The Manila 2010 amendments of the STCW Convention came into force on January 1, 2012. However, there is a five-year transitional period wherein the provisions of this new amendment are implemented.

After January 2017, all seafarers must meet the 2010 STCW standards.


BT-U, BT-R, and BT Full Course

The first training requirement for every person who wants to be a seafarer is Basic Training (BT). This course has many names including Basic Safety Course (BSC), Basic Safety Training (BST), and SOLAS Training.


Four courses under the Basic Training:

Basic Training has four sub-courses each covering safety aspects of the vessel. When we talk about safety, we don’t only focus on the people on board but the equipment as well.

Basic training course teaches us fundamentals about fire and firefighting, simple first aid, survival techniques when the worst happens and safety within ourselves, and the people around us.


Fire Prevention and Firefighting

Minimum standard of competence for Fire Prevention and Firefighting. A trainee will be competent to take appropriate measures for the safety of personnel and the ship.

He will also know about fire prevention as well as using fire appliances.


Personal Safety and Social Responsibility

This course will give seafarers an insight into the various elements of a ship and working procedures on board. It will enable them to adjust to the shipboard environment.

Also, they will be better prepared to cope with any unforeseen circumstances. By applying this course, their transition from shore to sea career will be smooth.

They will have basic knowledge of how a ship operates before they step on board a vessel.


Personal Survival Techniques

The trainee will have minimum standards of competence in personal survival at sea in the event of ship abandonment.

This includes the following:

  • donning of lifejackets and immersion suits
  • operate survival craft equipment
  • location devices and radio equipment
  • swim and keep afloat while wearing a lifejacket
  • many others.


Elementary First Aid

The trainee will have competence in taking immediate action upon encountering an accident.

He or she will have the know-how on applying first aid during medical emergencies until professional help arrives.

Now let’s take a look at the differences between the three.

Basic Training Updating and Refresher Certificates from training Center which is in compliance with the Manila 2010 Amendment.

Updating and Refresher Certificates of Basic Training.


Basic Training- Updating (BT-U)

If you took your Basic Safety Training before August 30, 2013, you have to update a module of that training which is Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR).

This is the requirement when getting a Certificate of Proficiency (COP) anytime after that date.

The course only takes eight hours or one day and you will be given a new updating training certificate aside from your original full BT Certificate.


Basic Training – Refresher

Your BT- Refresher shares the same feature with the date above.

If you took your Basic Safety Training before August 30, 2013, and plan on getting a Certificate of Proficiency (COP) anytime after that date, you have to take a refresher training course.

Moreover, all seafarers must undergo validation of their Basic Training every five years- PST and FPFF only.

This is to show evidence of having maintained the required standards of competence. This means that you and I must have refresher training on these modules every half a decade.

Refresher for BT only covers two courses namely:

  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting


The course takes 16 hours or 2 days. You will receive a new refresher training certificate aside from your Updating and full BT Certificate. You will also have to exhibit competence in this training upon visiting the training site.


BT Full Course

This applies to fresh graduates and non-maritime professionals who want to seek employment on board ships. You will experience the full courses of Basic Training in about 5 days.

Furthermore, you will learn theoretical and practical assessments on all four modules.

You will  also learn the basics of fire prevention and fire fighting which is very important on board. Dealing with different nationalities and different cultures can be a shock. The PSSR module will teach you how to blend in.

During distress and the need to abandon, the knowledge that you learn on PST will help you get through the toughest times until rescue arrives.

Ships have very limited medical facilities. Elementary First Aid will compensate for that lack until professional help is present.


Old BT Certificates

For seafarers who have really old BT Certificates, you may also have to take the full course. After that, you will receive a brand new certificate that is in compliance with the Manila 2010 Amendments.

This is just one of the requirements to work at sea. There are other training, vaccinations, documents, visas, and costs that seafarers must also bear which can be very expensive.


Do you still want to become a seaman?

May the winds be in your favor.



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