Eyesight Entry Requirements for Merchant Navy Cadets.

Eyesight testing is carried out as a routine part of every Seafarer Merchant Navy Medical examination.

Different standards apply to Deck, Engineer and Electro Technical Officers and Trainees.

Individuals who wish to go to sea are strongly advised to have their eyes tested by an optometrist before embarking on their career to ensure that, as far as possible, their sight is expected to meet the required standards throughout their expected time at sea.

Colour Vision:

Deck Officer Trainees and Ratings:

Colour vision is tested by using the introductory plate, and all the transformation and vanishing plates. Candidates who fail the Ishihara colour plate test may apply to one of the MCA’s nominated Marine Offices, for their colour vision to be re-tested using a Holmes Wright B lantern.

Electro Technical Officer Trainees (ETO):

Colour vision is tested using Ishihara plates (as for deck department). Those who fail the Ishihara test may apply to any registered optician for confirmatory testing using the Farnsworth D15 test or City University test.

Engineer Officer Trainees and Radio department personnel:

Colour vision tested using Ishihara plates (as for deck department). Those who fail the Ishihara test may apply to any registered optician for confirmatory testing using the Farnsworth D15 test or City University test.

Other personnel should be tested for colour vision, where relevant for the duties to be undertaken, using the Ishihara plates.

Summary of Standards Required:

  • No person should be accepted for training or sea service if any irremediable morbid condition of either eye, or the lids of either eye, is present and liable to the risk of aggravation or recurrence.

  • Binocular vision is normally required for all categories of seafarers. Case by case assessment may be appropriate in certain circumstances.

  • In all cases where visual aids (spectacles or contact lenses) are required for the efficient performance of duties, a spare pair must be carried. Where different visual aids are used for distant and near vision, a spare pair of each must be carried.

Deck Officer Trainees Sight Requirements:

  • Basic Visual Acuity Standard (unaided):   Better eye - 6/60.   Other eye - 6/60.

  • Higher Visual Acuity Standard (aided if necessary):   Better eye - 6/6.   Other eye - 6/12.

  • Near Vision:   N8.

  • Colour Vision:   Ishihara or Lantern 2 miles.

  • Visual Field:   No pathological field defect.

Engineer Officer Trainee Sight Requirements and Radio Personnel (incl ETO):

  • Basic Visual Acuity Standard (unaided):   6/60.

  • Higher Visual Acuity Standard (aided if necessary):   Better eye - 6/18.   Other eye - 6/18.

  • Near Vision:   N8.

  • Colour Vision:   Ishihara or Farnsworth D15 or City University.

  • Visual Field:   Sufficient to undertake duties efficiently.

Note:   For the full details refer to the regulations.

Apply Now to Train as a Deck, Engineer or Electro Technical Officer!


Updated:   October 2017.