The MCA proposes to remove the requirement of the MCA/RYA Endorsement on ML5 Medical Fitness Certificates

Published on: 01 September 2022


The MCA is seeking industry views on its proposal to remove the requirement of the MCA/RYA Endorsement on ML5 Medical Fitness Certificates.

An ML5 medical report and certificate is required for those who are: 

  • the master of a non-seagoing passenger ship (Class IV or V), 
  • the master of a commercial non-seagoing vessel, 
  • the master and crew of a small commercial vessel (under 24 metres, carrying no more than 12 passengers) going no more than 60 miles from shore, 
  • crew or other employee (like a steward, security guard, caterer) on a domestic seagoing passenger ship (Class VI or VI(A)), 
  • from November 2023, those working on fishing vessels under 24m in length, that are not subject to inspection in a foreign port, are not at sea for more than 72 hours and are operating no more than 200 miles from the coastline of the UK or beyond the Continental shelf. 

The MCA’s Proposal

On the current ML5 certificate, there is a requirement for either the MCA Marine Office or RYA to endorse the ML5 certificate if the applicant is applying for a Boatmaster’s License (BML) or RYA License with commercial endorsement. This adds an extra step in the process as the ML5 certificate is sent directly to the seafarer to speed up the result. However, the seafarer then has to take or send the ML5 certificate to the correct office for endorsement. This step was removed during the pandemic when Marine Offices and RYA were not open to the public, and this did not cause any issues. 

Having referred to the relevant MCA Boat Codes, and discussed with MCA Marine Office colleagues and those at RYA, we can see no regulatory reason as to why this endorsement is needed. Instead, we believe it may be a historical requirement from when ML5s were issued as fitness letters rather than ML5 certificates. Now that an ML5 certificate is issued, the stamp of the issuing doctor is sufficient evidence of the validity of the fitness certificate. 

To this end, we propose to remove the requirement for the ML5 certificate to be endorsed for those applying for BMLs and RYA commercially endorsed qualifications, and remove this section from the ML5 certificate altogether. 

We believe that this will benefit seafarers who will no longer need to submit their ML5 certificate to their local MCA Marine Office or to the RYA to have this endorsement issued. 

Your comments

The MCA is asking for your comments on the above proposal to be submitted to no later than Friday 30 September.

Alternatively please send any comments you have on the above proposal to the British Marine Technical team via

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