Webcode for this Content: 18205639

Approved courses

Courses for professional development as well as for issuance of Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency

According to the STCW Convention and in combination with the ISM Code a continual professional development for certain duties on board is required of all seafarers. Some advanced courses are prerequisite for the issuance and the extension of validity of Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency. In these cases, the participation in approved courses is necessary.

A list of all approved courses will appear after you have clicked on the respective link:

Who needs to take which course?

The following information is meant as a first impression and does not apply to everyone or every case. In addition to the information about the right choice of training course, in some cases you can also find details about the requirements you have to fulfil. Further specifics are given on the application forms.

Generally, all seafarers who acquired a German Certificate of Competency as Navigational Watchkeeping Officer (in accordance with Regulation II/1 of the Annex to the STCW Convention) after 1st of June 2006 also fulfil the standards of the ECDIS Basic Training.

  • All other navigational officers and masters who want a Certificate of Competency without the relevant restrictions have to complete this course successfully.
  • This course has to be completed once only and does not have to be refreshed.

You can find more information about the ECDIS training on the information leaflet; they are also addressed to operators of sea-going vessels, port state control officers or training institutions.

Generally, all seafarers holding a German navigational Certificate of Competency in accordance with Regulations II/1, II/2 or II/3 without restrictions regarding ARPA also fulfil the standards of the ARPA Basic Training.

  • All other navigational officers and masters who want a Certificate of Competency without the relevant restrictions have to complete this course successfully.
  • This course has to be completed successfully once only and does not have to be refreshed.

  • All seafarers have to complete the Security Awareness Training (SRT) successfully.
  • Masters and ship officers have to complete the SSO course for the service as a Ship Security Officer on the ship.
  • These courses have to be completed successfully once only and do not have to be refreshed.

You can find the requirements for the training as a CSO published in German in the "Verkehrsblatt, 10/2003, pages 327ff" (in German only).

New courses for the service personnel

These courses are solely directed at the service personnel on board passenger ships, for example in catering, health or entertainment. The basic training teaches basic knowledge for the service on board passenger ships, of security on board as well basic safety Training.

With the certificate of participation, you can apply for the new Certificate of Proficiency "Basic training for service on passenger ships (service personnel)" at the BSH. It is issued without an expiry date but you have to participate in a refresher course after five years.

If you have completed the "old" training for the service on passenger ships in the service area with a practical safety instruction, you can receive this Certificate of Proficiency as well, but in addition you have to proof:

  • seagoing service on board passenger ships for at least twelve months within the last five years;
  • the participation in a Security Awareness Training on board (or alternatively in a one-day-course); as well as
  • the participation in a Refresher Course (Service Personnel) of at least three days.

Read further information on passenger shipping (in German only).

Basic and advanced courses for officers and other Ratings

The courses are solely directed at officers and other ratings (including any managerial members of staff of the hotel or catering area) with a valid basic safety training (SGA). They only teach competences for passenger shipping. In addition to the special training for passenger shipping, crew members performing tasks relating to ensuring safety and security and preventing pollution must participate in a basic safety training (SGA) and a security awareness training (SRT).

The former course for passenger shipping in the service area is now the basic training course ("crowd") for all other ratings and does not contain a safety instruction. After the participation in this course, you will receive a record of the qualification from the course provider. This qualification record is valid for five years.

Officers have to take the advanced course ("crowd & crisis") and refresh it five years later. All other ratings have to retake the basic training.

It is not necessary to apply for a certificate of proficiency.

For an extension of validity, masters and navigational ship officers have to proof specific kinds of required seagoing service. If you worked on ships that do not meet the requirements for the extension of validity or worked at land, you can "compensate" for the missing required seagoing service by participating in a training course.

Basic training (for service on ships subject to the IGF Code)

  • The basic training (for service on ships subject to the IGF Code) has to be accounted for by seafarers who perform safety duties relating to the accurate handling and use of fuels or who are responsible for emergency measures regarding this. Holders of a valid Certificate of Proficiency for Liquefied Gas Tanker Cargo Operations already meet the requirements of the basic training for service on ships subject to the IGF Code.
  • The basic training also comprises the module fire-fighting (it is the same module as the one in the basic training for all tanker cargo operations). Holders of a valid Certificate of Proficiency for Oil and Chemical Tanker Cargo Operations have already successfully completed the fire-fighting module, therefore only have to complete the IGF part of the courses (basic and advanced training).

Please find further information on the application forms and the information leaflet on ships subject to the IGF Code (in German only).

Advanced training (for service on ships subject to the IGF Code)

  • Masters, engineering officers and all other crew members with immediate responsibility for the accurate handling and use of fuels and fuel systems on board ships subject to the IGF Code need a certificate of proficiency of a corresponding advanced training.
  • Along with the application, you have to proof:


    • a seagoing service of at least one month as well as
    • the participation in at least three bunkering operations on board of ships subject to the IGF Code; up to two of these bunkering operations can, as part of the training, take place at a Simulator.
  • Holders of a valid Certificate of Proficiency of the Advanced Training for Liquefied Gas Tanker Cargo Operations already meet these requirements and do not have to participate in the advanced training course. Without any other proof necessary, they receive the relevant Certificate of Proficiency for Service on Ships Subject to the IGF Code.

