Imminent Changes to STCW Refresher Training Regulations
When searching for yacht crew jobs, it is essential for crewmembers to keep their skills up to date to maximise the possibility of being employed. It is worth bearing in mind that, although regulations can seem overwhelming, yacht crew agencies offer an invaluable means of keeping up to speed with training requirements.
Up until 1995 there was no requirement for mandatory safety training, despite the Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention being drafted in 1978. It was with the 1995 amendments, however, that the STCW became mandatory. Next year’s rule change – the latest development in the yachting industry – ensures that high safety standards are preserved: from 1st January 2017 all working seafarers must update their training within each five-year interval.
Although 2010 Manila Amendments are finally being implemented after years of anticipation, it should be a relatively painless process for seafarers – the actual re-training will last no longer than one day. If you currently hold the STCW 95 certificate then the transition should be smooth, as long as you keep on top of your dates. Those who hold a Certificate of Competency (CoC), which predates the STCW, won’t have to start from scratch and do the full course; they can access the shorter refresher courses immediately. However, the type of training required will vary depending on your Certificate of Competency.
The previous outlines for STCW refresher training were interpreted in a number of ways by various administrations, but now they have been standardised by the MNTB, MCA and IASST. The following certificates are subject to updated training every five years:
- 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).
The reason behind these changes is first and foremost, safety. Now that any loopholes in the regulations have been removed, these improvements will create a safer working environment and make working on a yacht an even more attractive career path. The STCW refresher course is also a response to ‘skills fade’ – a common occurrence whereby professional skills fade due to a lack of practice. It is thought that up to 60% of information gained on a course is lost after just six months; in the case of fire fighting and sea survival, that’s just too big a risk to take. Also, older crewmembers may have taken their STCW safety courses a long time ago, or perhaps never. Technologies and safety practices constantly evolve, so it’s important for everyone on board to be completely up-to-date on training.
These are the biggest changes to take place in the world of maritime safety training in the last 15 years. Since implementation is only five months away, it’s vital to take action now – particularly if your certificates are already more than five years old. Courses are filling up fast and it’s worth taking the time to comply now, rather than be left behind next year.
To find out more about the specific technicalities of refresher courses in the yachting industry, consult this PYS publication.
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.