Since 1 January 2017 every seafarer (except a rating) is obliged to be in possession of a Certificate of Competency in accordance with STCW 2010. A certificate of competency is needed to sail in a particular position and can be obtained when you meet the necessary requirements.

First application

Rood Boven Groen has developed a series of flowcharts detailing the requirements needed for specific certificates of competence, including any proofs of competence needed to qualify for a specific license.

We can help you with making a first license application, or requesting an extension or an upgrade from the KIWA. Together, we will check whether you meet the requirements and for which certificate(s) you are eligible. A brief explanation of how to extend, upgrade or renew a license is given below.


To extend a license you must prove competence by demonstrating authorised sailing time. The sailing time is authorised only when you are in possession of a valid license for the relevant position. The required sailing time is as follows:


For an officer’s license in the merchant industry and for all sailing ships:

• 360 days in the past five years
• 90 days in the past six months


For an officer’s license for sailing vessels <500 GT:

• 180 sailing days (= 1 season) in the past five years
• 90 days (= ½ season) in the past six months

When applying for a license extension, the sailing time in different branches of industry is interchangeable, providing the applicant has sailed in the relevant position.


In addition to sailing time you also have to renew the relevant refresher courses every five years. Courses may one or more of the following training courses:

• Basic safety training (STCW A-VI / 1 (1-4)
• Advanced fire fighting (STCW A-VI / 3)
• Survival crafts (other than fast rescue boats); (STCW A-VI / 2-1)
• Medical first aid (STCW A-VI / 4-1)
• Medical care (STCW A-VI / 4-2)
The flowchart indicates which refresher training courses apply to each specific license.


Upgrading a license is possible by taking additional training or courses and/or by demonstrating relevant sailing time. When upgrading a license, sailing time is only partly interchangeable: at least 90 days of sailing time must be acquired in the new branch of industry.

Note: Each training program has a maximum feasible competence level. The possibilities are outlined in the flowcharts.


If a license has expired less than five years ago and the qualified sailing time does not meet the required number of days in the past five years, then it can only be renewed if:

  • A new certificate of competence has been obtained within the last four years.
  • An applicant has sailed 90 days in the past six months in a higher ranking comparable position
  • An applicant has sailed 90 days in the past 6 months in a relevant lower position.


If your license expired more than five years ago you will need to obtain a new certificate of competence.

A license is only issued if a first application has been submitted within four years after the certificate of competence has been issued. Unfortunately, if your diploma or proof of competence is older than four years a first application for a license is not possible.

In the unlikely event of you experiencing inconvenience when making an application, feel free to contact us. We would be pleased to help you with the application of both the seaman’s book and a license.