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MCA Master 200 / 500 Orals Prep

Tuesday 23rd April - Friday 26th April


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The Oral Preparation Course is designed to give the student full preparation for the MCA Master’s Oral Examination, However the content is very suitable for those hoping to pass the Skipper Full, Master Yachts, Second Hand Full etc.

The course includes basic revision and practice oral sessions on a one to one basis. This covers the following topics, Navigational Safety, Plan and Conduct a Passage Including Chartwork and Position Determination, Meteorology, Maintain a Safe Navigational Watch, International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea IRPCS, Response to Emergencies, Operational Safety and Pollution Control, Seaworthiness of the Ship, Business and Law.

Navigational Safety

A.Plan and Conduct a Passage Including Chartwork and Position

  1. Passage planning with respect to use of navigational publications including navigational charts, sailing directions, light lists, tide tables, radio and navigational warnings
  2. IALA system of maritime buoyage A and B
  3. Limitations and sources of error of electronic chart and navigation systems
  4. Radar and ARPA – practical use of, modes of operation, limitations and sources of error, including basic radar plotting techniques
  5. Understands the importance of regular checking of the vessel’s position and action to be taken if found off track
  6. Applies variation and deviation to convert true course to compass course and vice versa; understands the basic causes of variation and deviation
  7. Fixes a ships position on the chart given magnetic bearings and/or radar ranges and quotes position by latitude and longitude
  8. Finds the magnetic course to steer and the ETA at a given destination given the starting position and log speed
  9. Identifies transits and clearing marks from the chart in order to plan a safe approach to harbour or anchorage
  10. States the meaning and explains the significance of chart symbols and abbreviations in common use
  11. Knows how to obtain and use weekly notices to mariners in order to correct charts
  12. Finds the time of high and low water, and predicts intermediate heights and/or times for standard and secondary ports
  13. Find and predict set and rate of the tide from tidal reference points on the chart, and tidal stream atlas

B. Meteorology

  1. Knows the sources of meteorological information
  2. Interprets weather forecasts including knowledge of characteristics of various weather systems
  3. Ability to use and interpret information obtained from shipborne meteorological instruments

C. Maintain a Safe Navigational Watch

  1. A thorough knowledge of the principles of navigational watchkeeping at sea, including watchkeeping at anchor; as STCW Code A-VIII and ICS Bridge Procedures Guide
  2. Understand the use of bridge equipment, including echo sounder and Navtex
  3. Knowledge of steering control systems, including automatic pilot and operational procedures and change over from manual to automatic control and vice-versa
  4. Maintain navigational records
  5. Knows the circumstances under which the Master should be called to the bridge
  6. Knows the principles for handing over and relieving the navigational watch – 30 –

4. International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ColRegs)

A thorough knowledge of the ColRegs including:

  1. requirements for proceeding at a safe speed and keeping a lookout
  2. recognises the lights and shapes, and fog signals for all classes of vessel
  3. recognises the manoeuvring sound signals
  4. recognises light signals
  5. recognise a developing collision situation by compass, radar or visual reference
  6. states the actions to be taken by day and night to avoid collision
  7. describes the precautions to be taken when navigating in or near areas of restricted visibility; assess the likely likelihood of collision of vessel detected by radar alone and action to be taken to avoid a collision
  8. describes the requirements for navigating in or near traffic separation schemes
  9. describes the requirement for navigating in narrow channels Response to Emergencies, Operational Safety and Pollution


5.  Distress Signals and Communications

  1. States the conditions under which distress signals may be used; understands the various types of distress signal, action to be taken on receipt and the obligations to render assistance
  2. Understands the correct use of pyrotechnics, EPIRBS and SARTS including the appropriate circumstances for their use
  3. Understands correct distress communications procedures including the terms Mayday, PanPan and Securité messages
  4. Emergency communication with the GMDSS regulations

6. Manoeuvring the Vessel

Preparation for getting under way, duties prior to proceeding to sea, making harbour, entering a dock, berthing alongside quays and jetties or other ships, and securing to buoys

  1. Use and care of mooring lines and associated equipment
  2. Helm orders, conning the ship, effects of propellers on the steering of the ship, effects of wind and current, stopping, going astern, and turning short round
  3. Action in event of failure of bridge control, telegraph or steering gear, including emergency steering arrangements
  4. Procedures for anchoring
  5. Understand the precautions to be observed when using winches and windlass
  6. Understand the precautions to be observed when mooring and un-mooring

