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STCW Personal Survival Techniques Course

The STCW Personal Survival Techniques course module is instructed in compliance with STCW Code A—VI/1-1. It consists of consists of 1½ to 2 days of both classroom and practical learning. This is one of the four required modules in the STCW Basic Safety Training (BST) Course.

STCW Personal Survival Techniques

The first day of the STCW Personal Survival Techniques course module is spent in the classroom covering subjects such as emergency situations, abandonment and survival at sea, survival craft and rescue boats, personal lifesaving appliances carried on ships, emergency radio equipment, and helicopter assistance.

How important is this? Well, did you see the movie Titanic? You will learn such things as delegating responsibilities during an emergency and making sure that everybody has something to do to prevent them from panicking.

For example, if you’re in the water and there is no means of egress (way to escape), get everybody together as quickly as possible into one group, and pacify them by explaining that the reason you are all in one group is because a) body heat will keep them warmer longer, b) you are a bigger target for visibility by potential rescuers above because you’re a giant orange circle now, c) it’s a morale booster, and d) you are now less appealing to sharks. (Sharks are predators, so if you’re in a big group, you don’t look like a pool of tiny feet, but rather a large object that sharks won’t want to mess with.)

The remainder of the class is spent in a swimming pool with life jackets, survival suits, and life rafts, performing the simulation of abandon-ship procedures. You learn how to jump off a 40-foot deck with either a life jacket or immersion suit on (which is like wearing your parents’ pajamas) and how to get into, out of, and even flip over a life raft. You learn how to work together as a team in the water.

You will also be asked to swim laps in order to determine your competency. No one’s expecting you to be of Olympic caliber, but if you can’t swim (and by that, I mean at least having the doggy paddle down), you need to learn. The theory and practical are both followed by a written examination.

The information that you’ll learn in the class is amazing and important to know. And, it’s fun! One thing I hadn’t realized is that you don’t jump into the water with your clothes on; if you do, you can’t lift yourself onto the life boat.”

—Ami Ira, owner and operator of Crew Unlimited (now a part of Bluewater Yachting USA since September 2016) a crew placement agency

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Learn about the other three STCW Basic Safety Training Course modules here. Or visit one of the following:

The following list is a selection of institutions offering STCW-compliant BST courses: