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Course FAQ’s: STCW Personal Survival Techniques

What will you get out of the STCW Personal Survival Techniques course?

This course is designed to equip you with the skills to look after yourself when going into the water and while on a life raft in survival conditions. It is required as part of your basic training toward becoming a professional yachtsman under the international Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).

Cost - How much will you need to pay?

Typically this will cost you around GBP £215* if taken in the UK though the cost will vary around the world. 

* Approx. $330, or 290 EUROS.

What are your limits on passing the STCW Survival course?

This qualification is part of your training to be a professional seafarer. In theory it could contribute towards you skippering the biggest billionaires’ toys in the world, but equally it is necessary in all professional seafaring qualifications from deckhand up.

Is it a practical or theory course?

It is mainly theory (shorebased) but you will be in a tank for some of the time, learning how to use a life raft and personal survival equipment.

Where can you take it?

You can take this anywhere in the world signed up to the STCW convention. These are internationally recognised qualifications.

Not sure if your country is signed up to the STCW convention? Download our ebook to find out.

What level of experience do you need before you begin?

None! Although there are no prerequisites it will help if you are serious about becoming a professional yachtsman. If you get seasick aboard a rowing boat on a duck pond this is not the course for you.

How long does the course take?

This is generally a one day course, however we have seen the odd training school that spread it out over 2-3 days.

What does the PST course involve?

The Personal Survival Techniques course involves learning how to look after yourself in survival conditions at sea.

  • You will learn the basic skills such as putting on a lifejacket correctly.
  • You will learn how to use a survival suit and how to enter the water in one – if you dive in headfirst the air will go to your feet and, put simply, you can’t breathe through your feet…
  • You will learn how to launch and board a life raft. This is simple in flat calm, but again there are skills to crawling into one in difficult conditions. For example, you should try to avoid entering the water between the vessel and life raft though you don’t always get time to plan these things…

The course is often packaged as part of the STCW Basic Safety Training Week, where you will cover all the requirements for that part of the STCW syllabus. 

How do you progress on completion?

You will do other elements required from your professional seafaring course. Have a look at the RYA website for more information about the courses required for your chosen career path.

Does it give you international accreditation?

Yes – with this as part of your portfolio of certificates you will have a professional seafaring qualification recognised around the world.

Where can you learn more about the STCW PST course?

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