Certificates Of Medical Fitness For Seafarers

When discussing crew medical certificates, it is easy to forget that the ENG1 is not the only accepted certificate of medical fitness for seafarers looking to secure a job on a yacht. This can be misleading, making it seem more difficult than necessary to secure the required yacht crew certificates.

Depending on the flag state of the yacht you intend to work on, there will be a number of alternative countries that you can get your bill of health from, with the ENG1 seafarer medical certificate simply signifying that the assessment is from a British-government-approved practitioner. Below, let’s look at all the accepted health examinations for the most popular flag states.


Accepted certificates of medical fitness for seafarers working in popular flag states

Many of the most popular yacht flags are part of the Red Ensign Group, including the United Kingdom (UK), British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands and Gibraltar. Malta is another popular flag, so we will also cover that below.


United Kingdom – UK Seafarer Medical Certificate

For yacht crew looking to work on yachts and ships that fly the UK flag, the ENG1 is the certificate of medical fitness for seafarers. However, there are a number of countries whose national seafarer’s medical fitness certificates are also accepted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) as equivalent to the ENG1.

The MSN 1815 lists all those countries whose certificates are accepted. Please note that this does not authorise doctors from these countries to issue ENG1 medical certificates and bear in mind that the accepted countries may be updated from time to time.


British Virgin Islands (BVI)

Ships registered with BVI are British ships and fly the Red Ensign, so the same rules as above apply, with crew able to work on yachts and ships registered in the BVI with an ENG1 or alternative medical certificate as outlined by the MCA in the MSN 1815.


Cayman Islands

Medical certificates issued by, or on behalf of, a country listed on the “STCW Whitelist

or a country which has ratified the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, are accepted for service on Cayman Islands ships. Such certificates of medical fitness for seafarers should be issued in accordance with Regulation I/9 of the STCW Convention, which outlines the standards of physical and medical fitness required to work on a boat.

Medical certificates should clearly state that they are issued by, or on behalf of, the governments of the accepted countries. It is insufficient to hold a certificate issued by a doctor residing in the above countries if the certificate is not issued, by or on behalf of, the government of that country.



The Gibraltar Maritime Administration will accept seafarer’s medical fitness certificates that have been issued in accordance with at least one of the following conventions:

  • The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006), as above for UK and BVI
  • The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), as above for Cayman Islands
  • The ILO 73 Medical Examination (Seafarers) Convention, 1946


In the case of seafarers who are not covered by the STCW convention, the medical certificate must meet the substance of the STCW requirements. This could apply to seafarers who do not have watch-keeping responsibilities on board the vessel, yet are classified as seafarers in accordance with MLC.

In order for the certificate to be valid, it has to be in English.



Accepted medical fitness certificates for seafarers must be issued in accordance with the Medical Examination (Seafarers) Convention, 1946, or the Merchant Shipping (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1976. 

They must be issued by either:

  • An authority empowered in that behalf by the laws of a State outside Malta that has ratified the said Conventions
  • Or, by an approved authority empowered in that behalf by the laws of a State outside Malta. 

The examination must be carried out following the advice of the ILO/WHO publication: Guidelines for Conducting Pre-Sea and Periodic Medical Fitness Examination for Seafarers


Discover what other yacht crew qualifications and certificates are required to work on a yacht.