STCW—Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping—is an important certificate for all sorts of marine workers in the industry. It is a set of safety rules and regulations that are considered valid internationally. As a fundamental requirement, no marine worker can secure employment in any marine-related industry if they do not have an STCW certificate. So, let’s understand the importance and process of getting the STCW certificate in South Africa.

A Brief Background on STCW

To set a standard for international maritime waters and to avoid conflict between different laws and regulations between international maritime boundaries, the first International Convention (or International Conference) focused on setting an international standard for training, certification, and watchkeeping in 1978. This is the first conference that established the foundation of STCW.

Since then, STCW has undergone scrutiny multiple times and had various amendments introduced in the international standards. The most commonly recognised and crucial amendments were made in 1995 and 2010, which made STCW certificate holders retrain and renew their certificates.

Details regarding STCW Conventions are available on their official website, the International Maritime Organization.

How do you obtain an STCW Certificate in South Africa?

STCW is an extensive training course that requires physical fitness. So, to obtain an STCW certification in South Africa, you will need to obtain an ML5 or ENG1 medical license. You can do so by visiting a SAMSA-approved doctor or an RYA-approved doctor in South Africa. We have covered more about this in our ENG1 Medical Certificate article.

Once you have the medical clearance, you are eligible to take the STCW course.

STCW Course includes the following modules. These modules are basically courses that are STCW-compliant.

  • Basic Fire Fighting
  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Proficiency in Designated Security Duties

The goal of the STCW course is to make you able-bodied and equip you with the knowledge to deal with various adversaries on the seas. Depending on the package, you can complete the course just within a few days, typically between 9 to 11 days. Each module can be taken separately and the respective certificate can be renewed separately. But it is better if you take an STCW course package if you are a newcomer in the marine industry.

If you are further interested, we have covered more about each module of the STCW certification course in this article. Successful completion of each module will reward you with an internationally recognised certificate. You can use this almost anywhere in the world to secure employment in the marine industry. Most of these certificates require renewal once every five years to stay relevant and fresh.

STCW Certificate Endorsements in South Africa

As you advance in your marine career, you will be eligible for a higher-level STCW certification, which comes in the form of an endorsement. Your eligibility for the endorsement depends on your position’s requirements and accumulated experience. There are three distinct levels of STCW Endorsements.

  • Entry Level
  • Operational Level
  • Management Level

Depending on your job/position’s description, there will be different endorsements. You should consult with your seniors or a professional in the industry to find out whether you are eligible for certain endorsements.

Obtaining STCW Certificate with Sail and Power SA

We—Sail and Power SA—are a Cape Town-based marine institution that provides essential training for the professionals in marine industry. As established previously, this certification is the minimum legal requirement to work in a professional scene in the marine industry.

Our package also includes the PDSD (Proficiency in Designated Security Duties) which has become a prime requirement for fulfilling your STCW certification requirement. Besides that, we also provide STCW Safety Training specifically for Cruise Liner professionals, which includes Crowd Management training.

For more information, please check out the STCW section on our website.

The Summary

The Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) is an important certificate in the marine industry and a legal requirement for almost all sorts of employment opportunities in the marine industry. In South Africa, you can easily get an STCW certificate with a SAMSA-accredited marine institution like Sail and Power SA.

If you are in need of STCW certification or information related to endorsements, please feel free to connect with us and we will be glad to help you.