Before we even begin to talk about the safety trainings, check out if the company you are applying offers these training on board for free. These trainings can be very, very expensive depending from where are you from, and the best part is that even being accepted on board, some companies can force you to re-take the test on board, specially if they offer it for free. So get informed first! Remember that you can always check our list of Cruise Companies.


Companies do not reimburse any of the costs of these trainings, so don’t think about investing in one just to use it on your resume! Do the interviews first and in case of approval, only in case of approval, proceed to do the solicited trainings.



Basic Safety Training

This is the mandatory course for all maritime professionals on board cruise ships and includes learning about personal safety, social responsibility, first aid, fire prevention, fire fighting, crowd control, survival techniques and how to survive at sea in general. The total duration of the course is 40 hours and according to international maritime legislation, it has a validity period of five years, of which the same certificate can be used numerous times.

But unlike the Medical Examinations, Visas and Passport, the certificate can be used even after it has expired, as long as the crew member is on board during the expiration date. Embarking with an expired certificate however is not possible.


The BST refresher course has a reduced workload and in many cruise lines that offer the course on board free of charge, it is only given a written test as a form of quick renewal. The companies understand that the crew members remain on board for months practicing and participating in various training and emergency simulations and therefore apply the test only, without an extensive training.


Since 2017, the certificate must contain your full name, identification number, profile photo and a sticker with your identification number and certificate number. Without them, the certificate is not valid. Also, remember that, like any official document, you cannot laminate it.

SSA (Ship Safety Awareness)

This course provides minimal knowledge of familiarization on ship protection, which must be applied on board in emergency situations. As it deals with the protection part against external threats, this course came to be known informally as the anti-piracy or anti-terrorism course on board. This course is known internationally as Ship Security Awareness (SSA) but in some countries or companies it can be know as different names. The certificate doesn’t expire and the same certificate can be used by the same crew member in different contracts and for different companies.


Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats

It is important to make it very clear that it is not mandatory, only some companies require this certification, and most of them offer it on board, for free.


This course prepares crew for the launching and handling of survival craft through a series of practical exercises using a range of open and enclosed lifeboats and inflatable rescue boats to build confidence, competence and knowledge of safety procedures. Upon completion of the course, you should be able to demonstrate the capability to take charge of a survival craft or rescue boat during and after launch, operate a survival craft engine, manage survivors and survival craft after abandoning ship, use locating devices including communications, signaling apparatus and pyrotechnics, and apply first aid to survivors.