Interior Crew Training Requirements under STCW

29 March 2022 By Ted Morley

Capt. Ted Morley was raised aboard a schooner and has made a career working on board vessels ranging from superyachts to super tankers. During his tenure at sea, he worked his way up from seaman to master. He currently holds a USCG Master’s License, Unlimited Tonnage as well as several foreign certificates. Capt. Morley actively participates in maritime advisory committees in the U.S. as well as overseas and is involved in regulatory policy review in the U.S.. 

It’s important to note interior staff, while not specifically addressed in the STCW Code like deck and engineering, still have mandatory, regulatory training requirements under the Code. STCW Code Section A-VI/1 requires Basic Training for all crew with safety or pollution prevention training, including sea survival, firefighting, basic first aid, and onboard safety procedures. STCW Code A-VI/6 requires Proficiency in Security Awareness as part of requirements set forth by the ISPS Code. These courses are minimum core competencies that must be completed before applying for most jobs in our industry. You’ll also need to obtain an ENG1 medical certificate or equivalent as required under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). Some yachts also require certification in Food Safety & Hygiene as part of MLC compliance.

The interior staff are typically the most familiar with guests and guest areas; during emergencies they will be managing or assisting in guest evacuation. They also must know emergency procedures, crowd management, as well as contingency plans. On many yachts, interior crew are also tasked with security responsibilities, such as screening baggage, personal belongings, and even physical screening of persons (albeit with a high level of discretion and decorum). Guest interaction also provides an opportunity for risk evaluation and risk management — knowing which guests may have had too much to drink or which may have medications is vital knowledge during routine experiences and emergency procedures.

The interior staff often travel with guests ashore and therefore need to keep an alert eye for any potential security threats to guest or vessel. The guests themselves may represent or create a security problem if they bring something or someone back to the yacht. The staff’s organizational skills and attention to detail are very helpful in these cases — yes, you’re there to ensure the guest’s experience is 5 stars, but you are also there to ensure they are safe.

Safety and security are part of the professional culture that must exist on board, and the interior staff play a huge role. The guests may see them as servers and attendants, but they are much more. The STCW Code has been around since 1978 and has undergone several regulatory updates; it’s a living document based on the industry’s needs and those needs are constantly evolving as vessels change and as crew responsibilities change.

This article originally ran in the November 2021 issue of Dockwalk.


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