COVID-19 – Updates

Due to the current outbreak of Coronavirus, and English Government guidelines, our building is running at a reduced capacity.

We continue to offer Deck & Engineering Oral prep online. We are currently running HELM, Yacht & SV Engineering courses in our classrooms in Hoylake. (These courses may be moved online if English guidelines change due to another spike in virus numbers. You can read more about our risk assessment and measures we have taken to make our building Covid safe, at the bottom of this page.)

See our course dates page for schedules, and the individual course pages for prices.

Important change in Coronavirus travel restrictions for the UK:

From 0400 on 18 March no-one entering the UK will need to take Covid tests or complete a passenger locator form.

While there will be no border health measures on arrival in the UK from 18 March, other countries are at different stages in the pandemic and many still require passengers to comply with requirements when returning from the UK.

If students need access to a PCR test in order to leave the UK after their course, a ‘Fit to Fly’ test can be ordered from better2know.co.uk, to be self-administered during the course. This can be ordered in advance, using our address for delivery.

They offer a 24 or 48 hour turnaround, but recommend the 24 hour service if your destination country has a 72 hour test window.

This means no lost time or extra travel to a testing clinic during your course (our nearest private test centre is 30 minutes away by train).

Online Oral Preparation Courses & 1-2-1 Tuition

We are currently offering Deck & Engineering oral prep and some 1-2-1 tutoring online.

For seafarers who are in the middle of their studies, and don’t know when their oral exam will be, or for seafarers who are planning to do their modules when lockdown is over, but struggling with a certain subject – we can help!

Our instructors are available to offer hourly, half or full day 1-2-1 sessions.

MCA Oral exams are currently taking place online. Candidates holding NOEs should book an oral exam though the centralised system by emailing their NoE (and certain pages from their TRB for OOW candidates) to:

onlineoralexams@mcga.gov.uk

Once received, the Online Oral Exams team will check the details and send you a link to the Online Booking Service which will enable you to book your oral exam.

The MCA are issuing NOEs in receipt date order, i.e. ‘first come first served’.

The MCA state that they are committed to supporting the Yachting industry, and ask that candidates wait patiently while they deal with those at the front of the queue.

A full rundown of how to apply for an electronic NoE, booking an oral exam, and what to do with your paperwork after the oral exam is available in MIN 675

YouTube

We now have a YouTube channel where we are posting snippets of our oral prep courses, to keep you ticking over during lockdown – click here to see our channel.

MCA Policies

The MCA has put in place contingency plans to mitigate disruption to essential delivered services during the current worldwide coronavirus pandemic, which will impact the delivery of services leading to UK Certificates of Competency (CoC).

MIN 611 and MIN 612 detail the actions that the MCA are taking for all seafaferes and vessels, alongside other documents on the gov.uk website, but this is a short list of what they are doing regarding CoCs, correct at 15/04/2020 (see above for oral exam update 19/04/2020):

  • – issuing temporary CoCs for those needing to revalidate, or if a seafarer has completed all requirements to be issued with a new CoC, which will be valid for 6 months;
  • – providing exemptions for those officers who are on board a vessel and their safety training has expired. This will be based on a self declaration (as per the STCW 2010 Manilla amendments requirements);
  • – Oral Exam pass validity periods will be extended by a further 6 months;
  • – extending the validity date of an MCA Written Examination pass by up to 6 months;
  • – extending the expiry date of 2-year ENG1 Medical certificates, if you are unable to obtain a replacement;
  • – delaying the phase-out of the Yacht Engineer route, to 1st January 2023.

Risk Assessment for Re-Opening of JPMA/HSS Premises – Info for Students:

At the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, we undertook a risk assessment, prior to reopening our building to students, which has been reassessed on a regular basis over the last two years. Our current risk assessment follows:

There are several new measures that we have had to put in place, to keep you and our employees safe.

– Please note, from 1st April 2022 we no longer require proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to entering our building.

– On each morning of the course, please assess your own health and do not come in if you feel unwell or are exhibiting any Covid symptoms.

– To allow you, your classmates and our staff to arrive on the premises safely each morning, we have to stagger the arrival time of each course,. The arrival time you have been allocated must be adhered to for the entire course. You will be given this 1 week prior to your course start date.

– When arriving at the building on your first morning, you will need to be signed onto your course by our Reception team – please wait outside the building and you will be called into Reception to check in. You will see a sign telling you where to wait.

– A large hand sanitiser has been placed on the Reception desk for you to use on entering the building. There are sanitisers in each classroom, and there are also handwashing facilities available in all bathrooms.

– A one way system is in operation throughout the building – this will be explained to you on arrival, but signs and floor stickers have been put in place to ensure everyone keeps to the system.

– The building is cleaned every morning Monday-Friday, but extra measures have been put in place by our contracted cleaning company, as per Government guidance, to include touch points and high use areas. At lunchtimes, a member of Admin staff will clean banisters and door handles.

– We will be running a reduced number of courses in our largest classrooms. All oral prep courses will remain online until the MCA return to conducting their exams in the Marine Offices.

– Classrooms have been cleared of all non-essential items. Chairs have been removed from the classrooms, leaving only 1 chair at each desk, allowing students to sit 2 metres apart.

– The instructor desk in each classroom is now positioned so that the instructor is 2 metres away from students sitting on the front row.

– There is hand sanitiser & a box of tissues in each classroom.

– There is also a detergent spray & paper towels in each classroom, so that students can clean their desk at each smoko and lunch break.

– Air purifiers have been installed in classrooms and offices to ensure good ventilation throughout the building.

– You must stay in your class bubble for the duration of the course, meaning that you do not mix with students from other courses.

– Your course fee includes lunch and refreshments. We have arranged a ‘meal deal’ with our usual supplier, Fahys Bakery, as we cannot offer a food service at this time. You will be able to collect food from Fahys during the day (you will have an allocation of a certain number of sandwiches/cakes/biscuits etc per day). There is no longer a legal need to wear a face covering when entering shops and food outlets, although it is still recommended.

– Hot and cold drinks are available in our building during lunch/smoko.

– Students must eat their lunch in their classroom or in our back garden.

– You will need to bring your own water bottle each day, but our water fountain has been reinstated for student use.

And finally – please remember that others may have different feelings about the current situation than you – they may be nervous, or they may be very confident. Please bear in mind that everyone has been affected by this in different ways, and be kind to each other, and yourself. We are all operating in new ways, and there is pressure on us to get this right from the outset. Not everything will run smoothly at first, but we will make changes if we feel that particular measures are not working.

We hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and well in this unusual time.

updated 29/3/22