If you want to work commercially on any vessels over 24 meters there is a legal minimum requirement to complete the STCW95 Basic Safety Training courses. Even on commercial vessels under 24 meters the captain will no doubt want crew to have completed these courses.
They consist of the following courses –
Personal Survival Techniques
Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention
Elementary First Aid
Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
Proficiency in Security Awareness
The courses can be booked together or as individual modules.
The other thing you will need is to get a medical carried out and an ENG1 certificate will be issued. These can only be issued by certain doctors and in the UK a list of doctors can be found –
The cost is currently £80 and the medical needs to be repeated every 2 years.
The first course I did was the fire fighting and fire prevention course. This teaches you about different types of fires and what is the most appropriate type of extinguisher to use to extinquish them. This is put into practice when you get to use every type of extinguisher on different fires at the training ground. You are also taught not to fight fires if you think you can’t deal with it because it is just too big or you do not have the right equipment, or to contain the fire instead and wait for further help.
Paying attention to the instructor –
You also get to see what happens if you use the wrong solution to fight a fire like throwing a small amount of water onto some burning oil – woof !!
Fire extinguisher practice –
Dealing with an oil fire using a foam extinguisher –
On the second day of the course we returned to the fire training ground and learnt about our breathing apparatus and how to put it all together. We learnt how to enter a property, carry out a search, monitor our air consumption and get out again. We did this by entering some metal containers which had been joined together to form rooms on two levels, so there was stairs and doorways to contend with. The first recce of the rooms was carried out in the dark, no heat, no smoke and without carrying any water hoses. The next time we were to do it was when a fire had already been started and the rooms would be full of smoke, we would be carrying a heavy hose and we were to find and put out the fire.
Stoking the fire and making the smoke –
Getting smokey inside –
Obviously no photos of what went on inside as it was dark, smokey, and we had our hands full of a huge fire hose !!
Trainee fire fighters coming out of the containers after over half an hour inside –
It was a great course and I certainly have a greater appreciation of what fireman have to contend with which much just seem like second nature to them.
On the third day we did our personal survival techniques (sea survival) course, so off we went to the local indoor heated swimming pool (thank god).
We spent a couple of hours with our life jackets on swimming around in groups, learning how to stay together, manoeuvre together and scare sharks away by kicking wildy whilst in a circle making a noise !
We learnt how to right an upturned life raft, climb in, the procedures that should follow like bailing out, inflating the floor, checking for injuries, paddling away, throwing the drogue out – all done whilst being hosed by cold water for a more real effect.
Even the two hours at the pool are quite exhausting so it can’t be nice having to do it in cold water, your energy levels would soon be sapped.
Our fourth day consisted of the Personal Safety and Social Responsibility course and the Security Awareness course. These are basically lectures which you have to listen to with a few questions asked towards the end. A lot of the things being told could be deemed as common sense especially when it comes to personal safety but its worth listening to so it makes you think about it a bit more.
On the last day we had our Elementary first aid course which I had done was before. This course was run by an actual paramedic rather than by the proprietor of a sailing school like last time so it felt a bit more ‘real’ with real life situations used as examples.
Lots of things are taught from how to deal with burns, how to dress wounds, how to perform CRP, how to deal with people who suffer from diabetic shock or anaphylactic shock. Its all good stuff to learn and this course has to be repeated every five years to keep your knowledge up to date.
The courses are all very useful and well worth the money. Any one of them could save your or somebody elses life, whether at home or at sea.