Please find further information on the application forms and the information leaflet on ships subject to the IGF Code (in German only).

Even though the STCW Convention stipulates medical competence, a refresher course is not required. Hence why it does not get checked during the initial validation or the extension of validity of Certificates of Competency for navigational or engineering service on board as master or officer whether a medical competency has been refreshed.

Notwithstanding this regulation under international law in the STCW Convention, an EU regulation stipulates – in particular for all masters on ships flying an EU flag – that the medical competency must be refreshed at least every five years.

Find out more about medical competency (in German only).

  • Competences for the operation and maintenance of electricity operated systems with a voltage in excess of 1000 volts (high voltage systems) are required in marine Engineering.
  • The courses are required for the issuance of STCW certificates for electro-technical officers.
  • For the issuance of other engineering certificates of competency, these competences have been and will be taught generally as part of the curricula of the approved courses at the universities of applied science and technical colleges of the federal states.
  • This course has to be completed successfully once only and does not have to be repeated.

Courses of basic and advanced training for the service on ships operating in polar waters (polar ships) are solely directed at masters, chief mates and navigational watchkeeping officers. The individual training requirements subject to the type of ship, ice conditions and the grade can be found in our information leaflet "STCW-Übereinkommen: Polar-Schiffe" (in German only).

  • Crew members who shall keep watch on board as well as perform tasks to ensure ship safety and the prevention of pollution have to complete an approved course of basic safety training.
  • In addition, crew members also have to complete the following courses if they serve on the respective kind of vessel or manage fire-fighting measures:


    • operate survival craft and (fast) rescue boats (SÜB, SÜBS)
    • management of fire-fighting measures (SLB)
  • Seafarers with a Certificate of Proficiency for ship safety service have to proof the continued competency with the participation certificate(s) of one or several courses after five years at the latest.
  • Alternatively, they can visit courses abroad; however, these will only be recognized if the following criteria are met:


    • the course is or the courses are approved by a state which is on the White List of the IMO; and
    • the course provider confirms the authenticity of the certificate of participation upon request.

Find more information on refresher courses (in German only) here.

  • All navigational officers and masters have to proof the competency as GMDSS radio operator.
  • The participation in a course is only required if it was not included in the navigational training already.
  • A GMDSS radio operator has to proof the continued competency with a corresponding seagoing service, the successful participation in an examination by the BSH or the participation in a refresher course.

Basic training

  • The basic training for all tanker cargo operations qualifies for the service on oil, chemical and liquefied gas tankers.
  • Ship officers and other crew members have to complete a basic tanker training if they perform duties involving or bear the responsibility for the cargo as well as the loading and unloading systems.
  • The certificates of proficiency are issued for a limited period of validity of five years.
  • For the extension of validity, you have to prove the continued competency with sufficient seagoing services on the relevant types of ships or repeat the course "basic training for all tanker cargo operations" or the advanced course.

Further information on the requirements can be found in the application forms.

The tanker basic training always includes knowledge of fire-fighting for the service on tankers and ships subject to the IGF Code (hereinafter: fire-fighting). The basic training course includes the two-day fire-fighting module.

You can acquire the evidence of this basic training course with

  • the participation in the course "basic training for all tanker cargo operations" which includes the fire-fighting module; or
  • the participation in the elective subject "tanker basic training course" as part of a maritime degree program (if the elective subject does not include a fire-fighting module, an additional course on fire-fighting must be participated in); or
  • the participation in a course on fire-fighting in conjunction with a recognized seagoing service of at least three months as well as working knowledge of cargo handling on oil, chemical or liquefied fuel tankers (STCW A-V/1-1, paragraph 1 or A-V/1-2, paragraph 1). Here, the certificate of proficiency is always issued for the type of tanker the seagoing service was performed on.

Advanced training

  • Masters, chief engineer officers, chief mates, second engineer officers and all other crew members have to complete an advanced course on advanced oil, chemical or liquefied gas tanker cargo operations if they assume immediate responsibility for loading and unloading, cargo care, the cleaning of cargo tanks or any other tasks in regard to cargo on tankers.
  • Prerequisites for the visit of an advanced course are the attestation of the basic training course as well as specific seagoing services on tankers. It is not required to refresh the fire-fighting module.
  • The certificates of proficiency are issued for a limited period of validity of five years.
  • For the extension of validity, the continued competency has to be proven with sufficient seagoing services on the relevant types of ships or the repetition of the course "basic training for all tanker cargo operations" or the advanced course.

Further information about the requirements can be found in the application forms.