What certificates do I need to update?

This depends on what you currently hold but the list below covers what is outlined in MSN 1865(M) - (available as a download at the bottom of this page).

Most seafarers who are working using their basic qualifications will only need the first two.

  • STCW Personal Survival Techniques
  • STCW Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting
  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSCRB)
  • Fast Rescue Boat

What about my First Aid certificate?

STCW Elementary First Aid is the basic qualification that all seafarers must hold. Whilst working aboard a large vessel the Captain and/or some of the officers will hold a higher qualification called “Proficiency in Medical Care”; this certificate is renewed every 5 years (Reference: MGN 96 (M)). It is considered by the IMO that because there is someone with recent advanced training just a few minutes away at all times, the Elementary First Aid certificate held by crew members should not need updating. However if you are using your STCW Elementary First Aid qualification as the certificate to authorise you to skipper small vessels under an RYA Commercial Endorsement or instructor qualification for instance, you must renew your STCW First Aid certificate every 5 years or as specified by the authority who issue your certificate of competence.

Why do all my STCW Certificates have expiry dates?

The certificates we issue in the UK under the jurisdiction of the MCA do not normally have an expiry date printed on them. Some other flag nations such as South Africa have expiry dates. If you completed your original STCW training with a cruise company they will have carried out a ship specific course which is authorised for short term use only and therefore these will also have expiry dates. The short answer is therefore: If your certificate has an expiry date printed on it, it is not valid after that date and refresher training (if available) is required for that course or you will need to take part in the full course again.

I don't work on a ship or vessel that needs STCW certificates, I only use my STCW Personal Survival Techniques qualification to validate my RYA Commercial Endorsement or Instructor qualification. Do I still need to update it?

Yes. The RYA state that they do require STCW PST certificates to be updated if it is being used as part of a commercial endorsement for whatever reason. If you have not been involved in the 6 items that require a declaration from MSN 1865 (M) (e.g. lifeboat drills) in the last 5 years you will not be eligible to complete a signed declaration to qualify for the shortened course. In this case you would need to complete the one-day full personal survival techniques to gain a new, in date certificate.

Please take careful note of the type of course you require; if you need a full PST course but book onto an update course without supplying us with the declaration we will not be able to issue you an update certificate.

I can’t be certain that I have completed all the onboard training for PST, what should I do?

You will need to complete the full PST course again. This isn’t too much to worry about it just means a little more time in the classroom; the pool drills are the same for both courses and there is no price difference within our company. We try to run the full course and the updating courses during the same week or even on the same day. So you may be able to swap onto the full course easily if space allows, but please check with us as we sometimes run the half day update course as a separate course.

How long do the courses take to complete?

The PST updating course takes a little over 4 hours. The Basic fire-fighting update takes 7 hours.

My employer is suggesting I have to retake all my STCW modules including PSSR, why?

Firstly, your paymaster is King! In a lot of cases they are able to command their requirements and this can be used to "weed out" applicants when an employer expects large numbers of applicants. In addition, some employers either mis-read the regulations or are using the regulations that are being recommended by other national government agencies (i.e. not the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency), because of the areas in which their vessels and/or employees work.

We also hear of some large companies (e.g. EDF Energy etc.) that are offering contracts to shipping or construction sub-contractors and demand the employees have recently completed all modules before the contract is offered. There is no argument against this; if they are the paymasters, you must conform or not get the work!

I have been working offshore on drill platforms and I already have BOSIET and FOET, these seem similar to STCW do I need to do STCW as well?

Yes, unfortunately the governing bodies for these two types of employment have never got together and merged the different standards. In short, if you are planning to work on merchant vessels you need certificates that have the reference that looks something like these on them: 

"Regulation VI/1, paragraph 1 and Section A-VI/1, paragraph 2.1 of the STCW Convention and Code 1978, as amended" (the latest 2010 requirement)

or the previous regulation:

"STCW-95 Regulation VI/1 and para. 2.1.1, 2.1.3 & 2.1.4 of STCW Code Section A-VI/1"

I have an Advanced Sea Survival Certificate, does this need updating?

To have this certificate you either work as a deck officer or engineer of a super-yacht or you have completed this course for personal development. The course was developed to cater for personnel who would normally need to be trained in the course, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSCRB) but normally work on vessels that don't carry davit launched lifeboats.

The Advanced Sea Survival course has now been withdrawn and replaced by PSCRB, you will need to enrol on the PSCRB updating course to update an Advanced Sea Survival certificate. Unfortunately at this time we do not provide this course and we can best refer you to one of the large acadamies such as Warsash. 

The official information, MIN 533 (M) is available as a PDF download below