All seafarers live under a curse. It is called revalidation. “Why the hell do I need to have my certificate revalidated?” Every seafarer must have asked the question at one time or another. It’s a fair question to ask. Neither knowledge nor experience has an expiry date. And yet, in many cases seafarers must show evidence every five years that they have maintained the standards of competence under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

The following table identifies all the certificates which authorise the holder to serve in certain functions on board merchant ships. It indicates which ones require endorsement, registration and/or revalidation. Since the outcome of any revalidation often depends on who performs it, officers and ratings could be told to undergo training courses they have already taken or don’t really need. Many sins have been committed in the name of STCW.

Source: STCW Convention and STCW Code including the 2010 Manila Amendments

It’s a strong witches’ brew. The mandatory revalidation of specified certificates adds to the training overload of seafarers; increases bureaucratic redtape; and robs seafarers of time and money they can devote to other things. Seafarers may hate it, but it gives those who revalidate the certificates power and control.

~ Barista Uno

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