Maritime and Coastguard Agency


Seafarers: medical certification guidance

How to get an ENG1 or ML5 medical certificate.

Last updated 8 November 2018


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) collect and retain personal information provided on the medical examination of seafarers report form (ENG 2) the seafarer medical examination notice of failure/restriction (ENG 3), the certificate of medical fitness (ENG 1), and any seafarer medical report forms (ML5), which are referred to MCA for assessment.

We will use this information to fulfil our duties as stated in the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2010 (which implement the UKís international obligations under Maritime Labour Convention, 2006), the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (C.188) and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW).

To find out more about how the MCA looks after personal data, your rights and how to contacts our data protection officer please go to the MCA personal information charter page.


As a seafarer, it's important that you are fit for the job you are doing on a day-to-day basis, and during emergencies.

A medical examination will find out if you have a health condition that could result in you needing urgent treatment, or potentially put fellow crew or passengers' lives at risk.

If you are employed on a ship, and it's your normal place of work, then regulations require you to have a medical examination. This is to prove that you are in good enough health and fitness to carry out your duties.

This guide tells you which of the two medical certificates you need, how to get it, and where to find a doctor to carry out a medical fitness examination. It also tells you what to do if you fail, and want to get your result reviewed.

What is a 'seafarer'?

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) states:

Seafarers and other crew members: which medical certificate do you need?

You need a seafarer medical certificate (ENG1) if you are:

Any seafarer on board a ship must have an ENG1 (or equivalent) to work on a merchant vessel, or for any UK Certificate of Competency (CoC).

You need an ML5 medical report and certificate if you are:

This has to be your normal place of work.

You don't need either certificate if you are employed:


ENG 1 and Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) compliance

The ENG 1 has been MLC compliant since 2010, when the medical standards were changed. A new merchant shipping notice (MSN) was then published.

STCW requires a doctor to check the Identification Document (ID) at the time of the medical examination but does not require the document number to be entered on the ENG 1. From the end of May 2018, MCA Approved Doctors will not enter ID details on the ENG 1 medical certificate.

MSN 1839 is the most current notice.

This notice also applies if you want to have an independent medical review after failing the ENG1.

MCA are satisfied that the ENG1 is MLC compliant, because the medical examination and certification system meets the MLC's requirements of:

Read the 'Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Examination) Regulations'.

Seafarers getting an ENG1: find an MCA AD to carry out your ENG1

Search MCA's current list of ADs in the UK.

Search MCA's current list of ADs overseas and in international territories.

Search MCA's current list of Doctors who were previously approved.

All lists are updated regularly.


Seafarers getting an ENG1 equivalent: find countries whose certificates are accepted on UK flag vessels

Each country has a list of its own ADs. To get a certificate thatís been assessed as equivalent to ENG1, you must contact the relevant country's own maritime authority. Theyíll give you the locations of their own ADs.

The list updates annex A of MSN 1815 Amendment 1, which lists the countries that can issue equivalent certificates. Itís updated as and when medical standards and systems have been assessed for equivalency.

MSN 1815 (M)
(Amendment 1)

Countries whose Seafarer Medical Certificates are Accepted as Equivalent to the UK Seafarer Medical Fitness Certificate (ENG 1)

Notice to all Shipowners, Agents, Masters, Seafarers, MCA Approved Medical Practitioners and Approved Medical Referees

This notice should be read with the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/737) and Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1839 (M)

This Notice updates MSN 1815 (M)

This Notice lists the countries whose seafarer medical fitness certificates are accepted as equivalent to the UK ENG 1 medical fitness certificate.

1. Introduction

  1. The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/737) (the "Medical Certification Regulations") make it a legal requirement for seafarers to hold a valid certificate attesting to their medical fitness for the work for which they are employed.
  2. The requirement for a seafarer medical fitness certificate, known, as ENG 1, does not apply to anyone employed on fishing vessels, non-commercial pleasure vessels, offshore installations whilst on their working stations. The Medical Certification Regulations also do not apply to vessels operating solely in inland waterways (waters of categories A, B, C or D) although the master of an inland waterway vessel will need to demonstrate medical fitness in order to obtain their master's qualification.

2. Acceptable Medical Fitness Certificate

  1. The following certificates are acceptable for seafarers on sea-going United Kingdom vessels:
    1. a UK seafarer medical fitness certificate, an ENG 1, issued in accordance with the provisions of the Medical Certification Regulations, by an MCA Approved Doctor listed on GOV.UK
    2. a valid national seafarer medical certificate issued in accordance with requirements of the Maritime Authority of any country listed in Annex 1 of this Notice. The certificate is one which normally is issued to a national of that country, by a Doctor approved by the Maritime Authority of that country, wherever they may be located. It does not entitle these doctors to issue the UK ENG 1 medical fitness certificate.
  2. In order to obtain an equivalent medical certificate from one of the countries listed in Annex 1, the Maritime Authority of the respective country should be contacted, to direct the seafarer to a doctor authorised by their authority to conduct seafarer medical examinations.
  3. As a standard for working on a UK vessel, it is expected that the equivalent medical certificate has an English translation, in order for the Master of the vessel and/or any Surveyor/Inspector who may wish to check the medical certificate to identify any restrictions to the duties for the voyage for which they are embarked.
  4. Further countries may be added to the list when their standards have been assessed for equivalency.

