Impending Changes to the STCW Refresher Course Requirements

STCW Refresher CourseSTCW Refresher Course
STCW Refresher CourseSTCW Refresher Course

Impending Changes to the STCW Refresher Course Requirements

As in all industries, regulations in the yachting industry change from time to time and it is up to professionals to keep their qualifications up to date. The situation for seafarers in yacht crew jobs is especially crucial and from 1st January 2017, crewmembers will need to acquaint themselves with new regulations. All crewmembers will be expected to complete a Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping (STCW) refresher course to update their skills every five years.

Although the STCW Convention was drafted in 1978, it was not made mandatory until the 1995 amendments. Every working seafarer was expected to complete the appropriate training as a one-time qualification. The 2010 Manila Amendments have added more regulations on top of that, and the initial grace period is coming to a close, which has huge implications for the yachting industry. This recent change to training protocol will have the biggest impact on older crewmembers that do not have the STCW certification, since they will encounter it for the first time.

Updating skills is not just a matter of maximising employment opportunities, it also vital for everyone’s safety at sea. A 5-yearly refresher course will ensure crewmembers remain familiar with the latest training techniques so they can continue to do their jobs safely and to the best of their ability. Like other industry professionals, crewmembers are subject to ‘skills fade’, an occurrence where workers lose their skills due to a lack of practice. Up to 60% of information gained on a course is lost after just six months. With regards to fire fighting and sea survival in particularly, this is a very dangerous practice to perpetuate. Some crewmembers may never have taken their STCW safety courses in the first place. Since technology and safety practices are constantly evolving, up-to-date training is vital.

Despite an initial reluctance, seafarers should realise that the implementation of regular retraining is actually a great improvement for the industry. The actual retraining will only last for one day maximum and if you currently hold the STCW 95 certificate then the transition should be easy. Working seafarers that hold a Certificate of Competency (CoC), which predates the STCW, will be able to forgo full training and access the shorter refresher courses immediately. However, the type of training required would vary depending on your Certificate of Competency, so be sure to clarify this with a yacht crew agency.

STCW refresher training courses have been standardised by the MNTB, MCA and IASST and the following certificates are subject to the new regulations:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (PST).
  • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (other than Fast Rescue
  • Boats) (PSCRB), Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats (FRB).
  • Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting (FPFF).
  • Advanced Fire Fighting (AFF).

These regulations used to be interpreted differently by various administrations, but now they are all subject to the same rules, and confusing loopholes have been removed. Crewmembers can expect a much safer working environment from 2017 onwards.

These are the largest changes to regulations to take place in the yachting industry in the last decade. Since implementation is only five months away, it’s vital to keep on top of your training dates. If your certificates are already more than five years old, you need to book a refresher course now. The recent changes to regulations might seem overwhelming, but yacht crew agencies can offer an invaluable service in helping you to navigate through the murky waters of training requirements.

If you’d like more information on the specific technicalities of refresher courses in the yachting industry, consult an industry professional for yacht crew advice.

Disclaimer: while we have endeavoured to convey information as accurately as possible, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the provided information, as wording and interpretation are subject to change. For more information, please contact the relevant authority.

STCW Refresher Course