A commercial Charter is an historic right – granted only to exceptional craftsmen – evidencing their right to carry out their occupation unhindered and under the authority of the Crown. Receipt of a professional Charter represented the ultimate accolade that could be awarded by the State to a craftsman or artisan and could be held out as conclusive evidence of their competence and skill. 


    1. Chartership has been described as ‘the gold standard’ of personal achievement and professional development. There is no higher standard in the world of professional and technical achievement. Consequently, it is not a standard that will be achievable by every aspirant.
    2. Historically, a ‘Charter’ is a Royal Warrant – granted by the Crown (State) – permitting an activity or practice to be carried out by certain individuals, a town, city or region. Chartership was usually awarded following evidence of exceptional service, capability or loyalty to the State of Crown.

Measurement of standards is now the norm in professional institutions, with the associated award schemes requiring input from eminent practitioners. Higher-competence awards are strictly controlled and tightly regulated by the external validation of external assessors and oversight from professional standards committees. Thus, the highest honour that most technical professions are able to offer in recognition of personal development is the bestowal of Chartered status. 


    1. The use of industry recognised Chartership is now universally construed as denoting higher learning and peer-recognised excellence. Inherent in industry Chartership programmes is the acknowledgement that excellence manifests in many forms – therefore, Chartership is approved and awarded on the basis of individual achievement, not on any prescribed tick-box matrix – although there are guidelines for the awarding authorities to follow.
    2. Over the last 50 years, many technical professions have implemented their own higher-competence standards specifically directed towards recognising enhanced ability, superior individual skills, specialist knowledge and practitioner development.

Chartership is appropriate for those who have risen beyond the need for prescribed qualification routes that are defined by specific goals and objectivised career pathways. 


    1. Individuals within the maritime industry who are considered inspirational, high achievers, leaders, trend-setters and drivers (in all areas) if we are to begin defining what it means to be a Chartered Master Mariner.
    2. It is not the intention of the Chartership project to simply re-define what it is to be a ‘higher-spec’ ship’s Master. This would be nothing more that extending STCW criteria and applying the same methodology. If that were the driver behind Chartership, then there would be nothing special about the award or status as it would be achievable by every aspirant, both as right and as the natural expectation of their career development.

For the avoidance of doubt, simply ‘being good at your job’ or ‘not making mistakes’ will not be sufficient to satisfy the evidence requirement in the context of Chartership. Individuals who want Chartership should be sufficiently self-aware to know when they are deficient in certain work-skill areas and self-motivated enough to take the necessary steps to remedy these weaknesses, perhaps by seeking mentorship for themselves, rather than waiting for someone else to direct them or develop a growth path that they might follow. This is the type of individual for whom chartership is designed. It is not, and should not be viewed as, an automatic step or expectation by all who acquire a Master (Unlimited) CoC. These, amongst others, are the personal qualities that may be expected of someone who has aspired to Chartered Master Mariner status.


    1.  It then holds good that individuals who have grown to truly believe in themselves and demonstrate this by a personal ability to develop themselves through self-motivated and self-directed means – which can be demonstrated in numerous ways – can be said to have reached a level of eminence whereby they can stand upon their own cognisance and be held out as an example to others as the best the maritime industry has to offer.
    2. There is no ‘prescribed’ route to Chartership and development towards acquiring Chartered status is not about being guided or spoon-fed. Chartership is more likely to be achieved by those who have taken control and ownership of their lives and assumed responsibility for their personal development, goals, ambitions and life objectives.
    3. Chartership is looking for ‘exceptional’ performance and individual contributions to the industry. It is for applicants to define what is ‘exceptional’ and show how they are ‘outstanding’ in their workplace and environment. How applicants are able to justify and demonstrate these requirements will help assessors judge the applicant proximity to these criteria.

As soon as the external assessors are fully satisfied with the processes, a media announcement will be made inviting applications from the wider maritime community.


  1. The Honourable Company of Master Mariners has entered into an arrangement with The Nautical Institute for the handling and processing of applications and for receiving expressions of interest from potential applicants.
  2. Having been approved by Privy Council the Chartered Master Mariner project has now commenced operation. The Chartership Registration Authority has decided that, for purposes of auditing, assessment and process validation, the first year will be run as a pilot project with applications being by invitation.