Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping
USCG Approved Course

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STCW applies to all present and future mariners who wish to sail beyond the boundary lines of the United States on commercial vessels.  These boundary lines essentially separate the bays, harbors and other inland waters from the oceans.

In the United States, certain mariners are exempted from the STCW requirements.  Specifically, you do not need STCW ratings if you serve on vessels less then 200 gross tons, that sail on voyages which begin and end in a United States port. This is called a "Domestic Voyage".

STCW emphasizes hands-on demonstrations of your skill and ability to prove that you are qualified to serve aboard seagoing vessels.  Most U.S. mariners have already done this in their careers.  The biggest  change with STCW is that it formalizes the documentation of your ability to perform these tasks.

Completing SeaSchool's Coast Guard approved training course may be the least complicated way to meet the additional  STCW qualification requirements.  You may also demonstrate your knowledge and ability for STCW covered tasks before a Designated Examiner (DE).  A "DE" is an individual qualified to observe your performance and assess your competence.  This process is in it's early stages and may not be available to you yet.

If you meet the requirements of STCW you will be issued an STCW-95 Certificate.  Your present license or document are separate credentials from this certificate.  You may still maintain your license or document without STCW, however, you will essentially be limited to inland waters employment.

Mariners who began training or service prior to August 1, 1998 have one-time, gap-closing requirements to meet prior to February 1, 2002.  Existing mariners may upgrade their licenses or document (and STCW Certificate) prior to this date under the current regulations, however, the additional requirements still apply if you want the STCW.

Persons beginning training or service employment on or after August 1, 1998 must be part of an organized training program approved by the Coast Guard in order to upgrade their STCW certification beyond entry-level qualifications. See for more info.

STCW Courses:
Back to "The Basics"

Basic Safety Training (BST):
This is actually four courses:  Basic Firefighting, Personal Survival, Personal Safety/Social Responsibility, and Elementary First Aid.  The course runs for five days.  All mariners, except those in non-qualified entry-level positions (ordinary seaman, wiper/oiler, steward), must show that they are competent in the four areas mentioned.
Please call for particulars:  1-800-237-8663.

Deck Officers must attend an approved training program and obtain certification as GMDSS Operator to serve on a GMDSS equipped ship after February 1, 2002.  Note that after February 1, 1999, there must be at least two GMDSS operators aboard every such vessel.  Since all vessels above 300 gross tons must have this equipment, the GMDSS training will apply to most deck officers.  The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) course runs for 70 hours, and is held about once a month.
Please call for particulars: 1-800-237-8663.

The "Automatic Radar Plotting Aids" course is held over 32 hours (4 days) and is usually incorporated with a renewal course on the first day. Deck Officers must pass an approved ARPA course for service on ARPA equipped vessels after February 1, 2002.
Please call for particulars:  1-800-237-8663.

Bridge Resource Management:
Deck Officers must demonstrate proficiency in Bridge Teamwork Procedure.  This is a one-time-only requirement.  The course runs for 32 hours (4 days).
Please call for particulars:  1-800-237-8663.