Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember

Course Length 18 – 24 months
Course Cost £22,000 (paid by the employer via Government funding)
Apprentice Requirements
  • Enthusiasm and a willingness to learn your chosen trade.
  • Dedication and commitment to coursework and the job.
  • English and Maths to GCSE (or equivalent) grade C or 4. If not, SeaRegs
    will assist you in gaining these qualifications during the Apprenticeship.
  • MCA’s ENG1 medical (employer pays for this after your successful interview).

Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember are often part of a 2-3 person team, working on a wide variety of specialist vessels ranging from tugs and workboats to fast pilot boats and crew transfer vessels taking personnel out to vessels or installations offshore. 

Workboats operate in varying marine environments, such as the construction of offshore wind farms or providing a range of services within ports or inland waterways, including surveys and towage, support vessels in major salvage operations and wreck removal. These vessels are typically less than 24m in length, with accommodation for up to 5 persons.

The Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember Apprentice program incorporates all aspects of the Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember Apprenticeship Standard and additional RYA/MCA qualifications over two years. 

By the end of the Apprenticeship, a Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember will be able to do the following:

  • Communications – including use of VHF and UHF radios.
  • Navigation and vessel handling – the ability to manoeuvre the workboat and check position using bridge equipment. 
  • Berthing – bring workboat alongside and handling mooring ropes to secure the workboat.
  • Towing operations and laying moorings.
  • Personnel transfers – ensuring all precautions are taken to allow the safe transfer to other boat or structure.
  • Cargo handling – assist in slinging of loads, crane operations.

Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember apprentices at SeaRegs also gain a Skippers licence for commercial vessels under 24m giving the opportunity to a career pathway to higher-level skippers certificates. 

By the end of the training, apprentices should have the required underpinning knowledge, have the relevant sea service to gain a recognised skippers certificate for commercial vessels up to 24min length and have a host of recognised certificates that employers around the world require.

Timings may alter slightly due to weather conditions, practical aspects of the course and employer schedules.

Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember Mandatory Courses

  1. STCW Basic Safety Courses: Personal Survival Techniques, Firefighting and Fire Prevention, Emergency First Aid, Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities
  2. STCW Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  3. VHF/SRC Radio Operator Licence
  4. RYA Coastal/Yachtmaster shore based certificate
  5. RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence
  6. MCA Approved Engine Course (AEC) Parts 1&2
  7. MCA 1 day Stability
  8. MCA Small Ships Navigation and Radar or SQA Use of Radar for Collision Avoidance
  9. SQA Operate Non ECDIS Electronic Chart Systems
  10. MCA compliant Food Safety
  11. Manual Handling
  12. Marine Hydraulic Loader Crane Operators certificate
  13. Slinger and Signaller’s certificate
  14. SQA Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies: Workboats
  15. Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level before taking their endpoint assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.

Additional training courses will be conducted to cover knowledge, skills and behaviour for the end-point assessment.


You will gain an understanding of types of equipment, workboat activities, basic navigation and watchkeeping, weather and sea state, VHF radio communications, setting up a towline, emergency procedures, water survival techniques, safe working practices (to statutory and industry regulations), meal preparation hygiene, workboat stability, onboard machinery maintenance, IT systems and security regulations.


You will be taught how to take responsibility for your personal safety and for others on board, how to respond to a wide range of emergency situations, maintain and operate life-saving and fire fighting equipment, administer first aid, steer a workboat in an emergency, load and unload cargo, operate winches and mooring equipment, assist in deck operations, maintain the workboat’s machinery and engines, crew meal preparation and to update maintenance and engine records.


You will be expected to behave in the following manner; follow instructions immediately during an emergency, appreciate the need for safety on board, carry out your duties to the best of your ability, work flexibly, work as part of a team, be considerate to other crew members and to protect the environment from marine pollution wherever possible.

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