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.