What is STCW and who needs it?

Courtesy of our friends at STCW Direct

Courtesy of our friends at STCW Direct

STCW stands for Standard Training Certification and Watching. It is a worldwide convention that ensures a lateral standard of training is achieved across all countries in the world. So for instance, if you’re a Captain from Europe or America, you will have to undergo similar training in accordance with the STCW convention.

Who is STCW for?

Anyone wishing to work on commercial vessels that are over 24 metres long will have to obtain STCW qualifications/courses before they seek employment. The type of courses/qualifications you’ll need will greatly depend on the position you’re applying for and the post you’ll be assigned to once you’re on-board.

At the very minimum, you will need to obtain STCW Basic Safety Courses in order to apply to work on a ship. These courses can usually be completed within a week – during one block booking – at a designated STCW training centre.

The four basic STCW courses are as follows:

  1. Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities – This is a classroom-based course that focuses on teaching the essentials of basic safety.
  2. BASIC Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting – This firefighting course covers both practical and theoretical situations that are taught by professional firefighters.
  3. Personal Survival Techniques – A theory and practical course, you will be taught how to abandon ship using life rafts and also how to don life jackets correctly.
  4. Elementary First Aid – A theory and practical course, during this session you will be taught vital basic 1st aid and life savings skills.

*Proficiency in Security Awareness (*UK Requirement Only)- This course is not normally part of basic STCW week; however it is a required course (UK Requirement Only) that you must complete prior going to sea. Normally, if you book onto the 4 mandatory courses listed above, your course supplier will include this one for free. It’s a half day course that can easily be slotted into your training week, and is designed to explain how security systems work on board.