Chartership FAQs

What is Chartership?

Chartership is a marque of excellence, indicating that the holder has reached the highest level of their profession. The Chartered Master Mariner scheme introduces the concept to the seafaring profession for the first time.

What are the benefits of Chartership?

As the gold standard for achievement and professional recognition, the Chartered Master Mariner scheme brings maritime into line with other respected professional sectors. Those awarded chartered status will have shown exceptional capability over a wide range of disciplines, marking them out as self-motivated individuals who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Who can become a Chartered Master Mariner?

Before an application for Chartered Master Mariner status will be considered the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they hold, or have held, the highest level of maritime command qualification that their State is legally able to issue.

For mercantile States that are STCW compliant, the current minimum qualification for meeting the application essential criteria is an STCW II/2 Master (Unlimited) Certificate of Competency. For the avoidance of doubt, STCW II/2 Master (Unlimited) shall mean any equivalent predecessor and/or its successor.

Non-mercantile high-level command qualifications may, in certain circumstances, be considered. It is, however, for the applicant to make the case for equivalency if offering State issued high-level command qualifications that are non-STCW compliant.

Regardless of the circumstances, any decision regarding the acceptability of non-STCW (or successor) compliant qualifications will always lie with the Court of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners.

Am I eligible?

Chartership is looking for ‘exceptional’ performance and individual contributions to the industry. It is for applicants to define what is ‘exceptional’ and show how they are ‘outstanding’ in their workplace and the wider environment. How applicants can justify and demonstrate these requirements will help assessors judge their proximity to these criteria and, ultimately, their suitability for Chartership.

There is no ‘prescribed’ route to Chartership and development towards acquiring Chartered status is not about being guided or spoon-fed. Chartership is more likely to be achieved by those who have taken control and ownership of their lives and assumed responsibility for their personal development, goals, ambitions and life objectives.

How do I apply?

Initial enquiries, requests for application forms and completed application forms should be sent to:

The Nautical Institute, 
202 Lambeth Road,

Tel: +44 (0)20 7928 1351

Fax: +44 (0)20 7401 2817

Email: [email protected]

What happens next?

A special Nautical Institute sub-committee evaluates the application. If it meets the criteria, the applicant’s skills, aptitude and industry experience are assessed in more depth and the application passed to an independent Registration Authority (RA – see below). An RA panel interviews the applicant, either in person or by video conferencing, for about an hour. Finally, the application is thoroughly scrutinised by the chartership scheme’s consulting organisations. If this stage is passed successfully, the candidate can be awarded Chartered Master Mariner status.

Is there an exam?

No, but the selection procedure is rigorous. Candidates will need to give details of two referees prepared to support their application. Membership of a professional body is not essential, but may help an applicant. 

How long will an application take?

To ensure that only the worthiest candidates are accorded this honour and to guarantee complete fairness, every application will undergo meticulous analysis and scrutiny. The full process, from initial application to successful completion, may take many months. 

How much will it cost?

The schedule of latest applicable fees and the methods of payment should be carefully checked before submitting an application.

The fee structure is as follows:

- Application Fee – to be submitted with initial application (non-refundable).

- Registration Fee – will be requested on successful completion of the PRI.

- Annual re-Registration Fee – will be requested annually along with Registrant’s CPD.

For details of the latest application fees, please check the CMMar Payment Form

Only the initial application fee should be submitted with the application.

Costs incurred in having qualifications or other supporting evidence notarised or witnessed by appropriate Registration Authority related organisations will be for the candidates own account.  Registration Authority witnessing is significantly cheaper than having the documents notarised.

What happens when my application is accepted?

If the application has been successful, a candidate will normally be told within 10 weeks of the interview. They will need to pay the first-year registration fee, and then the annual registration fee for as long as they wish to retain Chartered status.

Those awarded the privilege of Chartered Master Mariner status have an absolute obligation to behave in an ethical, decent and professional manner and must uphold and preserve the reputation and integrity of the awarding organisations. They must at all times adhere to the Code of Ethics and observe the Chartered Master Mariner Code of Personal and Professional Conduct.

In addition, the Chartered Master Mariner must keep a record of their continuing personal development (CPD), and this record will be reviewed from time to time.

What happens if my application is refused?

In the event of dispute, the candidate may appeal within 28 days. The robust and transparent appeals process is entirely separate from the assessment of applications. Candidates should bear in mind that if their application is not successful the application fee and other costs will not be returned. 

Who runs the Chartership scheme?

Chartership is granted by the Honourable Company of Master Mariners (HCMM), which holds the Royal Charter from the Privy Council in the UK. The Nautical Institute manages the initial application process from enquiry through to assessment, while the interview is handled by an independent Registration Authority (RA). The RA is made up of members of the HCMM, the Vice-President of The Nautical Institute, the UK Chamber of Shipping, the Merchant Navy Training Board and the Royal Navy/Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The IMarEST acts as the scheme’s external assessor, and the International Association of Maritime Educators, the International Chamber of Shipping, IFSMA, the MCA and Trinity House are among the scheme’s consulting organisations. 

What does the Registration Authority do?

The RA oversees the chartership award process, handles applications after they have been checked by The Nautical Institute, undertakes the professional review interview and makes recommendations to the HCMM Court on the granting of Chartered Master Mariner status. 

Where can I find out more?

Email us at [email protected]. Additionally, there is a helpful article in the January 2017 issue of Seaways. You can read this article here.