stcw training philippines - basic training for seaman

BT-U, BT-R, & BT Full Course: What’s the Difference?

stcw basic training for seaman

Seafarer training can be very confusing. As opposed to rigidly structured college programs, aspiring seamen and women only need to take the basic training and take different courses afterward.

If you’ve just applied for basic training for a seaman, here’s an overview:

Basic Training Full Course

This course is for fresh graduates, non-maritime professionals who want to work onboard ships, and seafarers with old certificates before the Manila 2010 Amendments.

The course covers the following topics: basic fire prevention and firefighting, personal safety and social responsibilities (PSSR), personal survival techniques (PST), and elementary first aid.

Basic Training Updating (BT-U)

This course is for those looking to get issued or revalidated with a Certificate of Proficiency (COP). A COP is a legal document issued only by MARINA that’s only valid for five years. It is to show that you are competent enough to work at sea. It is different from training completion certificates, which can differ per training center.

Seafarers who took their Basic Safety Training before August 30, 2013 will also have to retake it since there’s been a recent update in the Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR) module.

Basic Training Refresher (BT-R)

This course is for those who took their Basic Safety Training before August 30, 2013, or are trying to validate their BTs. As opposed to BT-U, it only focuses on two modules: fire prevention and firefighting & personal survival techniques.

The industry also constantly updates its standards in line with revised requirements, so those who’ve had their BT for at least five years need to get a refresher course to maintain their credibility.

Becoming a seafarer is all about adapting to the different waves of life. Apart from training, you must also keep yourself up-to-date with proper vaccinations, documents, visas, and other costs.

stcw training philippines online blended learning

Blended Learning Tips During Basic Training

Becoming a seaman is like having one of your dreams finally come true. It is a well-earning job with certain privileges that some jobs usually don’t.

While some people are still working their way to becoming a seafarer, the current pandemic brought some hurdles that directly impacted those in training.

That’s why training centers recently introduced a blended learning model of maritime training just last year. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) also released some guidelines on properly conducting programs more effectively, such as STCW training in the Philippines.

If this is your first time taking courses with blended learning, be sure to read our tips below.

stcw training philippines online courses

#1: Familiarize yourself with video calling platforms

Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, combines the usage of face-to-face and online classes. Your lessons will most likely be discussed online, so tinkering with various video apps can help you better understand how they work. The most common applications used for virtual classrooms are Zoom and Google Meet.

#2: Check your audio, background, and Internet speed before entering the room

The key to having a smooth class is by preparing a presentable environment. Verify if your Internet speed must be fast enough to have clear audio. There must also be no loud noises at the back that can disrupt the class. If you plan on using your camera, opt for a well-lit background with little to no distractions.

#3: Practice proper online conference etiquette

As opposed to real-life discussions, things can be a little different in an online class. It is best to join the room at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time with your mic muted in. To avoid talking over each other, use the Raise Hand option for a clear heads up. Don’t forget to be mindful of the tabs currently on your browser.

Not all training centers have fully adapted to a blended learning model, but it’s a safer alternative amidst the current times. Be sure to keep these tips in mind as you hone your craft!

Notice on Validation and Revalidation of COP

After you’ve completed your maritime training, the next step is to apply for validation of your certificate of proficiency, or COP for short. This is so you can be eligible to be a seafarer as part of the courses you’ve taken. It also means that you are competent to handle what the job has to offer.

That being said, it’s in your best interest to apply for your COP as soon as you finish. Preferably, you have to do it within six months after you complete the training. As per STCW Advisory No. 2020 – 01, there are certain protocols to follow if you’ve applied for it within the six months and more than six months after.

 

Within six months after

If a seafarer applies for their COP within six months after taking programs such as fast rescue boat training, they get the full five year validity. The date in which their new COP expires is based on their issuance date. See below.

End of training Date of issuance of COP

Expiry

March 15, 2020

April 2, 2020

April 2, 2025

This also applies for those who are filing for revalidation after taking STCW refresher courses, only they must also do it within six months before their old certification expires.

End of training Expiry of previous COP Date of issuance of new COP

Expiry of new COP

March 15, 2020

April 10, 2020 April 2, 2020

April 2, 2025

If one should apply more than six months before expiry, the end date of their new issuance would be based on the end of their training, regardless of applying within six months after their courses.

End of training

Expiry of previous COP Date of issuance of new COP

Expiry of new COP

March 15, 2020

December 23, 2020 April 2, 2020

March 15, 2025

 

Beyond six months after

On the other hand, if a seafarer were to apply more than six months after their training has passed, the expiry of their COP would be based on the end date of their courses, cutting the five years short.

End of training Date of issuance of COP

Expiry

March 15, 2020 October 24, 2020

March 15, 2025

This also applies for those seeking revalidation, even if you fulfilled the other condition of applying within six months before the expiry date of their previous certification. The fact that your new COP was issued more than 6 months after your training will still cut the five years short.

End of training

Expiry of previous COP Date of issuance of new COP

Expiry of new COP

March 15, 2020

December 23, 2020 December 21, 2020

March 15, 2025

In short, a seafarer seeking to revalidate has to apply both within six months after training is done and at most six months before the expiry of their previous COP to get the full five years.

 

Ineligibility

Typically, you can go beyond six months of not applying after your training has completed. But do note that once you go past three years after your initial completion, you cannot apply for a COP anymore, thus, needing to take the course again.

End of training

Date of application for COP

Expiry

March 15, 2020

January 26, 2024

Application has exceeded the three year limit. Must retake the course again.

 

It’s important to take note of these guidelines the next time you want to be certified as a maritime professional. Find the right time to train and apply, as it isn’t just a simple condition of filing for a COP. If you’re applying for a reissue, you must also time it perfectly based on your existing COP’s dates so you can be certified for five years.