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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.

Chartership is a marque of excellence, indicating that the holder has reached the highest level of their profession. There is no higher standard in the world of professional and technical achievement.

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.

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.

As the gold standard for achievement and professional recognition, the Chartered Master Mariner scheme brings the maritime area into line with other respected professional sectors. Those awarded chartered status will have shown exceptional capability over a wide range of disciplines, marking them out as self-motivated individuals who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Before an application for Chartered Master Mariner status will be considered the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they hold, or have held, the highest level of maritime command qualification that their State is legally able to issue.

For mercantile States that are STCW compliant, the current minimum qualification for meeting the application essential criteria is an STCW II/2 Master (Unlimited) Certificate of Competency.

For the avoidance of doubt, STCW II/2 Master (Unlimited) shall mean any equivalent predecessor and / or its successor.

Non-mercantile high-level command qualifications may, in certain circumstances, be considered. It is, however, for the applicant to make the case for equivalency if offering State issued high-level command qualifications that are non-STCW compliant.

Regardless of the circumstances, any decision regarding the acceptability of non-STCW (or successor) compliant qualifications will always lie with the Court of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners.

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 the wider environment. How applicants can justify and demonstrate these requirements will help assessors judge their proximity to these criteria and, ultimately, their suitability for Chartership.

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.

The Registration Authority oversees the chartership award process, handles applications after they have been checked by The Nautical Institute, undertakes the Professional Review Interview (PRI) and makes recommendations to the HCMM Court on the granting of Chartered Master Mariner status. Click here to see who’s on the RA.

The Nautical Institute is the Maritime Professional organisation with global credentials, which has been appointed by the HCMM to undertake the administrative, auditing and vetting functions associated with applications for Chartered Master Mariner status.

The schedule of latest applicable fees is available on The Nautical Institute or HCMM website (access is available to non-members).  These and the methods of payment should be carefully checked before submitting an application. The fee structure is as follows:

           Application Fee – to be submitted with initial application (non-refundable).

           Registration Fee – will be requested on successful completion of the PRI.

           Annual re-Registration Fee – will be requested annually along with Registrant’s CPD.


For details of the latest application fees, please check the Nautical Institute website at: https://www.nautinst.org/ni-academy/self-study-scheme/chartered-master-mariner.html 


Only the initial application fee should be submitted with the application.

Costs incurred in having qualifications or other supporting evidence notarised or witnessed by appropriate Registration Authority related organisations (see s.11 above) will be for the candidates own account.  Registration Authority witnessing is significantly cheaper than having the documents notarised.

You can apply at any point throughout the calendar year. Below is a diagram showing our four application ‘streams’. These streams show how applications are processed within each timeline.

Initial enquiries, requests for application forms and completed application forms should be sent to

The Nautical Institute,

202 Lambeth Road,



tel: +44 (0)20 7928 1351

fax: +44 (0)20 7401 2817

email: chartership@nautinst.org

Visit the Nautical Institute’s website and download the Application Guidance. You can find this publication by clicking here.