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Armed forces resettlement

ship-evergreenArmed forces personnel possess a number of skills and characteristics that are sought after by the commercial shipping and maritime industry. Many former military personnel have made a successful transition to a second career in the Merchant Navy, both at sea and ashore, working as watchkeepers, in customer services, personnel, security, education or operational/logistics management.


For watchkeeping officers there are mechanisms that permit recognition of military experience and qualifications and fast track attainment of a commercial Certificate of Competency (CoC). Download the Royal Navy to Merchant Navy transfer flow diagram for guidance.  Full details can be found in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1856.


For RN personnel wishing to pursue a career as an engineer officer in commercial shipping, our advice would be to first write to the MCA to obtain a Letter of Initial Assessment. This sets out the exemptions given to candidates based on their prior experience in the RN (or other part of the Forces). RN personnel need to complete the MSF 4352 application.

Other useful links

The MCA's General Applications for Seafarer Certificates may also be useful, depending on individual circumstances. The MCA website also has a large amount of information on training and certification for working at sea. 

ELCAS (Enhanced Learning Credits) and Solent University

You can use your credits for a variety of our maritime short courses as well as the University's undergraduate and post graduate degrees. Our Learning Provider ID is 1876, please type the name Solent University into the provider name search option. Click on the ELCAS website link to find more information and a list of our courses.

ELCAS approved training provider

If you're looking for courses to transfer your skills for a career change, click on any of the following links: