When fresh starting in a new professional environment, some of the vocabulary used can be totally unknown. OOW, RYA, CEC, DESMM, O1NM can appear to be barbaric words, whereas they are abbreviations of names for diplomas, trainings, associations of yachting professionals. We have decided to try and help you walk through this labyrinth of words, the French and the English ones.

GEPY : Groupement des Equipages professionnels du yachting.

Started in 2002, the GEPY is an association gathering all crew holding a STCW95 diploma (French or foreign), whichever their position on board and all yachting professional shore based, whose activity is directly dedicated to crew.

RYA : Royal Yachting Association.

The RYA is Great Britain's body for all forms of boating, including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and narrow boats, and personal watercraft.
It has various goals including: to increase and promote boating, to raise public awareness on matters of security, maintain and promote safe and responsible recreational boating, to defend rights of public navigation.

MCA : Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

(Equivalent to the French Affaires Maritimes). Agency specialized in preventing human losses at sea and in implementing laws and rules on British and international maritime safety. Its field of action is for example: coordination of rescuing operations by her majesty's coastguards, harmonization of security standards, control and prevention of sea pollution, organization of trainings, rating and issuing maritime STCW licenses to crew and officers.

Affaires Maritimes.

French administration. It is one of the 3 agencies of the DGTIM (agency responsible for infrastructures, transports and sea), contingent to the "ministry of ecology energy and sustainable development and the sea". Their mains goals are:

  • Training of civilian staff in the merchant navy and of yachtsmen.
  • Marine safety and security (in French territorial waters but also in other exclusive economic zones with the French navy and civilian ships) and ship control.
  • Medical, social and health follow up of seamen and reception of seamen in French harbors.
  • Coordination of emergency rescuing operations for all ships or persons in danger in their watch zones. This includes cooperation between all different means available (rescuing services and other available ships, military or civilian, private or public, French or not)...

USCG: US Coast Guard

IMO: International Maritime Organization.

United nations specialized institution. 169 state members and 3 associate members in 2009. Its main goals are:

  • Collaboration between state members regarding maritime regulation.
  • Implementation of safety regulation.
  • Prevent maritime pollution by ships and harbor installations.
  • Prevent discrimination: in order to make all maritime services resources available to everyone in world trade without discrimination.

ISPS: International Ship & Port Security.

It was created in 2002 by the IMO. They adopted new standards for a more complete maritime security (ISPS code) for international navigation in order to prevent and eradicate terrorist actions against ships worldwide. This concept of risk management shows in the ISPS code by a certain amount of minimal requirements regarding security criteria required for harbor installations and ships.
In order to comply with the ISPS Code, each ship must have a security plan containing measures that can be implemented for various security levels set by governments.
The training includes: regulations in force/ knowledge of current threats/ detection and identification of weapons and hazardous substances/ techniques to bypass security measures/ knowledge in communication techniques related to security/ practical cases...

ISM: International Safety Management.

The ISM Code is a SOLAS (Safety of Life at SEA) requirement adopted by all recognized Flag States. All commercial vessels (chartering) 500 tons and over have been required to comply with the code since July, 2002.

International Safety Management Code (ISM)

under the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a ship management system embracing quality control in the areas of safety and pollution prevention. It is a formal, 13 point system that is applicable to any vessel, from a 2-man tug, to a yacht; to a 2,000 passenger cruise ship, and its management structure.
The requirements create an onboard and shore side Safety Management System (SMS) under which each vessel operates. We create an SMS that is organized into manuals which are bound and include operational guidelines designed to guarantee compliance with the 13 points of the ISM Code requirements.

The 13 ISM points are:

  • Company objectives, safety statement
  • Safety and environmental protection policy
  • Company responsibilities and authority
  • Designated person(s)
  • Master's responsibilities and authority
  • Resources and personnel
  • Development of plans for ship operations
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Reports, nonconformities, accidents, and hazardous occurrences
  • Maintenance of ship and equipment
  • Documentation
  • Company verification, review and evaluation
  • Certification, verification, and control

SOLAS: Safety of Life at Sea

(Full name: International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea).
International treaty aiming to define rules related to safety, security and running of ships. This convention usually applies to ships above 500 GT travelling in international waters. It was created after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The last convention was adopted by the international maritime organization in 1974.

