If you want to work in a commercial environment and take up to 12 paying passengers to sea in a vessel of up to 24m then it is a legal requirement to hold an RYA/MCA certificate of competence with a commercial endorsement. That shows that you have undergone additional training, a practical examination and a medical fitness test to operate a commercial vessel. The level of endorsement you hold determines the categories of water you can operate in. 

The RYA Level 2 Powerboat can be commercially endorsed to operate in Category 6 waters. This category is defined as within 3 miles of a nominated departure point, and never more than 3 miles from land, in favourable weather and daylight.

The RYA Advanced Powerboat (with exam) can be commercially endorsed to operate in Category 3 waters, once the holder has more than 2 years relevant experience. This category is defined as up to 20 miles from a safe haven.

For categories above this, the Yachtmaster Offshore can be endorsed to operate up to 150 miles from a safe haven and the Yachtmaster Ocean can be endorsed to operate worlwide.

Commercial vessels are also required to be surveyed and certified before being used commercially, and their size and level of equipment determines the category of water they can operate in, as well as the level of qualification and commercial endorsement held by the skipper.

How to commercially endorse your qualification

In addition to your powerboat qualification, you will need to complete the following courses:

Once the qualification has been attained, and the additional training completed, an application can be made to the RYA to issue the commercial endorsement. Send the following items to RYA Certification, RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Hampshire SO31 4YA:

  • Your original certificate - Powerboat Level 2 or Advanced exam
  • Your Professional Practices and Responsibilities certificate
  • A commercial endorsement application form
  • Your original, completed ML5 medical fitness formNote: We can only accept the latest version of the ML5 form (currently MSF 4112 / Rev 0916). Skippers working in category 1 or 0 waters will need the ENG1 medical. A list of approved doctors can be found on the MCA website.See note below on medical referrals.
  • A copy of your RYA Basic Sea Survival certificate or STCW Personal Survival Techniques
  • A copy of your First Aid Certificate (only required if applying for a commercial endorsement to a Day Skipper, Powerboat Level 2 Powerboat Handling or Advanced Powerboat Course Completion Certificate).
  • A copy of your RYA Marine Radio SRC Certificate or other acceptable GMDSS Marine Radio Operator's Certificate.
  • A passport sized photo with your name on the back
  • The application fee

Medical Referrals

If you are submitting an ML5 Medical Report Form and Certificate and the Doctor has entered any ticks within the sections 1-9 or comments in section 9, your medical will need to be referred to the MCA, and they will not accept any medicals which are more than one year old. Please contact the RYA Certification Department for further details on 023 8060 414