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Membership of the Honourable Company is open to seafarers and those with a genuine interest in the sea and maritime matters. There are five categories of membership, these being:

  • Full (Freedom of the Company and the Livery for those who choose it)
  • Member
  • Apprentices and Associates
  • Honorary
  • Corporateto view our Corporate page, click here


The Freedom is open to officers of any nationality who have attained the highest level of professional recognition for their work at sea. For British Merchant Navy personnel, such membership is available for those who have been awarded any of the following:

CoC Area Limitation Tonnage Limitation STCW Class
Master Near-Coastal Unlimited II/2
Master Unlimited Less than 3000 GT II/2
Master Unlimited Unlimited II/2

For Commonwealth, EU nationals and officers of other nationalities, other UKMCA-recognised Masters’ qualifications may be acceptable on a case by case basis.

For the Royal Navy, to qualify for direct entry to the Freedom, individuals must have passed CQ1, CQ2, pce or S/M command equivalent. Similarly, for foreign naval officers, their command qualifications would be assessed for suitability against UKMCA and RN criteria on a case by case basis.


On additionally gaining Freedom of the City of London, Freemen of the Honourable Company may progress to Liveryman. Only Liverymen are eligible to be elected to become senior officers of the Honourable Company and may also stand for senior positions within the City of London Corporation.


Member status is also open to non-seafarers with deep experience relating to maritime affairs or business, such as those in maritime legal, financial or educational fields – shipbrokers, maritime lawyers, naval historians, P&I Clubs, marine engineering and logisticians for instance. In certain circumstances, such Members can progress to Freedom of the Company after demonstrating an ongoing commitment to the working and life of the Honourable Company. Seagoing Membership is available to Deck Officers who do not yet hold a STCW II/2 certificate (or Royal Navy equivalent), including those in the superyacht industry, and a reduced fee is available for this latter category of membership. 


Apprentice/Associate Membership is open to British and Commonwealth nationals who are undergoing training as either a MN officer trainee or RN Cadet/Midshipman/Sub-Lieutenant and details of this scheme are available separately to those who may be interested. Apprenticeships are available for officer applicants under the age of 21 and Associate membership for those over that age. Details of our Mentoring Scheme can be found here.

Honorary Members

A number of distinguished people in the maritime world are invited to become Honorary Members of the Honourable Company. Some long-standing supporters and friends of the Company have also been afforded this privilege.