This is the extract from MGN 97 which is current;
Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) Certificate
3.5.1 EDH is the qualifying examination for AB and deck rating certification. This can be taken after a seafarer has:
.1 attained the age of 17;
.2 served at least 12 months in the deck department of sea-going merchant ships; and
.3 obtained a Navigational Watch Rating Certificate or a Steering Certificate
3.5.2 Service in the deck department in High Speed Craft (HSC), tugs, dredgers, standby vessels, survey vessels, RN ships and fishing vessels of more than 16.5m registered length is also acceptable. Service in MOUs will be counted if serving as part of the deck crew.
3.5.3 Six months service in the deck department in HSC will be accepted in place of the 12 months service specified in paragraph 220.127.116.11 above, towards the issue of an EDH limited to HSC. This limitation may be removed on completion of 12 months sea service.
3.5.4 The syllabus for EDH training and certification is given in Annex 1.
3.5.5 Training providers must obtain approval from the MCA both to conduct EDH courses and for individual examiners. With effect from the date of issue of this MGN, there is no requirement for existing training providers to seek re-approval.
3.5.6 Approved training providers will issue certificates on behalf of the MCA and are required to maintain full records of all certificates issued. These certificates must be in the approved format as shown in Annex 2 of this note.
3.5.7 Holders of a level 2 VQ in Marine Vessel Operations may obtain an EDH certificate without further examination.
So the issues will be;
a. gaining a Navigational Watch Rating Certificate although I am aware that the MCA has been approached about accepting RYA Yachtmaster Offshore as an alternative and they will accept service in vessels >16.5m
b. service currently shown on paragraph 3.5.2 gives a length of >16.5m and I would suspect that this will be the length for the future.
I have been asked in the past what the significance is of the 16.5m and I personnaly think that it's related the Fishing Skippers/Hands CoC route as there is a CoC for fishing vessels <16.5m