SSO: Ship Security Officer.

In accordance with ISPS. Created for people who, either want to acquire more knowledge in the matter of current marine safety, or for those who wish to move on to being responsible for the ships safety.

LY1: Code of Practice for the Safety of Large Commercial Sailing and Motor Vessels.

Created in 1998 to answer the requirements of the SOLAS convention.
This code applies to commercial ships above 24 meters. Standards for safety and pollution prevention depend on size and ship use.
The new code LY2, the large commercial yacht code was implemented September 24th 2004, available under MSN 1792 decree. The code was revised according to new technologies and practice changes. There are two main revisions: the introduction of a new category “short range yacht” (<300 GT for new built yachts and <500 GT for other yachts, sailing up to 60 miles offshore, 90 miles according to route and with good weather conditions (max wind force 4). This category was created for ships which could not or did not have the need to reach the “unlimited” criterion.

From the time of LY1, there was no upper size limit. However, the limit above 3000GT exists for deck officer qualifications. The ships above3000GT should therefore follow the IMO regulation. From now on, the limit is 3000 GT; existing ships above 3000 operating under this regulation should keep on doing so.

MGN : Marine Guidance Note.

Under uk legislation. Marine Guidance Notes give significant advice and guidance relating to the improvement of the safety of shipping and of life at sea, and to prevent or minimise pollution from shipping.

MSN : Merchant Shipping Notices.

Merchant Shipping Notices convey mandatory information that must be complied with under UK legislation. These MSNs relate to Statutory Instruments and contain the technical detail of such regulations.

MSN/MGN are intended for a more limited audience e.g. training establishments or equipment manufacturers, or contain information which will only be of use for a short period of time, such as timetables for MCA examinations. Within each series of Marine Notices suffixes are used to indicate whether documents relate to merchant ships and/or fishing vessels. The suffixes following the number are:

Example : MGN 88 : Employment of Young Persons MSN 280(M): Code of Practice for the operation of Small Commercial Vessel (SCV).

MYBA: Mediterranean Yacht Broker Association.

Professional association created by a group of brokers in order to promote ethic and professionalism standards in the yachting industry in the Mediterranean and worldwide. Aims to gather all yachting professional available for answering top of the range customer's demands (wishing to buy, sell or rent quality yachts offering very high standards services).


is the volume measurement of a ship. It represent the interior volume, measured in tons (1ton = 2,83 m3) for small boats and in UMS (universal measurement system) for vessels over 24 meters travelling internationally.


The ILO's (International Labour Organization) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world's more than 1.2 million seafarers working on commercial vessel. This convention will come into force in august 2013 and concerns 14 points (Minimum age, qualifications, health & safety, salaries, crew accommodation...)

STCW95 :

Convention on Standard of Training certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
It is the first international convention regarding seamen’s training, diplomas delivey (STCW convention) within the framework of the IMO. Internationally regulates crew qualifications.

COC : Certificate Of Competency.

This word defines the two certificates which available to skipper a vessel under 200 UMS under british flag : the yachtmaster offshore and the yachtmaster ocean.

ENG1 :

UK Medical Fitness certificate, valid for 2 years, as opposed to the French medical certificate only valid 1 year.

OOW : Officer Of the Watch.

The officer primarily responsible for the watch and the safety of a ship, in the absence of the captain, during navigation. The term applies to private and commercial ships under 3000 GT in an unlimited navigation zone.

MEOL (Y) : Marine Engine Operator License.

AEC : Approved Engine Course.

5 days training.

NOE : Notice of Eligibility

Document delivered by the MCA once the eligibility of the candidates has been rated. This document is compulsory to hold to be able to take the oral examination to pass a diploma.

GMDSS : Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

International regulation applying to a certain category of vessels which have international navigation plans. Regulates systems, methods, and communication devices mainly for security purposes accident prevention, rescuing at sea etc..

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