More Information

Seafarer Safety and Health Branch
Maritime and Coastguard Agency,
Bay 2/17
Spring Place,
105 Commercial Road,
Southampton, SO15 1EG.
Tel : +44 (0) 203 8172835.
e-mail: .
Website Address: .
General Enquiries:
File Ref: MC 011/003/0027
Published: Printers to Insert Month Year
Please note that all addresses and
telephone numbers are correct at time of publishing.
© Crown Copyright 2018


Countries whose Seafarer Medical Certificates are Accepted as Equivalent to the UK Seafarer Medical Certificate (ENG 1)

The following are the countries whose national seafarer medical certificates are accepted as equivalent to the UK's ENG 1 Seafarer Medical Fitness Certificate. It does not authorise doctors from these countries to issue ENG 1 seafarer medical fitness certificates.

This list reflects the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2010. Further countries may be added to the list when the medical standards and systems have been assessed for equivalency.

European Union and
European Economic States
Rest of the World
CroatiaHong Kong
Czech RepublicJamaica
EstoniaNew Zealand
FranceSouth Africa
GermanySri Lanka
Netherlands - List of Approved Doctors to issue Netherlands medical fitness certificates abroad or Netherlands based
Norway - List of Approved Doctors to issue Norwegian medical fitness certificates

If you are based overseas and are not in of one of the countries above, you could obtain a statutory seafarers medical fitness certificate from one the countries with a 'List of Approved Doctors attached'. These maritime administrations have doctors based overseas that can issue statutory seafarers medical certificates that are equivalent to an ENG 1. Please note the certificate issued will not be an ENG 1 certificate.

For example Norwegian Maritime Authority have approved doctors in Italy, USA, Nigeria and more, who can issue a Norwegian Seafarers Medical Fitness Certificate.

The Netherlands Maritime authority have approved doctors in Russia, Saint-Martin, Indonesia and more, who can issue a Dutch Seafarers Medical Fitness Certificate.

*Please note: The Danish seafarers' medical fitness certificate is only valid with a completed booklet 'Health Certificate for Seafarers and Fishermen', issued by the Danish Maritime Authority.

ENG1 ADs for companies and healthcare providers

See the list of ADs at healthcare providers who carry out seafarer medical examinations for employers.

MCA is legally obliged to publish the providers' and the doctors' names.

Find ENG1 ADs for companies

This list of company ADs is for any seafarer employed by one of the companies listed, and needs to have an ENG1 medical.

Marina Zadar Croatia

Your ENG1 or ML5 medical: what to take with you

Although you'll be told what to take when you make your appointment, don't forget:

It's important that you tell the approved doctor

If you don't, it can be seen as 'doctor shopping' - and could invalidate your ENG1.


Your ENG1 medical: What it covers and what happens

The ENG1 medical fitness certificate standards are based on these international guidelines:

Your ENG1 medical results

At the end of the ENG1 examination, the AD will issue you with a certificate of fitness. This can certify you as:

If you pass the ENG1, you'll get your certificate usually on the day of the examination.

You won't get your ENG1 certificate on the same day if the doctor has any concerns about your fitness, and needs to get additional medical information

or seek advice from MCA chief medical adviser.

You'll get a 'temporarily unfit certificate' if there's likely to be a delay in the doctor's final decision.

Musket Cove Marina Fiji

What to do if you're found 'permanently unfit' for your ENG1

A 'permanently unfit' result stands for at least five years.

If you want or need to have another ENG1 medical in the next five years, you must show clinical evidence proving the condition that caused this result has been reversed.

The AD will give you a 'notice of Failure/Restriction (ENG 3)' form if:

The ENG 3 will tell you what to do if you want to have an independent medical review.

If you want to have an independent medical review

You must contact MCA Seafarer Health and Safety Branch within one month of the ENG3 being issued.

MCA will cover the cost of your review - but you will have to pay your own travel expenses.

You will be examined by an independent medical referee.

What you need to take to your independent medical review:

The referee will take all of this information into account, and make a final assessment of your fitness.

Please note: the referee has a level of discretionary power above the AD's, but they're still bound by the medical fitness standards in MSN 1839.

If all the evidence supports it, the referee can issue you with a revised ENG1 certificate.

Their decision is final - they won't overturn the AD's original decision just because you have asked for a review.

