A Detailed Guide to STCW Courses in Durban

The Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) is an internationally recognized set of requirements for seafarers. These standards are essential for ensuring the safety and competence of those working on board ships. Durban, being one of South Africa’s busiest ports, offers a range of STCW courses for aspiring and current maritime professionals. This guide provides comprehensive information about STCW courses in Durban, including course details, certification, training providers, and career prospects.

Overview of STCW Courses

The STCW Convention sets minimum qualification standards for masters, officers, and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships. The courses cover various aspects of maritime safety, from basic safety training to advanced specialized training. The STCW certification is mandatory for anyone wishing to work on a commercial vessel internationally.

Core STCW Courses

STCW training includes a variety of courses designed to meet the needs of different roles on a vessel. Here are some core courses you might encounter:

  1. Basic Safety Training (BST)
  • Personal Survival Techniques (PST): Covers survival at sea techniques, use of life-saving appliances, and emergency procedures.
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (FPFF): Teaches fire prevention, firefighting equipment usage, and practical firefighting exercises.
  • Elementary First Aid (EFA): Basic first aid techniques, CPR, and emergency medical procedures.
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (PSSR): Focuses on safe working practices, understanding orders, and teamwork.
  1. Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSCRB)
  • Training on launching, handling, and operating survival craft and rescue boats in emergency situations.
  1. Advanced Fire Fighting (AFF)
  • Advanced firefighting techniques, use of equipment, and leadership in firefighting operations.
  1. Medical First Aid
  • Training in providing first aid and medical care to the sick and injured while on board.
  1. Security Awareness Training
  • Understanding security threats, procedures for maintaining security, and actions to take in case of security incidents.


Upon successful completion of the STCW courses, participants receive certificates that are recognized internationally. These certificates are crucial for anyone looking to work on commercial vessels, including cargo ships, cruise ships, and offshore installations. Certification must be maintained and renewed periodically, with refresher courses required every few years.

Training Providers in Durban

Several accredited institutions in Durban offer STCW courses. These providers ensure that the training meets international standards and provides the necessary practical experience. Notable training providers include:

  1. South African Maritime School and Transport College (SAMSTC)
  • Offers a comprehensive range of STCW courses, from basic safety training to advanced courses.
  1. Durban University of Technology (DUT) Maritime Studies
  • Provides STCW training as part of its maritime studies programs.
  1. M&M Maritime Academy
  • Specializes in various STCW courses and maritime training programs.
  1. SA Maritime School
  • Known for its extensive course offerings and experienced instructors.

Course Duration and Cost

The duration of STCW courses varies depending on the specific course. Basic Safety Training typically lasts around 5 days, while advanced courses like Advanced Fire Fighting may take up to a week. Costs also vary based on the course and the training provider. It’s advisable to contact the training institutions directly for detailed pricing and schedule information.

Enrollment Process

To enroll in an STCW course in Durban, follow these steps:

  1. Research Training Providers: Identify accredited institutions that offer the specific STCW courses you need.
  2. Check Prerequisites: Some courses may require prior maritime experience or other qualifications.
  3. Register: Complete the registration process through the provider’s website or admissions office.
  4. Prepare: Gather any required documents and materials, and prepare for the course by reviewing basic maritime safety concepts.

Career Opportunities

STCW certification opens up numerous career opportunities in the maritime industry. Some potential roles include:

  • Deck Officer: Responsible for navigation and vessel operation.
  • Engineering Officer: Manages the technical and engineering aspects of the vessel.
  • Safety Officer: Ensures compliance with safety regulations and procedures.
  • Seafarer: Various roles on cargo ships, cruise ships, and offshore platforms.
  • Maritime Security: Roles focused on maintaining security on vessels and in ports.

Benefits of STCW Certification

  1. International Recognition: STCW certification is recognized worldwide, allowing you to work on vessels across the globe.
  2. Enhanced Safety Skills: Comprehensive training in safety procedures and emergency response.
  3. Career Advancement: Opens doors to higher-level positions and specialized roles within the maritime industry.
  4. Compliance: Ensures compliance with international maritime regulations, which is crucial for employment.

Why Choose Durban for STCW Training?

Durban is a strategic location for maritime training due to its busy port and extensive maritime infrastructure. Training in Durban offers the following advantages:

  • Experienced Instructors: Access to knowledgeable and experienced maritime professionals.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: Modern training facilities and equipment.
  • Industry Connections: Opportunities to network with maritime industry professionals and potential employers.
  • Practical Experience: Proximity to the port allows for hands-on training and real-world experience.


STCW courses in Durban provide essential training for anyone pursuing a career in the maritime industry. With comprehensive course offerings, internationally recognized certification, and excellent training providers, Durban is an ideal location for obtaining your STCW certification. Whether you are starting your maritime career or looking to advance to higher-level positions, STCW training is a crucial step towards achieving your professional goals.