The PYA office frequently receives requests from yacht crew for a “Seaman’s Book”. Sometimes this request turns out actually to be for a Service Record Book, or an OOW 3000 GT Training Record Book for Deck, which the PYA can provide. Other times the caller is actually looking for a Discharge Book, which only a flag state can provide.
Discharge Books are not a primary identity document. They are initially issued by the flag state of the vessel on which a seafarer is employed, and are intended to be a record of service. Application for the first issuance of a Discharge Book has to be passed through an owner’s representative, such as a captain or appointed manager. The entries record the dates and ports of joining and leaving the vessel. Unless otherwise proscribed by the issuing flag state, a Discharge Book can be carried by the seafarer onto other vessels under different flags, and the entries will still be valid as a record of service on all vessels recorded in the Book. It is essential to understand that in the context of a Discharge Book issued by a Red Ensign Group flag state, “service” relates only to the period of employment in a vessel. The nature of service is not attested to, except that it was performed in a certain rank.
A Discharge Book is a valid record of a seafarer’s employment as required under MLC, 2006, and may form part of the evidence to be submitted to the PYA for validation of sea service at various stages of a yacht crew member’s career. As stated above, it is not intended to be an identity document with the same international acceptance as a passport. It may be useful when traveling on a seaman’s ticket to attest to an airline representative that the ticket holder is a genuine seafarer. Some non-European immigration authorities may prefer to see a Discharge Book prior to issuance of a local shore pass.
The Digital Service Record Book (D-SRB) is intended to provide detailed evidence of approved courses taken, qualifications obtained, and the associated specific types of onboard service, such as sea service, stand-by service, yard service, etc. The D-SRB is issued by the PYA. All entries are made only by a delegated PYA manager after testimonials regarding the service to be entered have been scrutinized and checked. Entries are then rechecked by a PYA Officer who has been specifically approved by the MCA to certify such service as being valid qualifying time for MCA Certificates of Competency.
The OOW 3000 GT Training Record Book for Deck is published by the MCA and locally printed by the PYA for issuance to members (Non-members are required to pay a fee). Entries are certified by the Captain or Chief Officer on board. The Deck TRB contains a detailed record of each step required to advance toward the OOW <3000 gt COC.