List of MCA medical referees

ENG1 additional colour vision tests

Seafarers: what happens if you fail an Isihara plate screening

Deck department:

The MCA has made the decision to stop conducting lantern testing. If you have evidence that you have previously passed a MCA Holmes Wright B lantern test, you do not need to take a further CAD test.

The new colour vision test is the Colour Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD) test which measures the severity and type of colour vision loss, and reliably detects congenital deficiency. The CAD test was developed by City University in conjunction with the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is being used by the aviation industry worldwide.

See MIN 564 and MSN 1839 corrigendum for

If you fail the CAD test you'll be issued an ENG1 with the restriction "Not Fit for lookout duties at night. Not eligible for MCA CoC or Rating certification" and the certificate will be ticked 'not fit for lookout duties'.

You'll get a letter from the CAD test centre to confirm this result. Take this with you to your next and future examinations.

New entrant deck candidates:

If you do not pass the CAD test, you'll be unable to get a CoC as a deck officer. If you decide, after career advice, not to pursue another seafaring career, you'll be issued with an ENG3 Cat 4 'permanently unfit'.

Engineering department:

Your AD will need to arrange a City University or Farnsworth D15 colour vision test for you.

If you pass either the City University or the Farnsworth D15 colour vision test you'll be issued an unrestricted ENG1. This is if you have no other conditions that can affect your fitness to work at sea.

If you fail the City University or Farnsworth D15 colour vision test you'll be issued an ENG1 with the restriction 'not fit for work with colour coded cables or equipment'. It will be ticked 'not fit for lookout duties'.

Other departments such as catering or hotel

If you fail the colour vision test you'll be issued an ENG1 with the restriction 'not fit for lookout duties'. It'll be ticked 'not fit for lookout duties'.

Maritime security guards: read the guidance for maritime security guards and their employers.


The cost of an ENG1 or ML5

The cost of an ENG1

The current fee for an ENG1 is £80.

From the 13th November 2018 the fee will be £95.

From the 13th November 2019 the fee will be £105.

From the 13th November 2020 the fee will be £115.

If you are employed in the UK, your employer will pay this.

The limit is set in UK regulations.

If you need any extra tests (like a step test), the approved doctor can charge more. This must be agreed with whoever is paying for the ENG1 before you have the test(s).

The cost of an ML5

There is no set price for the ML5.

It isn't regulated by MCA, as it's considered a private transaction.

Ask your doctor how much the ML5 will cost before they complete your report.

Guidance for seafarers and other crew getting an ML5 certificate

You don't need an AD to carry out your ML5 medical. You can print the ML5 form and certificate, or also get your form from:

Take the ML5 report form to any doctor registered with GMC (General Medical Council), and with a valid licence to practice.

The doctor will complete your ML5 certificate if:

You can then send this with your application for issue or revalidation of a boatmaster's licence (BML) or RYA commercial endorsement.

You won't get an ML5 certificate if you're found, during the medical examination, to have any type of condition which may make you unfit for service - and the box is ticked to show this.

The completed report and blank certificate will be returned to you.

What happens if your doctor can't issue your ML5 certificate

If you want to continue with your BML or commercial endorsement application, you'll need to complete part D of the ML5 report.

Send or take it to your local MCA marine office or the RYA, depending on which of them is dealing with your application.

This will then be reviewed by an MCA medical assessor. They'll issue your ML5 certificate if they find you fit for sea service, but this certificate may be subject to restrictions.

Your ML5 certificate will be sent back to you through the RYA or MCA Marine office. They can decide to issue you a restricted RYA endorsement or BML. This can limit your work to certain jobs or locations, or place operational restrictions on your licence.

Seafarers with ENG1s who also need UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) medical certificates

A UKOG medical certificate isn't equivalent to an ENG1, as they are two separate medicals which serve two different purposes:

UKOG is an employer's medical. Its medical standards have been produced to meet the needs and requirements of the employer.

ENG1 is statutory - it's required by law for all seafarers working on board a UK flagged vessel.

Seafarers who need both UKOG certificates and ENG1s

If you need to have both the ENG1 and the UKOG medicals, check MCA's list of ADs before making your appointment.

You could find one doctor to carry out both at the same time.

Further information

Health and safety on ships

Contact MCA's health and safety branch

Telephone: 0203 81 72835
Medical Administration Team
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
SO15 1EG

Related content

Maritime safety

Safe operation of vessels and ports, safety standards, life saving appliances, insurance, codes of practice and how to ship dangerous goods.

Ship crew health and safety

Crew working hours and fatigue, food and catering, working with noise, chemicals and dangerous materials, accommodation and approved nautical doctors.

Ship crew training and certification

Seafarer examinations and training, certification and boatmaster licences.

sutera harbour marina golf & country club.jpg

UsA DataErol.