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In order to work on certain types of vessels, it will be necessary to take the appropriate courses and written exam. There are a couple of options on how this can be done.
Local Resources for the STCW Course and Exam
One option for those who reside in Louisiana is to take the Basic Safety Training (BST) course through the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. It is located in the marine survival training center.
You will receive 16 hours of basic firefighting, 4 hours of personal safety and responsibilities, 12 hours of personal survival techniques, and 8 hours of elementary first aid. The courses are completed in 5 days, with 4 of the courses approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
Another local resource is the Southeast Louisiana Technical College, Young Memorial Campus. It offers a variety of STCW courses including BST, Bridge Resource Management Training (BRMT) and Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS).
You also may benefit from STCW Online. This site offers not only online courses, but also a variety of classroom locations throughout the nation. On the site, you can take practice tests and receive helpful study aids.
Who Should Take the STCW Course?
Those who are seeking a job or are employed in the offshore supply vessel industry would benefit from the courses and exams. Those who are stationed on certain types of vessels also may require this training.
This includes commercial vessels less than 200GRT (foreign voyages), vessels that are 200GRT or greater (foreign or domestic) and inspected small passenger vessels (foreign voyages). If you obtained your certification and license before 1998, you will need to be recertified.
There are also certain classifications of mariners who may need to take specific courses. If you were a deck officer who was employed before August 1, 1998, you likely will need to take the Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSC), BST, and BRMT. If you are an engineering officer and were employed prior to that date, you only need to take PSC and BRT. Certain types of other unlicensed mariners may require the BST course.
Overview of the STCW Exam
The written exam will have a minimum of 100 questions but as many as 200. Because of the amount of information that is necessary to learn, it is important to take an approved course.
You will want to ensure that it thoroughly prepares you. Not only should you receive classroom instruction, but there also should be hands-on training. One of the best ways to be prepared is through the practice deck exam written test, offered through STCW Online, which gives you the opportunity to see what the real test will be like.