Basic Safety Training for Cruise Ship Workers

orange life bouy  for Basic safety Training

What is Basic Safety Training?

Basic Safety Training (BST) is a starting point for people who want to seek employment at sea. This is the first training requirement for people who want to be a seafarer. Here in the Philippines, you need to present your BST certificate of completion and proficiency to the Maritime Industry Authority (most commonly known as MARINA) to be able to get a seaman’s book.

What exactly is Basic Safety Training which goes by other names like Basic Training or SOLAS training?

First of all, it is important to know that the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), requires all seafarers to take the “basic safety training”. This is to ensure that seafarers are fully qualified to handle the risks involved when working on ships as they sail on high waters.

Working on whatever kind of ship is never easy. Think of a ship as a floating community. And just like any other community troubles may arise anytime. Chances are, these troubles happen when we’re away from the rest of the world. No matter how big or small the problems are, we need to make use of the resources and people we have to solve them. Therefore, it is necessary that the people manning the ship has full awareness of safety practices to prevent these problems from arising. We should be competent enough to take control of hazardous situations and to respond appropriately in case of emergency.

What Courses does Basic Safety Training Cover?

The full Basic Training Course in the Philippines usually lasts for a week. Sometimes it goes up to 9 days, depending on the training center where you will take it. The first part is the theoretical part where the objective is for you to gain knowledge and understanding of the different courses covered. There’s a written exam after the lecture. The last part is your practicum where you get to apply everything you learned from the class through simulation exercises.

These are the four courses included in the basic training. You must pass the written exam and the practical exam for each course to complete the training.

1. Fire Prevention and Firefighting

In FPF, you will learn how to identify fire hazards on ships, the different ways to prevent fire, and what to do in case of a fire emergency.  You will also see the many firefighting equipment we have on ships and how to use each one of them. For the practicum, they will require you to correctly don a fireman suit, operate a self-contained breathing apparatus, and fight real fires both in an open and a smoke-filled enclosed space.  

2. Elementary First Aid

In EFA, you will learn about the most common types of medical emergencies on board and what immediate actions should be taken when you encounter them. You will also know what kind of first aid and how to properly apply them to patients or victims while waiting for medical help. They will discuss incidents requiring medical attention like wounds, burns, shock, stroke, cardiac arrest, fainting, choking, drowning and more. You will learn different bandaging techniques, Heimlich maneuver, moving and lifting patients, rescue breathing (RB) and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).  

3. Personal Survival Techniques

In PST, you will learn different survival techniques that you can use in open water if ever you need to abandon the ship. They will teach you how to correctly wear a life jacket and an immersion suit. They will show how to operate a survival craft and how to use location devices and radio equipment. This is the part where you will be asked to jump from a height while wearing a life jacket. You will be required to right an inverted life raft and stream a sea-anchor. The most difficult part for me when I first took this course was to keep afloat without a life-jacket because I don’t know how to swim.

4. Personal Safety and Social Responsibility

In PSSR, you will know the living and working conditions aboard. This will allow you to quickly adjust to the new environment once you join your ship. You will get familiar with the emergency procedures which includes safety drills, emergency alarms and signals, and use of safety equipment. This course will cover your rights at work, employment conditions and work practices. This will give you an understanding of your role in keeping others safe and protecting the environment. Hence, rules related to drugs, alcohol, and pollution prevention will be discussed.   

Basic Safety Training in the Philippines

Requirements

These are the things you need to prepare before you look for a training center.

  • Advanced payment to reserve a slot (Training price can go from P3,000 to P5,000)
  • High School diploma
  • Valid ID (Driver’s license, Voter’s ID, Passport etc.)
  • Good physical health (Make sure you’re fit because it can be physically demanding.)
  • Medical certificate from a trusted clinic

Checklist

Once you and your documents are ready, start looking for a reputable maritime center in the Philippines that offers the Basic Safety Training course. Check if the training center is duly recognized by the following government agencies before you enroll.

  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)
  • Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)
  • Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
  • Maritime Training Council (MTC)
  • Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

Training Centers

I first took the training in 2011. Magsaysay People Resources Corporation was my agency back then. They endorsed me to their own training center, the Magsaysay Training Center or Magsaysay Learning Resources, Inc. which is located in Times Plaza Building, Ermita, Manila. Their practicum site was in Tanza, Cavite.

You may contact them here:

Magsaysay Training Center
Head Office:
6th Floor, Times Plaza Building,
United Nations, cor. Taft Ave.,
Ermita, Manila Philippines 1000

524-9996 local 300 or 635
mtcmarketing@magsaysay.com.ph  

Practicum Site:
Brgy Bunga, Tanza, Cavite
(+63)9178373211
mtctanza@magsaysay.com.ph  

Basic Safety Training has to be renewed every 5 years. Thus, we have, BT Refresher Course which goes only up to 3 days. Under BT Refresher, you will only take training in Fire Prevention and Firefighting and also Personal Survival Techniques.

Last July, I took my BT Refresher Course. CF Sharp, which is my agency now, asked me to go to Compass Training Center which is close to Quirino LRT Station. Compass Training Center also offers a full BT Course.

Feel free to reach out to them:

Compass Training Center
1913 Luna Orosa Building, Taft Avenue cor. Remedios Street,
Malate, Manila 1004, Philippines  
sales@compass.ph  

Trunk Line Numbers:
353 5487 | 528 1035 | 450 0138   

Registration Department:
450 8575 | 450 1452  

Sales & Marketing Department
536 2368 | 536 2158  

Conclusion

The Basic Safety Training is just one of the many requirements that you will have to complete to be able to work on board. And mind you, there’s a lot so prepare your mind, body and money.

I took my training a few weeks after I was hired and not right after my manager told me I got the job. The reason was, I don’t know how to swim and I was so scared to “jump”. When I was finally done thinking and praying, I decided to go even though I wasn’t sure how things will go. As you know by now, from that “jump” my journey at sea was born.

William Faulkner once said, “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”. A journey of whatever kind requires COURAGE. And courage means doing what should be done even when you’re scared. So go out there and take a leap of faith.

Follow your dreams.

Jen

20 Replies to “Basic Safety Training for Cruise Ship Workers”

  1. Hi! I’m a grade 12 student, HUMSS strand. I want to be a seawoman but I also don’t know how to swim. Is it really okay if you don’t know how to swim? And what happened when you jumped without a life jacket?
    I’m also hesitating because my strand is HUMSS and I think that BSMT is under the strand of STEM or TVL, I’m not sure if I can take the course because of my strand. :<

    1. Hi Kyla! Sorry, it took me long to reply. You should at least know how to float without a life jacket. That’s part of the practical exam. Re your question about strands, I think it’s best to ask institutions/ colleges that offer marine transportation so you can get the best answer. I work on cruise ships as part of the Entertainment team and our requirements are different. I hope you meet your ship a few years from now. Good luck! 🙂

      1. Hi! I am interested to work on cruise ships. I wanna know what trainings are required and what are the requirements to be able to apply? May I have your number or viber number or facebook so I can ask you directly? Here’s my viber number, 09173061744. Thank you!

    2. at your age you can now start learning how to swim. i am a seafarer. what i experienced in the beginning.i encountered some of seamen can’t perfectly swim especially without a life jacket. but anyway during training or before the practicum . you can speak to your trainer or instructor that you can’t swim or float without a life jacket. He will understand you and on the training site everybody will be donning a lifejacket before jumping from a diving platform and you can tell your instructor too that you are afraid of jumping from a height he can exempt you anyway. good luck .

  2. I am very much interested on how to join training, cause it was my dream to become a seawoman someday, I will love to work on cruise ship.I hope someday I will achieve my dreams through this opportunity.Thank you…

    1. Hi Marisa. I’m glad you find this post useful. I hope you can enter the ship world too when operations resume. Good luck! 🙂

    2. I’m 26 and ofw, maybe it’s kinda late at my age but I’m interested for the training just in case I might be able to work as a seawoman.

  3. Good day I’m grace, I am a former welder for almost 13years…i wonder how to get the training so I could get seaman’s book,,, 😊 someone told me I have to undergo safety training… I hope I could get the best advice,, actually it is my dream before… Thank you & God bless

    1. Hi! I’m 38 years old this coming June 2021, I’m only high school graduate with diploma, I’m working 20 years in different manufacturing company (minimum of 6 months and maximum of 10 years service.). As of now I’m working as call center agent. Can I possibly get hired in any position. If possibly what are the training needed? Thank you so much and keep safe.

  4. Hi! I’m 38 years old this coming June 2021, I’m only high school graduate with diploma, I’m working 20 years in different manufacturing company (minimum of 6 months and maximum of 10 years service.). As of now I’m working as call center agent. Can I possibly get hired in any position. If possibly what are the training needed? Thank you so much and keep safe.

  5. Hi! Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I learned alot and what to expect specially I was still thinking if I can do this career. I was just wondering if it requires a diploma because unfortunately I’m a 3rd year undergrad of Tourism and Hotel Management. Is there any opportunity for me if by any chance?

    1. Hi Chie! Other positions don’t require a diploma. Decide first what you really want to do on ships and then gain work experience related to that job. Doing this will increase your chances of getting hired.

  6. Hi. As of now I’m a 3rd year Student, my course is Bachelor of Technical Vocational Teacher Education (BTVTED) -Major Foods. After ko sana grumaduate, gusto ko mag trabaho sa cruise ship lalo yung course and major ko ay connected sa pagluluto kahit na graduate ako ng teaching. What should I do or prepare para makapasok o makapag trabaho sa isang cruise ship? Sana masagot. Thank youuuu.

    1. Hi Michelle! You may start working here to gain experience. Your experience should be related to the ship position you’re applying for to increase your chances of getting hired. Good luck!

  7. Hi! I’m Alex and I want to be a seawoman. I’m turning 24 years old but I don’t have any experiences working abroad and working in hotels/restos. So my question is, what is my chance of getting a job in this industry?

    1. Hi Alex! Gain experience related to the position you’re applying for. It’s important. You don’t have to work abroad to gain experience. You work and hone your skills here to increase your chance of getting hired when you apply for a position on ships.

  8. Hi am Reyanne,My dream is to become a seawoman someday,I’m 16 y/o ,senior high
    IDK which strand to take .. they say I can’t be a seawoman because There’s is no Woman in marine engineering because it’s difficult(and only for Men)…I’m confused…IDK which strand to take but I wanted to be a seawoman….

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