The certification of skippers and mates (or second hands) on British-registered fishing vessels began in 1884. It was an extension of the Board of Trade system that applied to masters and mates from 1854.
The records at the Museum consist of Certificates of Service and accompanying application forms for Skippers and Second Hands numbered 01 to 08199 (with significant gaps). They cover the period circa 1884-1907. The Certificates of Competency are numbered 1 to 21000 and cover the period circa 1880-1934. There are also some documents relating to Authorization to Act Certificates for Skippers and Second Hands circa 1910 numbered 1A to 139A and 2960A to 3099A.
The relevant Registers of Certificates of Service and Registers of Certificates of Competency are held by The National Archives (TNA) at Kew, see the Board of Trade series BT 129 and 130. These are arranged by certificate number, but there is an index to the registers arranged alphabetically by name in BT 138. From 1910 onwards the separate registers were replaced by the combined self-indexing register BT 352.
Public records: records of the central administration of the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy