STCW Updating (Refresher) Training Guide

Click here to understand what updating (refresher) training is needed depending on what CoC you hold.


The IMO has mandated that Officers wishing to revalidate their STCW Certificate of Competency (CoC) after 1st January 2017 will need documentary evidence of completing the following STCW short courses within the previous FIVE years. Without these in-date certificates Officers will not be able to update their CoC.

The courses are:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (FP&FF)
  • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (other than fast rescue boats) (PSC&RB)
  • Advanced Fire Fighting (AFF)
  • Fast Rescue Boat (FRB)

Although CoC’s will be revalidated before the 1st January 2017, without the updated safety certificates, from this date Port State Control Officers may also wish to see the same documentary evidence about the up-dated status of any Officers certificates.

Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) – Approved Updating Training


Some parts of the updating training can be completed on-board a ship. Evidence of on-board updating is by signing the appropriate “self-declaration” form. 

Please see below for the approved alternatives:

Course On-board training Course required
PST Completed & Form Signed 4 hours
Not Completed Full PST
FP&FF Not Applicable 7 hours
PSC&RB Completed & Form Signed 3 hours
Not Completed 7 hours
AFF Completed & Form Signed 4 hours
Not Completed 7 hours
FRB Completed & Form Signed 4 hours
Not Completed 7 hours


The following courses do not need updating:

  • Elementary First Aid (EFA)
  • Security Awareness (SA)
  • Designated Security Duties (DSD)
  • Proficiency in Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (PSSR)

Other specialist training “short courses” such as the Crisis Management & Human Behaviour (CMHB) have no expiry dates. This means that once the seafarer has gained these qualifications then there is no mandatory requirement to repeat the course. 

Always be aware of your own company policies. 

Additional Ancillary Technical Training


Deck Officers
To continue to use their CoC on vessels fitted with ECDIS equipment after 31st December 2016 Deck Officers will need to have completed an MCA approved course. A list of approved courses and providers can be found at www.gov.uk and search “MCA ATP”. Without this requirement the following limitation will apply:  
“From the 1st January 2017 this certificate is not valid for service on ships fitted with ECDIS”.

Engineering Officers
To continue to use their CoC on vessels fitted with High Voltage (1000V) generating and distributing equipment, after 31st December 2016, Engineering Officers will need to have completed an MCA approved course. Without this requirement the following limitation will apply:
“From the 1st January 2017 this certificate is not valid for service on ships fitted with High Voltage (over 1000V) systems”.

Human Element Leadership and Management (HELM)


There are two levels of HELM (Operational and Management) and they are NOT generic STCW programmes. They are however a required addition to all flag state training programmes. The content of a flag state’s HELM short course will depend upon the overall content of that flag’s current CoC. The short course will be designed to make up any short fall in content of the CoC and therefore may change from flag to flag.

If you are revalidating a current CoC you will not be required to undertake the additional HELM training. Candidates for new CoC and those upgrading to the next level , will be required to undertake the full HELM training.

Other Considerations


  • Updating the proficiency in Medical First Aid is not currently required under the STCW code.
  • For UK Officers revalidating their CoC the following courses must be approved directly by the MCA: 
    • NAEST (Operational and Management).
  • Certificates issued by the STCW parties (The White List) are accepted for PST, FP&FF, EFA and PSSR.
  • Certificates issued by EU states, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa are accepted for PSC&RB, AFF, Medical First Aid and Medical Care.

Course Availability

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