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Our Top Resources for MCA Oral Exam Prep


Preparing for your MCA Oral exam can be a daunting task. With such a wide and varied syllabus, where do you start?

Official publications and guidelines for good practice are what we are looking for as our primary resource materials. Here is a selection of some of our top resources.

  1. The Marine Coastguard Agency website

The official Marine Coastguard Agency website contains a wealth of relevant and up-to-date information. Our favourite pages in particular are:

  • MSNs, MGNs, MINs
  • UK Seafarers Careers: examination syllabuses
  • Instructions for the guidance of surveyors

  1. Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers

This free download of essential reading contains plenty of good, practical advice covering every aspect of shipboard operations.

  1. NP – 100 The Mariners Handbook (UK Hydrographic Office)

Don’t be put off by the ‘functional’ title! Information on publications, meteorology, navigation, commercial operations -it’s all in here. In particular, the great pictures and easy-to-read style make it another essential on our list! The handbook is available in both digital and paper format.

  1. Seamanship Notes (2nd Edition), Angus Ferguson, Witherby Publishing

Written by the Founder of Onboard Maritime, this concise study guide is fully aligned to the MCA Oral syllabus, making it the perfect companion to support you as you work towards your qualification.


  1. The International Maritime Organisation website

A primary source for information about international conventions related to the maritime industry - we recommend you start with the ‘Our Work’ section.


  1. UK P&I – ‘Carefully to Carry’

We think that all the P&I clubs issue excellent loss prevention advice. We particularly like this page for Carriage of Cargo advice for a variety of different cargoes.


  1. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB)

The MAIB reports always give an excellent analysis of the accidents they have investigated. They are written with the seafarer in mind so that they can learn from any incident. As a result, they are packed full of practical information and presented in an easily digestible style.

  1. CHIRP Maritime

CHIRP is a confidential reporting programme. It publishes regular articles related to safety and the human element. We like that it reflects some of the challenges being faced in the workplace today.

  1. UK Legislation

This website is our go-to for keeping up to date with current UK maritime legislation.

  1. The Bridge Procedure Guide – 5th Edition (ICS)

Don’t just focus on the operational and emergency checklists in the annexes! This book is packed with practical advice on procedures, behaviours and good practice the professional mariner should follow and encourage in the workplace.

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