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What is STCW Basic Safety Training?

At Flying Fish we get a lot of questions about STCW, What STCW is all about and why do I need STCW? What is the difference between STCW, STCW 95 and STCW 2010? To help understand what STCW is all about we thought we would explain STCW and why you need it.

What does STCW stand for?

STCW stands for ‘Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping’. STCW came into force in 1978 as Governments agreed to standardise training around the world. STCW Basic Safety Training, as it is known today is required by all seafarers who are working onboard commercial ships or Superyachts

If you are employed on a commercial ship, ferry, cruise ship or superyacht, you are required to complete a STCW Basic Safety Training Course. It is worth noting, all seafarers are required to complete an ENG1 medical.

What’s the difference between STCW 78, STCW 95 and STCW 2010?

The first International training requirements for merchant ships were introduced in 1978. This was part of a scheme by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) to standardise Maritime training across the world. Before 1978 individual Governments decided the standards, without consulting other countries. As a result, training practices and procedures varied from country to country and with shipping being a global industry, one country would not accept another’s training standards. This lead to ships being delayed in port, lots of red tape and political arguments between nations.

The 1978 STCW convention, a meeting of all IMO member states, decided on a standard of training and certification to be adopted by all states hence forth. This agreement was ratified in 1978 and came into force in 1994.

Basic principals of the STCW convention were that all crew should receive basic training to cope with emergencies on-board. This basic training would last around a week and would include the following:

  1. Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention – 2.5 day practical course that teaches you how to use the fire fighting equipment on-board your ship in the event of a fire.
  2. Personal and Social Responsibilities – 0.5 day course that introduces the safety procedures on-board, your responsibilities, living and working on-board a ship.
  3. Personal Survival Techniques – 1 day of survival techniques, abandoning ship, equipment found on-board. This course includes a practical session in a swimming pool.
  4. Elementary First Aid – 1 day of practical training on basic first aid, resuscitation techniques and practical first aid techniques.

Update to the STCW convention 1995

On 7th July 1995 the STCW code was updated, these were mainly administrative changes to bring the convention up to date.

2010 Manila amendments

In 2010 the Manila amendment set the latest training standards and certification for seafarers which came into force in 2014. The latest changes introduced Security Awareness training. Together with this, a requirement to update your Fire Fighting and Sea Survival qualification every 5 years was put into effect.

If your STCW Fire Fighting and Personal Survival certificates are more than 5 years old you must complete an update training course to be able to work on-board.

The STCW Basic Safety Training we provide at Flying Fish complies with the latest guidelines laid down by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), our governing body. You can be assured booking an STCW Basic Safety Training Course with us will be accepted by your employer as meeting the latest STCW requirements.

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