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You’ve made the big decision, have started looking at yachting related websites and facebook pages, and you keep coming across these two intriguing acronyms. Here’s the lowdown on STCW and ENG1…


The IMO‘s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers was organised in 1978 to “promote the safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers.”

Seafarers are since required to partake in a course generally known as the STCW95/10 Basic Safety Training. The ’95 and ’10 refer to amendments that have been made to the convention since ’78.

The course is designed to ensure all seafarers (meaning those working on yachts but also oil tankers, cruise-liners…) have a basic understanding of first aid, fire fighting and how to deal with other emergencies at sea. The course is pretty intense, as in: you will actually be donning a fire suit and be put into a container with a life fire together with other team mates to extinguish the fire! 

To work onboard a vessel, you will need to do this course. There’s no way around it. And isn’t it great to know that everyone on board has done some form of first aid/emergency training?!


The all famous ENG1, also known as seafarer’s medical. Basically, you need to go and have yourself checked out by a doctor to prove you are “fit” for service. Fit obviously doesn’t refer to having that sixpack or doing 100m in less than 10 seconds… It’s more about making sure that your sight and hearing is all right, and all your vitals are in check. The ENG1 is the MCA’s medical certificate and is widely recognised and accepted in the industry. Even though it is the MCA’s, it is accepted on about every single yacht, whether the flag is MCA/UK or not. The MCA also accepts equivalents from other countries such as Spain and Norway (full list here) but if possible, get the ENG1 as everyone knows it.

You’ll find a list of doctors who can do an ENG1 in the UK, here. The list of doctors outside of the UK is here.

What’s next?

Obtaining your STCW and ENG1 are the two basic steps towards a career in yachting. If you’ve got the funds and the time I would highly recommend doing some extra courses, to set you apart from the other 1000s of yachting-wannabe’s hitting the Mediterranean and Caribbean shores every year.

Talking about hitting the shores, here’s some more info on where to go and when to go there.

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