STCW Basic Safety Training: FAQs

If you are setting your sights on a career in yachting, there are a number of qualifications you will need to have under your belt before applying. The qualifications that you require will depend on whether you are hoping to secure a job on deck, in the interior or as an engineer or officer However, whatever you dream of, one thing every yachtie needs is STCW Basic Safety Training.


What is the STCW Basic Safety Training?

The STCW Certificate is a compulsory safety requirement for anyone looking for work on yachts of more than 24 metres. It stands for: Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

There are five modules to the course, all of which must be completed to obtain the licence. The five modules are:

  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting
  • Elementary First Aid
  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibilities
  • Proficiency in Security Awareness (or PDSD)


What are the differences between the STCW 78, 95, and 2010?

The first international training requirements for yachts of more than 24 metres were introduced by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 1978. The initial certificate was known as the STCW 78. 

In July 1995, the STCW code was updated and became known as the STCW 95. The changes made were mainly administrative modifications, introduced to bring the convention up to date.

In 2010, the Manila amendment set the latest training standards and certification for the yachting industry, which finally came into force in 2014. The STCW 2010 includes updated ‘Security Awareness’ training which provides crew with new guidance on security-related issues onboard. 


How and where to get an STCW certificate

The STCW course is available to take in all major yachting centres. There are no formal pre-course requirements but you must be aged 17 or over to enrol onto the course.

It takes five days to complete the course and can cost anywhere between €800 to €2,000 depending on the school you choose. This is for a non-residential course. 

Most of the training you will undergo to pass the STCW certificate will be practical, hands-on training with a number of theory-based exams. At the end of the course, those who have completed it will have the knowledge and practical experience to respond to an emergency on board.


How long does the STCW certificate last?

An STCW certificate is valid for 5 years. After 5 years is up, an STCW Basic Safety Training refresher course needs to be undertaken.