BVI Info

Re: BVI Boatmaster License -Guidance for preparation for the Oral Examination


Further to our earlier meetings and discussions on the subject matter, we are pleased to forward to you a brief guide for the benefit of candidates who wish to obtaining a Boatmaster License (BML) issued under the Code of Safety for Small Commercial Vessels Operating in the Caribbean (SCV Code) following a short oral examination.

It must be noted that the normal BML examination consists of three parts; Chart work, Practical Test and Oral Examination. However, the simplified examination system that we are adopting is specially designed for candidates who are in possession of a valid certificate issued by the U.S. Coast Guard or similar national examination authority, acceptable to the BVI maritime administration.

The oral examination is concerned only with the appropriate knowledge of a candidate, in relation to the applicable British Virgin Islands (BVI) marine safety and environmental laws and regulations governing the operation of small commercial vessels in the BVI waters.

As a general guide, the duration of oral examination is approximately 60 minutes. On successful completion of the examination a full term (3 years) BML is issued on the same day.

The syllabus for the BML appears in Annex 11 of the SCV Code. It is only a selected number of topics from the syllabus on which a candidate may be assessed. However, in order to get a fuller understanding and appreciation of the subjects involved, it is recommended that each candidate obtains a copy of the SCV Code booklet as a reference guide.

The areas on which a candidate may be assessed are shown below, giving reference, when possible, to the SCV Code and the above mentioned syllabus for the BML.

1. B1 Emergency Situations

(SCV Code Chp. VIII -Part B)

• Recovery of man overboard

• Loss of engines or steering

• . Action to take in the event of collision or grounding

• Accident to crew members or passengers,

• Use of fire fighting appliances, life saving appliances and distress signals

• Search and rescue techniques in bad weather or reduced visibility

• Choosing an appropriate area for beaching

2. B3 -Local Knowledge and Regulations

• BVI, Merchant Shipping (Caribbean Small Commercial Vessels) Regulations 2004, these regulations can be found on our website

( >resources>vessel certification>small passenger and cargo vessel < 24m >Virgin Islands Merchant Shipping REG Caribbean Small Commercial Vessels Regulations 2004).

• Familiarization with SCV Code; Chapter 1, Chp. VIII and Chp. IX

• Definitions Chp. I (2) -For the purpose of the code,

• Certificates required to be carried by a commercial vessel, and their validity

• Maintenance of vessel’s conditions after inspection and certification-Chp.1 (1 0 A)

• Actions to be taken in the event of injury or loss of life to a passenger or a crew . member (Chp. VIII Operational Requirements, (2) Marine Casualties)

• Publications -Merchant Shipping Notices and Regulations (as applicable)

• Prohibited Anchorages, Air Ports Marine boundaries, Marine Parks and No anchorage zones. (According to navigation charts of the Virgin Islands).

• Safe Manning, master and crew certification requirements

3. B8 -Passenger Safety

• Preparation for Emergencies, Reference -CHP. VIII Part B Recording of passengers, Passenger Safety, Emergency Instruction etc.,

• Passenger briefing

• Ability to demonstrate to passenger the use of personal lifesaving appliances

• Distribution of passengers and crew to ensure proper stability and trim

4. B9 -Legal Responsibilities Towards Passengers and Crew

• Safe access to the vessel by passengers and crew

• Safe working practices on board

• Requirement to carry a valid Certificate of Inspection, complete Annual Inspections and endorsement of certificate (SCV Code Chp.r I (Part C) Reg 12)

• Certification of vessels on International Voyages (SCV Code Chapter I -Part E)

• Certificates to be carried by a vessel on international voyages (Col, Ship Security, Safety Management (ISM), Synopsis Record, Radio License, Stability Letter, Passenger Vessels -(SOLAS PSSC), AIS or AIS Exemption Certificates, LRIT Exemptions, Voyage Data Recorder Exemption etc.,)

• Crew Certification-USCG/National Certificate & STCW Endorsement, Passenger vessel training course certificate, Maritime security training certificates, Boat Masters License, STCW Basic courses, Medical Certificates.

5. B13 -Prevention of Pollution

• A general appreciation of the regulations applicable to the prevention of pollution from oil, chemicals, sewage, garbage and engine exhaust

• Pollution Prevention Equipment and Procedures-SCV Code Chapter VII (Reg 10)

• Items prohibited for disposal into sea (SCV Code Chp. VII 10.2.1 (A&B) )

• Chapter VII (10.3) Regulations through (10.5)

• Chapter VII -10.4 Holding tanks for new vessels

List of Publications and Codes;

1 Caribbean Small Commercial Vessels Code (SCV Code) (see our Website . -www.>downloads>scv code)

2 Merchant Shipping (Caribbean Small Commercial Vessels) Regulations 2004,

( >resources>vessel certification>small passenger and cargo vessel

< 24m>Virgin Islands merchant shipping REG Caribbean Small Commercial Vessels Regulations 2004)

1 Merchant Shipping Act, 2001, (No. 13 of 2001), (>downloads>BVI Merchant Shipping Act, 2004 (Part XVI Enforcement Officers and Powers)

2 Extract from National Parks Regulation, 2008 (Part IV, No. 48, Discharge of harmful substances or things near marine parks)

3 Extract form conservation and Fisheries Regulations, (>legislation>s.i No. 20 of 2003 Fisheries Regulations (Part IV Conservation Measures No. 32)

Yours sincerely,
Capt. Pat Nawaratne
Chief Marine Surveyor
Virgin Islands Shipping Registry
8 September 2010