MCA COC (Deck Officers and Engineers) are required to provide testimonials as to their sea service when applying for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE). Unverified testimonials will cause your NoE application to be delayed by around 160 days. In order to avoid this bureaucratic delay you should have your testimonials verified.
There are two organisations that are authorised by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) to verify sea time. They are Nautilus and PYA. You do not need to be a member of your chosen organisation, however they will charge non members a fee for their service. Click either of the links above to access more information.
Sea Service verification can often take a couple of weeks, or even a month so do not leave it to the last minute. One of the ways to keep the process quick is to ensure your testimonials are complete before sending them into the verifier.
- Ensure you have followed the MCA definition of sea service (below)
- Ensure the form is complete and legible
- Testimonials can not be self signed. Masters need to have testimonials signed by a management company or owner
MCA SEA SERVICE DEFINITIONS
The total sea service cannot be higher than the days you’ve been signed onto the vessel.
- ONBOARD SERVICE / YACHT SERVICE: is the time spent signed on a yacht, irrespective of the vessel activity
- SEAGOING SERVICE (aka Actual Sea Service): is time spent at sea, which may include time at anchor or river and canal transits associated with a passage, underway with the main propelling machinery in full use for at least 4h within a 24h period.
- ANCHOR TIME: Seagoing Service may include time at anchor or river and canal transits associated with a passage like a short period at anchor whilst waiting for a berth or to transit a canal or lock or other exceptional situations like harsh weather conditions or other adversities, where the depart is postponed to a later moment. This may be counted as Actual sea service but on no occasion may a period at anchor, on a buoy or mooring, exceed that of the previous voyage. On the contrary, if the period at anchor, on a buoy or mooring is at the conclusion of a passage (i.e. the vessel goes to anchor rather than to a berth) then time will be counted as Stand-by service or Onboard service. So, if the boat drops anchor
- STAND-BY SERVICE (cannot EXCEED DAYS AT SEA): is time immediately following a voyage while the vessel is under preparation for a subsequent voyage. A maximum of 14 consecutive days may be counted at one time, but on no occasion may a period of Standby service exceed that of the previous voyage.
- SHIPYARD SERVICE is time when standing by a build, refit or serious repair. Maximum 90 days per application will be taken into account for OOW 3000 (totaling from all testimonials). Regular maintenance is not to be counted as shipyard but as onboard service.
- WATCHKEEPING SERVICE (for OOW 3000 holders or higher CoC only!) is actual sea service spent as a watchkeeping officer in full charge of a navigational watch for not less than 4 out of every 24 hours while the vessel is engaged on voyage.