Q: Tiffany, Stewardess:
“I heard something about STCW certificates needing to be updated by the first of January next year but I’m confused who this applies to and whether I need to do it – can you clarify?
Is it all crew with STCW, or only deck crew? And how long do the courses take – do you have to redo the whole STCW again? Some people are saying yes and some are saying it’s only certain parts of the course that you need to do. Also I heard it was every 5 years you have to do this, so if you just got your STCW do you still have to update it next year or do you wait 5 years? It would be great if you can please help clear this up for me and my fellow crew!”
A: The Crew Coach:
Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about refresher courses so I’m really pleased you asked this question! Technically as always only crew on commercially registered yachts need to have valid STCW certificates, but in order to maintain your employability in the industry I would always err on the side of keeping your tickets up to date.
To clarify: STCW basic and advanced training certificates which are more than 5 years old as of the 1st of January 2017, must be “refreshed” by this date. In other words, if you did your STCW anytime prior to the 1st of January 2012. THIS MEANS YOU!
If you get to the first of January next year without having done this your STCW will no longer be valid – which will mean big problems for you and your yacht if you’re onboard a commercially registered vessel.
The good news is, you don’t have to re-sit your entire STCW. You are required to update the following:
Basic Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting
Advanced Fire Fighting
Personal Survival Techniques
Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (other than Fast Rescue Boats)
Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats.
As Warsash Superyacht Academy explains in their excellent article on this topic, “There is no requirement to update the Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (PSSR) or any of the medical courses. Updating of the Proficiency in Medical Care is not currently required under the STCW Code however on EU Member State flagged vessels, in accordance with EU Council Directive 92/29/EEC, the captain and any person delegated to use the medical type A supplies must receive special training updated at least every five years.”
In addition to this, crew who hold a Certificate of Competency (CoC) which predates the STCW 1995 amendments do not need to complete the entire STCW – they will, however, need to submit certificates to show that either the courses listed above have been completed within the past five years or that refresher training has been undertaken.
All of the refresher courses (with the exception of Personal Survival Techniques) run for 1 full day each (PST is a half-day course) so it’s not too difficult to fit these in around your busy schedule, especially if you book yourself in soon. But definitely don’t wait around, if you know this needs to be done you really shouldn’t leave it til the last minute.
We’ve heard that maritime schools everywhere are being inundated with refresher training bookings so our advice is don’t leave it too late – if you did your STCW more than 5 years ago you have until 31 December this year to refresh your training!
More information is available here: WARSASH STCW UPDATES