Get a seaman’s discharge book or British seaman’s card

Business: Maritime

    You need a seaman’’s discharge book if you’’re a British seafarer, or are working on a UK-registered ship or yacht. You’’ll also need a British seaman’’s card if you’’re a British citizen.

    You can download an application for a British seaman’s card or discharge book from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) website.

    It costs £40 to apply for a British seaman’s card and £40 to apply for a discharge book. Details of how to pay and where to send your application are on the form.

    Seaman’s discharge book

    A seaman’s discharge book is a full record of a seaman’s career experience and certification.

    You need a discharge book if you are either:

    • a British citizen who works on ships or large yachts
    • not a British citizen but employed on a UK-registered ship or large yacht

    You don’t need a discharge book if you’re employed:

    • on a ship that doesn’t go to sea
    • on a pleasure boat and don’t receive any pay
    • only for the purpose of testing the ship, its machinery or equipment in UK coastal waters
    • by the Crown and not normally employed as a master or seaman
    • specifically for the construction, alteration, repair or testing of a ship
    • on an un-registered ship

    British seaman’s card

    A British seaman’s card is an internationally accepted document which lets British seamen land at foreign ports without needing a visa. You must be a British citizen to apply for a card.

    You don’t need a card if you:

    • work in a ship belonging to a general lighthouse authority
    • receive little or no pay (but cadets can apply)

    Contact the MCA if you need help with your application.

    Maritime and Coastguard Agency
    029 2044 8844

    Information about who needs a seaman’s discharge book and a British seaman’s card