Captain Dario Savino, board member of the ItalianYachtMaster association and captain of M/Y Regina d'Italia, has recently undertaken a small study on the implementation of the STCW Code across Europe and here, he brings you his findings and concerns.

I have recently done a small research study on how the STCW Code is implemented across the different countries of the EU.

It’s crazy how different it is from one place to another. Crew must be careful. I am aware that within the parameters of the code every country has the right to apply it with a certain freedom, some being more strict than others, but not under the standards imposed by the STCW Code.

The main problems seem to be that for people who have an STCW Merchant Certificate of Competency (CoC) and have spent five years on a private yacht – even a big one –  in some countries this sea service is not recognised towards the revalidation of that CoC. The result is after five years, that crewmember will lose their certificate.



Some countries have already implemented refresher courses in order to establish a continuous competency, while others have not, so if you are out of work for a certain period you lose your certificate.

All EU countries are members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the STCW Code is a minimum recognised standard for seafarers and is internationally recognised. But if someone does a training course like BST, Radar or ECDIS, all of which are mandatory to obtain a CoC STCW in one country, even this training is not recognised by others European Comission (EC) countries. Pure nonsense.


Some countries have already implemented refresher courses in order to establish a continuous competency, while others have not, so if you are out of work for a certain period you lose your certificate.



Some countries also discriminate when it comes to the gross tonnage of the ship or the grade in which a seafarer gets their sea time in order to revalidate their CoC. If is not in the grade or the gross tonnage of your CoC, they may downgrade you from Master  > than 3,000gt to Master  > 500gt, < 3,000gt.

This is an urge to yachting captains to seek a connection with the IMO, in order to represent, in an appropriate manner, the yachting industry, which suffers the heavy burden of merchant ship regulations without seeing any advantage.

We shall never forget that a seafarer will go where their career brings them. Today it is merchant and tomorrow it will be yachting, and sometimes vice versa. If someone has a solid, professional competence in the marine industry, it should not be ‘cancelled’ simply because they has been sailing for the last five years on a private yacht.