2/25/2015 Crew

Basic STCW — Becoming a Professional Seafarer

The Standards of Training, Certification, & Watchkeeping (STCW) Code is the first certification you can obtain to become a professional seafarer.

By Rupert Connor
Learn about obtaining a Basic STCW certification

What exactly is the STCW Code? In 1978, The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held a convention to improve the standards for safety and training for mariners. Since then, the adopted STCW code has gone through many revisions  to keep up with developments and advancements in technology. STCW Code sets the baseline for education and training that all yacht crew members should have under their belt. Depending on the school chosen, the STCW Basic Safety Training course costs an average of $1,311 and is comprised of 4 modules that are taken over 5 days. Note that once these courses are complete, you will need to take a STCW refresher course every 5 years to stay current. The current courses required to obtain an STCW endorsement (per the IMO STCW regulations) are as follows:

  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (Basic Fire Fighting) - 2.0 days
  • Personal Survival Techniques (PST) - 1.5 days
  • First Aid / CPR (Basic First Aid) - 1.0 day 
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR) - .5 day

For those that are serious about their yachting career, acquiring a Basic STCW certificate is fundamental. A license or Z-card permits you to work on inland waters only. Therefore, without an STCW you cannot operate in the ocean. Most importantly, STCW certification is recognized by foreign governments, whereas a license/Z-card is not.

Luxury Yacht Group encourages all crew to obtain their Basic STCW certification.  Expanding the boundary lines in where you are permitted to work makes it easier for crew agents to represent you. Without a Basic STCW, it will be rather difficult to advance any further than a Day Worker in the yachting industry. And most essential, mastering these practical skills helps ensure the safety of all passengers and personnel onboard your vessel.

Already have your Basic STCW certification? If you are thinking about taking the next step towards Yacht Rating, you can explore those details here.