If you have your heart set on a career at sea, there are a few more hurdles to jump than the standard employment screening. Whatever the type of job you are applying for, employers will ask to see your passport as proof of nationality, and therefore your right to work and live in the UK. For other occupations, you will be asked for a DBS check. This is a search into your criminal record, designed to weed out people who are unsuitable for certain professions, usually in caring roles or responsible positions. Medical checks are not standard for many jobs these days as employers have moved away from asking about health issues under disability equality legislation. There are exceptions to every rule though, and one of the sectors which still enforces medical checks is for people who want a career on the ocean wave.
Seafarer Medical Certificates
Most jobs working at sea will require the applicant to hold one of two certificates – the ENG1 or ML5. There are several differences between the two certificates but in general terms, the ENG1 is for people who are working in the merchant navy or on cargo ships, and the ML5 is for crew members working on passenger ships, such as cruise ships or ferries. These certificates must be issued before you start work, and maritime companies will often make job offers conditional on the receipt of the appropriate medical certificate.
Getting a Medical
Not every doctor is able to issue the correct certificates for people wishing to work at sea. A list of all Maritime and Coastguard Agency approved doctors is available on the government website. These examinations are not covered by the NHS, and doctors will charge for their time and for issuing the medical report. Government sets a maximum charge for the certificate and doctors can charge what they like up to that amount. Certificates are valid for two years, after which you’ll have to visit the doctor again for another examination. If you develop a serious medical condition, your certificate can be withdrawn at any time.
Cruise Ship – DBS Checks Required?
The cruise sector has been hit hard by coronavirus, but recruitment continues as the sector hopes to recover. If you have a dream of travelling the world as crew on a cruise ship, there may be other hurdles to cross too. If you wish to work in a kids’ club on a cruise ship, then cruise companies will ask for an enhanced DBS check first. This is a detailed search into someone’s criminal record, with the aim of weeding out persistent offenders who might pose a risk to children in their care. Cruise companies will usually cover the cost of getting a DBS certificate for applicants but might ask you to pay up front and have the money refunded in your first pay packet. Overseas applicants will be asked to provide a similar level of detailed certificate from their home country, or a certificate of good character instead.