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Basic STCW Courses

STCW stands for standards of training certification and watch keeping. This is a training that is said to be compulsory for both the new as well as the existing mariners. It is a comprehensive course that prepares one for a great future in the sea and as a successful mariner.

We will now discuss about the basic STCW courses in more details so that you get a better understanding of these courses and how they must be taken up. The STCW course is upgraded from time to time. It is also known as the STCW code. This is exactly why the existing mariners also need to enrol for this course from time to time.

The STCW is a paper that is attached to the licence of a mariner. This is an important document and like the licence this too has to be renewed from time to time. The most important is to understand the importance of this. A licence has validity in the country that you are operating for. It is controlled by the authorised body in your country. However, the STCW is recognised worldwide. With this you can operate in the other countries too. This increases your scope of operation. Making it all the more important for you to have this course done and be certified.

However, the interesting part is that you can get this done only after you have a valid mariner’s licence. This becomes the first eligibility. Within five years of getting the licence one has to clear the basic STCW course. It was realised that almost eighty per cent of the mishaps that happen in the sea are due to human errors and can be avoided by training the mariners accordingly. If they are aware of what needs to be done in a situation they can ensure that the lives lost in any mishap are considerably less. The technology is important but the human element is the most important factor when in sea. This is exactly what the STCW propagates. You might hear terms like STCW 78, STCW 95, etc.

Well these numbers are nothing but simply the year when the STCW was amended. So the mariners know which STCW they need to take up. The STCW 95 is the present version. This does not apply to mariners who work on inland waters and don’t need to enter the waters of a foreign nation. However, for others it is indispensable to certify for this. This course was basically designed to ensure that the mariners are aware of the basic safety standards that they need to maintain when on the high seas.

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The course is sub divided into four stages that are basic fire fighting, elementary first aids that one must be aware of, personal survival skill is an essential part of the training to ensure that the mariners can survive a fatal situation, the last part of the course is dedicated to personal safety and social responsibility for all those who are on board in the ship. The course ensures that the mariners are capable of handling any emergency that they may have to face and also be able to reduce the causalities to the very minimum.

The course is a good combination of hands on training and theory. A lot of video clippings and practical sessions are involved in the course. This course is to be taken every five years. However, the shipping companies arrange for refresher courses from time to time to ensure that the mariners are well trained and their knowledge is up to the mark. If during these mock drill sessions any gap is found then the mariners must be trained accordingly.

These courses have significantly helped the mariners to fight the awkward situations in the sea and survive difficult situations. After the course is over an examination is held to see how well the mariner has understood the concept. Whenever one wants to apply for another post they need to be prepared to get quizzed about the STCW codes. This is how important the code is considered. Let us clarify few more things about the STCW here.

Each country has a different STCW. This is because they follow different licence and COC norms. The STCW training is given in the country of licence itself. The course is a standard one and the same syllabus and training procedure is followed across the world. This gives the STCW a standard form. The IMO regulates these courses. The member states of IMO keep updating it about these from time to time and can also recommend if they feel some changes must be made to these courses. All the white list nations follow these codes. Even the non-white list nations ensure that their mariners are trained in these codes else they will not be allowed to take up international voyages and not be granted entry into the foreign waters.

The training measures that all the countries have taken to ensure that a standard is maintained in the marine safety must be appreciated and acknowledged. These trainings have been able to ensure that good safety standards are maintained in the sea and the sea becomes a safer place to be in not only for the mariners but also for the passengers who take luxury cruises. I hope we were able to answer few of your questions that you had about the basic STCW courses. Well these are very essential courses and all must follow the steps mentioned above to enrol for these courses and to keep updating your knowledge from time to time. This makes it clear that how important it actually is to be aware of these STCW codes for all mariners. These are like the basic survival tricks that all must know before they leave for the high sea. Do take these courses seriously and appreciate that this knowledge can help you in the most difficult of situations. This is a knowledge that can help you to save not only your life, but also the lives of others in the ship. All the best and hope you will always have a safe voyage always.

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As a marine officer, you will command a team of seafarers, leading them from the front using your skills in planning and decision making while also being responsible for their morale, training and operational effectiveness.

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