March 25, 2018
Becoming seafarer: seaman courses, STCW, Seaman’s Book jobs at sea
Have you been dreaming about becoming a seafarer, sailing the blue seas with the wind in your hair? See the five steps you need to take to get onboard. We’ll start with your first seaman courses and finish with finding your dream job at sea.
If you’ve thought about the pros as well as the cons – such as being away from your loved ones for months – and are willing to take on this journey, continue reading. Becoming a seafarer takes time and determination. We believe it’s worth it.
Seaman courses in maritime schools
First, you need to start by going to a maritime school. You need to pass seaman courses at nautical institutions that provide vocational training or higher education in the field.
Choose your maritime school based on the specific field and highest rank you want to achieve. Some vocational schools offer seaman courses for limited ranks and vessels sizes. For example, a two-year vocational training could give you the qualifications of a Mate 500 GT. With this qualification, you can work on vessels less than 500 GT (gross tonnage).
Future Chief Mates and Captains with unlimited total capacity have to attend higher educational maritime schools. Such seaman courses usually take 5 years to complete and require at least a year of seagoing practice.
Figure out the rank and specialty you want to acquire. Then find a suitable institution to attend. If you’re interested in studying in the country that provides one fifth of the global seafarers, check out the best maritime schools in the Philippines .
STCW Seaman Basic Training Course
STCW stands for The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. It’s an international convention that sets standards to all global seafarers.
STCW requires all seafarers to pass the seaman basic training course. It’s a five-day course that provides future seafarers with familiarization and safety trainings. All seafarers must pass this course to be able to work on a vessel.
Generally, the course consists of Basic Fire Fighting (2 days), Personal Survival Techniques (1,5 days), Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (0,5 days), and Basic First Aid (1 day) components.
Once you’ve completed the basic training course, you’re almost ready to get onboard your first job at sea.
Your Seaman’s Book and passport
Seaman’s Book is a record of your seaman’s service. It’s issued to seafarers qualified according to STCW by local governmental maritime institutions.
Your Seaman’s Book contains information about your work experience and educational background. It’s a compulsory document when applying for crew transit visas.
Another document you, obviously, have to have is your national passport. You cannot work abroad without a valid passport. Better check the expiration date right away.
Seaman Medical Assessment
Once you’ve got all documents that prove your qualification to work at sea, you need to complete a medical assessment before you can go onboard. The aim of this is to make sure that you’re fit for the job from day to day, and also in case of emergencies.
Seaman’s medical assessment includes a physical examination conducted by a medical practitioner, as well as a list of screenings, tests and analyses. Make sure that the practitioner follows the standard international examinations.
Most countries require that all seafarers carry a valid medical certificate. If you’ve got this covered, then you’re officially ready to go onboard. Keep reading for our advice on how to find your first job at sea.
Your first job at sea
Finding your first maritime job might sound like a real challenge – like it is in every field of work. Most vacancies already require years of experience. How is a fresher to get the experience if nobody wants to hire them?
Don’t worry. There are actually lots of ship companies looking for freshers on different positions. We suggest you join the seaman jobs site StandByMate . Create your seafarer profile and ship companies can easily find you to send you personal job offers.
Compared to other maritime jobs sites, you don’t have to apply to each job ad separately on StandByMate . This means that you don’t have to constantly visit the site and search for new suitable vacancies. Sign up once at and recruiters, who are interested in hiring you, will send you job offers. Read more about StandByMate .
Now is probably the best time to become a seafarer. With online solutions like this, it’s really easy to find a job at sea. Knowing that there will be a shortage of 150,000 seafarers by 2025, we’d be happy to see you join the global seafarers community. Welcome onboard.
jobs at sea maritime courses maritime education maritime schools seaman basic training course seaman course seaman education seamans book STCW
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Helpful links for you to obtain the other USCG Requirements to receive your Basic Training (BT)
STCW – Basic Training (BT) – (formerly Basic Safety Training)
Seafarer’s employed or engaged in any capacity on board ship as part of the ship’s complement with designated duties in the operation of the ship shall, before being assigned, have completed Basic Training.
This is actually four courses:
The course runs for five days. All mariners that wish to operate in international waters must show that they are competent in the four areas mentioned.
Sea School has developed three STCW compliant Basic Training courses that are approved by the Coast Guard:
Select option that suits your needs and then refer to the Class Location Finder for upcoming courses in your area.
5-Day Basic Training – For mariners with Coast Guard licenses for vessels of more than 200 GRT/500GT (ITC), Near Coastal or Oceans, and; original issue or current holders of a Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) without or with endorsed qualified rating(s).
2-Day Basic Training Refresher/Renewal – For mariners without qualifying renewal sea time.
How to Comply
All mariners who apply for an original MMD or currently hold an “entry level” MMD without an endorsed qualified rating (ordinary seaman/wiper/steward), comply with STCW by completing the four Basic Training (BT) courses, which are: Basic Firefighting; Personal Survival Techniques; Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities; and Elementary First Aid. Then the MMD holder applies for an STCW certificate from the Coast Guard.
For those mariners that are applying for an original license, or presently hold a Coast Guard license for vessels of not more than 200 GRT, Near Coastal, may also comply with STCW by simply completing Basic Training (BT), and then apply for the STCW certificate from the Coast Guard.
Please choose the state or month/year you would like to see the classes list for above.
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