Clarification regarding STCW 'refresher' training

The MCA has issued MIN 535 to update MIN 520 and so reduce the confusion in some parts of our industry about the requirements for seafarers to undergo what is known as 'refresher' training.

In particular, it:

  • Shows the extent to which training certificates from other flag administrations will be accepted by the MCA
  • States clearly that everyone applying for a new CoC or upgrading/revalidating an existing CoC must submit documentary evidence that they have completed initial training or refresher training for Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Proficiency in Survival Crafts and Rescue Boats and Advanced Fire Fighting within the last five years. (Some seafarers will also need a certificate for Fast Rescue Boats)
  • Gives details of what evidence seafarers must have with them when aboard.
  • States that you don’t need to refresh Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, Elementary First Aid and Medical First Aid. 
  • Confirms that if crew hold a UK CoC, they do not need to do the full courses again, just the refresher courses
  • Clarifies that the Advanced Sea Survival certificate may be accepted in lieu of Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats, however, your Certificate of Competency will be endorsed with the following limitation: “Not for use on ships equipped with davit launched lifeboats”.
  • States that the non-STCW Advanced Sea Survival must be updated every 5 years in line with Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats. The MCA would recommend all seafarers hold an STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Certificate of Proficiency, due to potential problems of Port State Control Officers outside of the UK not accepting non-STCW Advanced Sea Survival.


Seagoing members are recommended to study this MIN and make sure they are fully compliant with the various requirements. It can be downloaded here.