Training and certification requirements for fishermen

The information contained within this section has been put together to bring to fishermens attention the training and certification requirements that currently apply to workers on all UK-registered commercial fishing vessels. It is also intended to act as a guide to career progression for commercial fishermen new to the fishing industry and who wish to progress to skippering a vessel of over 16.5m in length.


Stage 1 - New Entrant Fisherman

Mandatory certificates are required before anyone can go to sea. The first Mandatory certificate that must be undertaken before anyone is legally allowed to go to sea is.  

  • A 1Day Sea Survival Course

You then need to go on and complete the following 3 training courses within three months of having completed the Sea Survival course.

  • A 1Day Health & Safety Course
  • A 1Day Fire Fighting Course
  • A 1Day First Aid Course 

Special Note: All these mandatory courses are a part of the 3 week Introduction to Commercial Fishing (ICF) course. Information on the  3 week ICF course can be found in that particular section under seagoing training.    

Following the completion of all 4 basic courses fishermen can apply for a Photo ID New Entrants Certificate Card which is a credit card sized document listing the 4 certificates obtained.

Stage 2 - Experienced Fishermen

Once you have undertaken at least 6 months of fishing

  • A 1Day Safety Awareness course

must  be completed and must be completed within 2 years of starting fishing.

A fisherman who has completed all 5 courses and has 2 years of fishing experience is classed as an experienced fisherman and can therefore apply for a Photo ID Experienced Fisherman`s Certificate card. 

Stage 3 - Under 16.5m Skippers Certificate 

Once you have become an experienced fisherman you then have the opportunity to progress towards a Seafish under 16.5m Skippers Ticket. This is a voluntary qualification introduced by Seafish to improve safety in this sector of the fleet.

To obtain this certificate the following courses need to be completed.

  • A 2Day Stability course - Day1 Stability Awareness for Experienced Fishermen & Day2 Advanced Stability Awareness
  • A 1Day GMDSS Short Range
  • A 2Day Bridge Watch-Keeping Course (12 months service in the fishing industry is required before this course can be taken. A testimonial must be provided as evidence)
  • A 2Day Engineering Course

Note -  As from 1st Jan 2018 all fishermen will be required to complete both the 1 day Stability Awareness for Experienced Fishermen (formerly the Intermediate Stability Awareness course) and the 1-day Advanced Stability Awareness.  

Once all the courses above have been completed fishermen can then apply for their Under 16.5m (Silver) Skippers Certificate.  This certificate entitles a skipper to take control of a fishing vessel up to 20 miles off-shore. This Certificate is also know as a Restricted Ticket. 

For fishermen wishing to take control of vessels beyond 20 miles off-shore 2 additional courses need to be completed.

  • A 5Day Bridge Watch-Keeping Course (18 months service in the fishing industry is required before this course can be taken. A testimonial must be provided as evidence)
  • A 5Day Engineering Course (MCA 30 Hour Advanced Engine Course)

Once these 2 additional course have been completed fishermen can then apply for their Under 16.5m (Gold) Skippers Certificate.   This Certificate is also known as an Un-Restricted Ticket. 

Courses are delivered by our network of Approved Training Providers

In addition to basic safety training, skippers, mates and engineers working on vessels over 16.5m in length, or on vessels with a propulsive power of 750kW or more, are required to hold statutory MCA Certificates of Competency.

More details can be found in document MGN 411 (section 6) which can be found by searching MGN 411 on the MCA website.

Proof of Attendance

All Fishermen should ensure that they receive and retain certificates from courses completed. Fishermen are also encouraged to apply for the credit card size certificates issued by Seafish, these provide an easy reference and evidence of courses completed. MCA surveyors and inspectors will ask to see these cards or certificates for all crew members when conducting surveys and inspections. 

We also offer e-learning. Please see this section under Seagoing Training for more information.

We welcome all feedback on our training courses and learning materials. Please email with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.

For more information you can call us on 01472 252302.