A Guide to Courses

Our primary aim is to provide safety training courses for the seagoing sector of the sea fish industry. We provide Seafish and MCA STCW95 approved basic safety courses to enable new entrants and experienced fishermen to meet with the mandatory requirements for all crews of commercial fishing vessels registered in the UK. There are approx. 700 vessels in NI.


However as all our courses are compliant with MCA codes of practice, we offer courses to all vessel operators.

Detailed information on the mandatory requirements can be found in: Marine Guidance Notice 411 – mgn_411(m +f)


The following information is intended to provide general guidance on the main training courses and qualifications available to fishermen. You should refer to the information on individual courses for more details on entry requirements, course content cost etc.

Mandatory Courses

Mandatory Courses – one day courses approved by Seafish and MCA as the legal requirements for working onboard fishing vessels.


A new entrant is a person who is for the first time gainfully employed or engaged as a crew member on a commercial fishing vessel registered in the UK. Before starting work as a fisherman all new entrants must have completed the following mandatory course:


1 day basic sea survival / Personal Survival Techniques STCW95.

Within 3 months of starting work, all new entrant fishermen must complete the following additional mandatory courses:


  • 1 day Basic Fire Fighting and Prevention;
  • 1 day Basic First Aid/ Elementary First Aid STCW95; and
  • 1 day Basic Health and Safety (new entrants)


Upon completion of these 4 mandatory courses, new entrants are recommended to apply to Seafish Industry Authority for a New Entrant photo identification card verifying their compliance with these requirements.


Experienced Fishermen – An experienced fisherman is defined as a fisherman who has been working as a fisherman for 2 years or more. In addition to the courses required of new entrants (above), all experienced fishermen regardless of whether they hold a Certificate of Competency, must complete the following mandatory course:


1 day Safety Awareness

Upon completion of this course, experienced fishermen are recommended to apply to Seafish for an Experienced Fisherman photo identification card verifying their compliance with this requirement.


Please note:-


Fishermen who joined a UK fishing vessel for the first time after 1 January 2005 and before to 1 June 2014 and did not undertake the UK Basic Health and Safety course do not have to complete this course provided that they:
a) have completed the UK Safety Awareness and Risk Assessment course
b) can demonstrate the date of joining a UK vessel prior to 2014 to the satisfaction of an MCA surveyor.


For further information on each course, please click on the links/ course pages at the top of this page.


STCW’95 Basic Safety Training

For those working or wanting to work in the maritime industry outside the fishing industry it is necessary to fulfil the requirements for STCW’95 regulations by completing:

Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, Elementary First Aid, Personal Survival Techniques, Basic Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention (and proficiency in Security awareness if required).


SFITA (NI) Ltd are approved to offer STCW’95 Certified Basic Safety Training courses in Personal Survival Techniques and Elementary First Aid. We can direct you to your nearest STCW’95 approved training centre for the Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities course and the more advanced Basic Fire Fighting and Prevention course as it is slightly different to the one required for the fishing industry.

Under 16.5m Skipper Training

The Under 16.5m Skippers ticket can be completed after 18 months of proven sea time. Fishermen can apply to Seafish for the skippers ticket once the following training courses have been completed:


Basic Safety Training
Personal Survival Techniques STCW 95/ Sea Survival
Elementary First Aid STCW 95 / Basic 1st Aid for Fishermen
Fire Fighting and Prevention for Fishermen
Safety Awareness for Fishermen


Further Training
2/5 day Navigation and Watchkeeping course*
30 hr AEC (Advanced Engineering Course)
1 day Intermediate Fishing Vessel Stability course
GMDSS Short Range (Radio Operator) Certificate


*In respect to Navigation and Watchkeeping – the difference between the 5 day and the 2 day watchkeeping course, is that the 5 day course allows you to fish beyond 30nm from a safe haven; and take out up to 12 passengers to a maximum of 20nm from a safe haven. The 2 day course however only allows you to fish up to 30nm from a safe haven and carry up to 12 passengers out to a maximum of 3nm from a safe haven. Due to the enhanced content and broader benefits of the 5 day course we tend to offer this course more frequently.


Please note: that the qualifications gained apply to the person and not the vessel – i.e. The vessel will have to meet other legal requirements.


Acceptance of under 16.5m Skippers Certificates for small commercial vessel operations

The Under 16.5m Skippers Certificate is recognised by the MCA for use on Small Commercial Vessels as follows:

Under 16.5m Skippers Certificate (beyond 20 miles) may be used on Small Commercial Vessels operating up to Area Category 3 (up to 20 miles from a safe haven);

Under 16.5m Skippers Certificate (up to 20 miles) may be used on Small Commercial Vessels operating up to Area Category 6 (up to 3 miles from a nominated departure point named in the certificate and never more than 3 miles from land, in favourable weather and daylight).



Full details on the ‘Training and Certification Requirements for the Crew of Fishing Vessels and their Applicability to Small Commercial Vessels and Large Yachts’ can be found in: Marine Guidance Note 411