One of the main differences between shore-based hospitality jobs and cruise ship jobs is the safety factor. On board, the risks are considered greater than on land, and many precautions are taken by companies to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. In addition, cruise ship employees must have training in STCW – the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
Anyone sailing on seagoing merchant ships must be qualified with this certification, which is a global standard on the basic requirements for him/her to be able to handle the risks of a career at sea.
STCW was issued by the International Maritime Organisation in 1978 and then amended in 1995. Before it came into existence, each country had its own safety standards and rules. Shipping, including cruises, is one of the most international industries in the world, and varying practices with no reference to other countries potentially put many lives in danger. As of 2014, 158 parties follow the standards of the convention, comprising 98.8 per cent of the world’s shipping tonnage.
As a cruise ship employee, you will be required to get certified in STCW to sail. Some companies provide training after the hiring process, but recruitment advice suggests it might bode well for those looking at posts in demand to have their certification ready before applying for a job.
An STCW course will provide you training in:
> Basic fire fighting
> Personal safety
> Elementary first aid
> Personal survival
Typically, courses last up to five days with 4-6 hours of instruction each day. Some might put in longer hours, but all schools offering these courses are bound to teach all the requirements of the international law.
Generally, you will learn first aid, CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), survival in and around water, personal safety, social responsibilities, and fire fighting. These include theory and practical sessions, with safety in water usually conducted in a swimming pool.
Doing this course will keep you aware of the dangers of life at sea and how to respond in case of an emergency. It is pertinent to remember that guests on board cruise ships will not have this rigorous training and as an employee, it will be your responsibility to look out for them in case an emergency arises.
This training must be taken very seriously and you must ensure you are well-versed with it by the end of the course. An untrained crew member could endanger not just himself/herself but also the chances of survival of the entire ship. Split-second decisions are crucial in times of emergency and hands-on experience during training will serve you well.
Since the safety techniques are governed by an international set of rules, you can be sure that all those working with you – no matter where in the world they come from – will follow the same procedures you do.
A number of institutes in Goa and across India offer certifications in STCW, and Kamaxi Overseas Consultants can help you find the one best suited to you.