US citizens, so if you aren’t a US citizen, then you can skip trying to figure out where the heck that ‘boundary line’ is so when you record your days spent at sea, you can also record how many were spent seaward and shoreward of this invisible line.

If you don’t know what I am talking about, chances are you aren’t looking to get certified by the USCG.

However, if you ARE a US citizen and would like to pursue a USCG captain’s license for an OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels) or Master 25/50/100 GT, then you’ll need a (CG 719S) Small vessel sea service form which is required to be filled out for each vessel you’ve worked on.

And for the record, you’ll probably need to consult what is referred to as 46 CFR part 7 by the coast guard, which delineates that mysterious US Boundary Line, so you can correctly record your sea service.

We also wanted to mention that CrewLog includes a downloadable copy of the Small vessel sea service form (CG 719S) in our logbook for those looking for it when signing off a vessel.



If you wish to pursue a path with the MCA, the British authority for seafarers, then your proof of sea service requirements will be a little different to that of the USCG. There is no citizenship requirement, which is one of the many reasons why we chose to base our logbook on the MCA, and we have also included MCA testimonials and discharge certificates in each logbook to help make signing off a vessel a little easier.


MCA- Deck Officers

 When signing off of a vessel, you will need to have 2 forms filled out, both of which can be found in your MSN 1858 and in your Crewlog logbooks.

  1. Testimonial- Annex E: MSN 1858- pages 33-36
  2. Discharge certificate- Annex F: MSN 1858- page 37

There is a 3rd option that would satisfy the MCA as acceptable proof of sea service and that is a PYA Service Record Book, which can be obtained by members who have paid their membership fee which is €200.

The MCA will accept testimonials and discharge certificates in formats other than that of the official MCA forms found on their website, however, all of the same information should be listed and the format should still have a signature and stamp for endorsement. The forms were updated in 2015, so be sure you understand the changes with logging standby service. You can also follow our guide to make sure you are logging things correctly.

If you would like to learn more about training modules, application procedures, exam procedures and all things MCA CoC deck related, then the MSN 1858 is your 38 page certification Bible- and you WILL need it, so save a copy to your desktop or use our copy in the footer for your reference.

MCA- Engineering officers

 There are several ways to gain certifications in the yachting industry and going into the merchant marines/merchant navy is certainly one way to get there and quite possibly the fastest, but will require equivalency exams.  If you aren’t going through the merchant navy, you’ll need your 2 forms from MSN 1859 for each vessel you work onboard:

  1. Engineering Department Testimonial– Annex C: MSN 1859– pages 28-29
  2. Engineer Yacht Certificate of Discharge- Annex D: MSN 1859– page- 30

The MSN1859 is your MCA engineering Bible, where you’ll find equivalency diagrams, oral exam requirements, module syllabuses, and everything else you’ll need for pursuing a career in engineering.

Be sure to have all sea service forms endorsed (signed and stamped), by the captain or responsible person of that vessel and before submitting them to the MCA in support of an application, don’t forget to have them verified.  You can currently use the PYA or Nautilus, both are free for members, or a pay per testimonial fee applies.

If you think you might want some help with these things, we walk you through all this and more with our logbooks. CrewLog has been designed to simplify and clarify sea service for all professional yacht crew and includes definitions, helpful hints, testimonials, discharge certificates and calculations for you as you create your logbook and it is totally free to sign up and get started. No commitment, no credit card, just help with your sea service.

If after 3 months you decide you can’t live without it, then it’s only $4.95/month- Or if you just want to keep a personal log, without all the sea service stuff, it will always be totally FREE.