7. Responses to Emergencies

  1. Initial action following: man overboard, collision, grounding, flooding or major mechanical damage, initial damage assessment and control, protection of the marine environment
  2. Knowledge of fire prevention, use and care of fire-fighting appliances, the shut-down and isolation of plant and equipment, escape and breathing apparatus, fire and safety plans
  3. Use and care of lifesaving appliances and equipment including, immersion suits and thermal protective aids, pyrotechnics and line throwing apparatus
  4. Launching of liferafts and rescue boats; proper rigging of liferaft hydrostatic release units
  5. Basic principles of survival

8.  Pollution Prevention Requirements

  1. Pollution prevention in port and at sea; measures to be taken to prevent pollution during bunkering
  2. Action to be taken in response to pollution incidents in port and at sea
  3. Basic understanding of garbage management, and disposal of garbage and oil residue

9. Seaworthiness of the Ship

  1. Understand fundamentals of watertight integrity, and the closing of all openings including hatches, access hatches and watertight doors
  2. Understands the difference between good stability and poor stability, and recognises the warnings signs of the latter
  3. Describes the effect on stability of:

i. raising and lowering weights
ii. low freeboard
iii. obstruction of deck freeing arrangements and scuppers
iv. slack tanks

d) Preparations for heavy weather, ensuring and maintaining watertight integrity

10.  Business and Law

  1. Understand the content and application of the applicable Codes, namely ‘Small Vessels Code’1 and Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY2)2
  2. A knowledge of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen3, the content and practical application
  3. A knowledge of the requirements for musters and drills including fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills
  4. Understand the legal obligation to ensure a seaworthy vessel
  5. A basic understanding of the laws of salvage
  6. Understand the requirements for safe manning, hours of work and watchkeeping
  7. Understand the circumstances when a vessel requires a crew agreement
Average Rating: 5.0 out of 5 (8 votes)
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David Mc Gloin

Outstanding course and IMO essential for anyone wanting to take the MCA oral, the instructor has a wealth of knowledge and experience and his ease at conveying it across is unparalleled, from the broader answers to the small details that can mean pass or fail. Highly recommend.

3 years ago
Niall Hassett

I have attended a number of courses at “The Seamanship Centre” and have always found the training to be excellent in both content and presentation.

Richard, Andrew and John have a huge knowledge base and are always happy to go the extra mile to make sure people leave knowing exactly what they need to know… I will certainly be attending training courses there in the future..

3 years ago
Damien O'Doherty

Having completed several MCA courses at The Seamanship Centre & under Andy’s guidance and tuition I found him very helpful, knowledgeable, informative and professional.

I would highly recommend Andy as a great tutor for any marine course holding a wealth of knowledge of the maritime industry.

2 years ago
Colin Murray

I have done several courses with Richard and Andy and cannot recommend them enough.They always go the extra mile to ensure you understand, fantastic learning environment and first class learning facilities with a very positive atmosphere,thanks for everything.

1 year ago
Stephen Curran

I would advise anyone doing their prep to go here very professional and relaxed course. Andy and Richard very knowledgeable.

1 year ago
Stephen Barr

A great course that will help you brush up on your knowledge before the exam and explains how to answer the questions properly.
I’ve been to a few courses here and can’t recommend them enough.

1 year ago
Gary Cunningham

Recently attended this course and it was run so well and Andy Rowlands was excellent. Everything was explained clearly and in a way that just stuck in my head something which you need to pass this exam. I’d definetly recommend the Seamanship Centre to anyone looking to do there prep course.

1 year ago
Eoin mc Donagh

Finally got around to leaving a review, Must say it was Money well spent in joining Andy on the 200gt prep everything was explaind very clearly no rush going through any topics, if you was unclear on anything he would gladly spend the time to help you through any subject, if you think you dont need an oral prep then have a re-think on your thoughts and sign up, been going there for the guts of 10 years great Facilities, atmosphere is very relaxing 10/10

2 months ago

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Tuesday 23rd April
Friday 26th April
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The Seamanship Centre
Killybegs Harbour
Killybegs, Donegal F94 V8WH Ireland


Richard Timony
+353 (0) 86 893 7225
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