The Department for Transport provides the Support for Maritime Training scheme (SMarT), which is available to shipping companies and training organisations to cover up to 50% of seafarer training costs.

The SMarT scheme has been running since April 1998 for the training of officers, officer cadets and ratings. Courses must be approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB).  SMarT is paid to the training providers or shipping companies who sponsor trainees, not to individuals or colleges. Eligible shipping companies must apply to become a training provider (TP) within SMarT before they are able to claim for eligible trainees.

Unemployed seafarers wishing to train as either a Rating or Rating to Officer, may apply for funding through the Merchant Navy Training Provider.

Details on SMarT funding available can be found here M Notice Template – MSF 5011 (

More information on SMarT funding can be found on the Government website Support for maritime training (SMarT) – GOV.UK (

The MNTB operates the Merchant Navy Training Provider (MNTP) to support unemployed seafarers, by providing funding for certain training courses.

The MNTB operates the Merchant Navy Training Provider scheme to provide Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) funding to unemployed seafarers for certain approved programmes, such as Rating to Officer, Chief Mate/2nd Engineer.  Specific citizenship and other eligibility criteria apply. Further information and application should be made to Donna Stevens

The Slater Fund provides scholarships of up to £18,500 to help ratings and other seafarers study for a first Certificate of Competency as an officer. The Fund is administered by the Marine Society in association with Nautilus International.

If you’re a Merchant Navy rating considering career progression, the scholarship can be used to offset the direct costs of training and accommodation, travel, learning resources and living expenses whilst undertaking the qualification.

Contact the Marine Society for further information.

In 2015 Her Majesty The Queen signed the Royal Warrant for the Merchant Navy Medal for meritorious service. Details can be found on the Department for Transport website.

The Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service is awarded on an annual basis.  Full information about the medal and guidance on how to nominate a seafarer for an award are provided on the Merchant Navy Medal website. The nomination form for the Merchant Navy Medal can be found on the Department for Transport website.

The MNTB works closely with a range of industry organisations and bodies that are involved in Merchant Navy education and training activities.