Apprenticeship Scheme

The Honourable Company of Master Mariners offers encouragement and support to all people entering the nautical profession. The best way for you to take advantage of this, is through the Honourable Company’s Apprenticeship Scheme. The importance of this opportunity may not be obvious to everyone when first entering on a seafaring career. The full significance will be seen by those who understand the long term career prospects which shipping and maritime commerce can offer.

As an apprentice you will have a Master Mariner as mentor or guide from entry through to qualification as a Master Mariner in your own right. Through your Honourable Company “Master” you will have access to the expertise and experience of other members and staff. You will receive a Diary and be welcome to attend professional and social meetings and lectures. You will also receive the professional Journal and Newsletters of the Honourable Company.

Complementing Certificate of Competency Schemes

Most employers see the advantages of the scheme for you in helping you with your professional studies and your career and for themselves in making you a better officer. The Honourable Company seeks the co-operation and support of your employer. The Honourable Company scheme is additional to, and complements, normal Merchant Navy cadetship or other training schemes which lead to Vocational Qualifications (Foundation Degree, NVQs or SVQs) and certificates of competency.

The Scheme and How it Works

The general format of the scheme is as follows:

As a prospective Apprentice, if you have not already made contact through family or friends, you will be introduced to the Honourable Company and invited to contact a Master Mariner who may act as your “Master” in the scheme. As far as possible your Master will have a special shared interest with you in terms of ship types and trades, friends or area of residence.

You will be “bound” to your Master (a Liveryman of the Honourable Company) through a traditional City of London indenture which has full Guildhall recognition, allowing entry to the Freedom and Livery in due course “by Apprenticeship”. You will find the ancient wording of the “Indenture” rather old-fashioned and quaint, but that is because it is linked back to the London Craft Guilds of the Middle Ages.

Up to the time of obtaining your OOW certificate of competency, you will be asked to agree to:

  • Keep a journal recording observations on professional topics (at least one entry per week)
  • Write to your Master at least once every six months, and
  • Visit “Wellington” if leave periods allow*

Note: Entry into the Honourable Company Essay Competition each year is voluntary. A prize will be awarded for the winning entry.

From OOW through to Masters you will be expected to:

  • Continue to keep a journal
  • Enter the annual essay (or other project) competition
  • Write to your Master at least once a voyage, and
  • Visit “Wellington” if possible*

Note: *The Honourable Company of Master Mariners’ Finance Committee have agreed that travelling expenses (based on Standard Class Rail fares) will be paid to Apprentices for these visits.

Completion, Achievement: Freedom of the City of London

On obtaining a Master’s Certificate you complete your indenture and will be eligible for full membership of the Honourable Company and Freedom of the City of London.

Advantages for You


The advantages of the scheme for you are as follows:

  • another experienced person to turn to for professional advice
  • support and encouragement at the most testing time in formulating your career structure and path
  • technical information from the Honourable Company Journal
  • access to experience in most maritime matters through the Honourable Company via your mentor
  • a long term, broad and balanced vision of professional development and career options
  • contacts with maritime and commercial activities beyond the immediate confines of your own ship
  • introduction to the Honourable Company and good professional practice
  • an introduction to the Master Mariners’ respected role in the social and city life of London
  • an introduction to the charitable work of the Honourable Company and the help it can give to seafarers and their dependants.

Further Information

An Application Form and further information on the Apprenticeship Scheme and the other professional and charitable work of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners can be obtained from:

The Clerk to the Company, Honourable Company of Master Mariners, HQS “Wellington” Temple Stairs, Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PN

Telephone: 020 7836 8179 Fax: 020 7240 3082

You can also download an application form here.

Application Form Oct15
Note: Merchant Navy Apprentices and Junior Officers aged 21 or over (who are seeking nautical qualifications) may also be admitted to the Honourable Company in an appropriate category and if they would find it helpful, could be mentored by a Liveryman or a Member of the Honourable Company .