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The 5 Basic STCW Courses

The STCW basic safety training course contains five different training sections within the overall course. Each of the five modules covers the required topics for that portion of the training course. These five training modules are:

  1. Personal survival techniques: teach students the skills and techniques they will need to survive at sea in the event of an emergency.
  2. Fire prevention and firefighting: allow the students to identify and extinguish different types of fires and obtain a practical knowledge of firefighting equipment.
  3. Elementary first aid: How to respond to and care for an injured individual.
  4. Personal safety and social responsibility: How to prevent accidents and understand safety procedures.
  5. Proficiency in security awareness: This provides essential training in the event of a security threat such as piracy or armed robbery.

In this article, we will be going into detail about the five modules that are included in an STCW course. We will also be discussing certifications, endorsement, and the courses that we here at Hard Hat Training have to offer.

The History of STCW

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) was adopted in 1978 and then fully implemented by 1984. It was amended in 1995 and then again in 2010. The STCW applies to seafarers, ship-owners, training establishments, and national maritime administrations. The convention helps make and enforce safety standards specifically to keep shipping environments safe and oceans clean.

Is Anyone Exempt From STCW?

There are a few people that are not required to meet the STCW standards and qualifications. Seafarers and maritime employees are exempt from STCW if they work on:

  • Warships
  • Naval auxiliaries
  • Government owned or operated ships
  • Fishing vessels
  • Yachts that are not engaged in commercial service

Personal Survival Techniques

The purpose of this course is to provide seafarers with the essential knowledge of personal survival principles and the practical experience with these principles to maximize their chances of survival in the event of an emergency. The topics that must be covered in this module are:

Fire Prevention & Firefighting

This module of the STCW training covers learning topics such as the necessary precautions needed to minimize the risk of fires aboard the ship. It also covers how fires are caused and how to safely and properly put them out.

This section of the training should also include practical training on the use of firefighting equipment, including the use of a breathing apparatus in the case of firefighting and rescue. Other topics you can expect to learn throughout this course are:

  1. Hazard Identification
  2. Chemical storage
  3. Equipment
  4. Response
  5. Prevention
  6. Controls

Basic Firefighting vs Advanced Firefighting

The basic firefighting course is generally taken by new maritime employees as part of the mandatory STCW basic training course. There are no qualifications or prerequisites for this safety course, and the main requirement is that the employee is in generally good physical health.

The advanced firefighting course is a part of the required safety training for an employee who is specifically responsible for managing and controlling firefighting operations on board a vessel. It also is required to be taken by officers that wish to apply for or renew their certificates of competency. Employees who are required to or want to take this course must have obtained the basic firefighting certificate first.

Basic First Aid

This portion of the STCW courses will cover topics that will help employees build essential knowledge on how to respond to the most common injuries and emergencies on board a vessel, including:

This course module will also teach you important medical techniques and procedures for emergency situations. Some of these important learning topics that will be discussed in this course module are:

Personal Safety and Social Responsibility

This portion of the course introduces basic training that covers safety procedures and accident prevention, which helps new crew members become familiar with the working conditions they may face while working on board. Some of the topics that will be covered in this module are:

Proficiency in Security Awareness

This section of the training was added fairly recently, so the standards are *newer. These standards were added specifically for employees who need to be aware of safety and security issues, but do not have designated security responsibilities. Some of the security issues that are covered in this module are:

*Due to the standard being newer, we do not offer this portion of the training.

Is the STCW Course OSHA Aligned?

OSHA has standards and laws for maritime employers regarding shipyard employment, marine terminals, and longshoring. OSHA also requires employers to provide a safe and healthful work environment for their employees.

Aside from these standards, OSHA refers to the qualifications laid out by the STCW. The STCW requires seafarers to meet the standards of competence, age, mental and physical fitness, and approved sea-going service.

The STCW Convention is outlined in eight chapters, each one presenting employee qualifications and standards for a different crew or job. The basic outline is as follows:

Does STCW Safety Training Take a Week?

The STCW basic training qualifications entails five modules (each listed above) which, in total, take five days to complete. Therefore, STCW safety training does take about a week to complete. You will not need to worry about the time requirements if you are renewing your certificate, though. Your employer is required to give you time to complete this.

STCW Certification

The STCW basic safety training certification is mandatory for any crew member wanting to work on a commercial ship or yacht. The certification shows employers that the employee is able to identify safety hazards at sea and know how to effectively respond to an emergency situation. It is designed to help new maritime employees gain the knowledge and skills that they will need in order to safely work on board.

It is important to note that STCW certifications require you to have hands-on, in-person experience. You cannot just complete an online course and be certified. Online STCW courses will offer you a certificate of completion, but in order to meet the proper requirements, you must find an in-person safety class that will teach you all the physical skills you will need to develop.

Does the STCW Certificate Expire?

An STCW certification will generally need to be renewed every five years. However, your employer can decide whether you must take the entire course again or just participate in a refresher course.

An Assessment of Competency

An assessment of competency requires that maritime employees receive a certificate of competency. A STCW certificate of competence is similar to an endorsement (which we will discuss below); however, it is specific to a particular function aboard the ship. This means that if you are responsible for fire prevention, you must receive a certificate of competency for fire prevention.

What is a STCW Endorsement?

An STCW endorsement is obtained through taking specific safety courses and onboard assessments that are required in order to meet the relevant safety standards and competency levels. There are different levels of STCW endorsements that you may need in order to qualify for specific maritime jobs. The different endorsement levels are:

Who Needs an Endorsement?

An STCW endorsement is only necessary for maritime employees that work aboard vessels that will operate outside of the U.S Territorial Boundary Line.

For reference, the Territorial Boundary Line is only three miles away from the coasts on the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the U.S and barely 12 miles off the Gulf of Mexico. Considering the fact that the line isn’t very far from the U.S coast, you may need an endorsement more often than you think.

Our Safety Training

There are many ways to complete safety training; however, some ways are not easy, convenient, or affordable. At the end of the day though, safety training should be a positive experience and not a hassle. All of our courses comply with the proper safety standards and contain all necessary information that is related to the training you need.

Our learning development and quality assurance teams spend hours researching and compiling safety information, which gives us the opportunity to provide our customers with the most efficient and effective safety training.

Start Your Courses Today

Our course catalog presents companies with over 200 training topics to choose from. Each of our safety courses are fully narrated and designed to keep the students’ mind engaged. Along with other maritime safety courses, our STCW courses are available for you to purchase and take today.

We offer all of the above courses in three different learning formats. We offer it in an online course, a training kit, and in a train the trainer format.

Online Course

Our online courses offer both employers and employees a variety of learning benefits. These courses help to make the safety training process quick, effective, and engaging.

Employees have the freedom to work at their own pace and in their own time. Our online courses also allow employees to stop and start at their leisure, which is very beneficial for those who work long hours.

Additionally, our online courses allow employers to have the ability to track the completion rates of their employees and to see what they scored on their final exam.

Training Kits

Our training kits include a variety of instructional resources. Our kits come with:

Train the Trainer

Our train the trainer courses are online and meant to certify any individual who wants to use the training kit to train their employees. The kit is included with the train the trainer course and is available for use after successfully completing the online portion of the course.