Does it Make Sense for Individual Nations to Have Higher Standards than STCW


As the world largest economy, with US exceptionalism and all, the US should have high standards. High enough that it is obvious to others. Why not?

What does "for the sake of argument" mean?
STCW just imperfect or actively bad

“We’ve got more money than everyone else so our sailors are better…”


No. We have a strong economy and a relatively good university system so we have the resources to train our sailors much better than STCW minimums, or for that matter, tracing them as well as any other country does.


Are all US sailors degree holders, trained in Universities??


It’s a fact of life that everyone thinks their nation’s tickets are worth more than another nations. The cold reality of it is that the British one is the best and all others merely aspire to it! :wink:


Please Brexit.


Of course that would be a good argument to keep King’s Point Merchant Marine Academy.


Who’s standards?
What standards specifically?

I don’t think Americans are better than any other well trained countries… but we are different and that’s due, in part, to the fact we value different things. (that also makes us better at some specific things and worse at others)

An American is going to fail when measured against the standards of a British master just as a British officer is going to fail against the standards of an American Master.

And this goes for every country. We are all different and value different things and measure in different ways. Diversity is good.


Also sometimes low standards are a good thing.

By and large American’s don’t care about standards, we care about professionalism and results.

Is someone with a high degree of “professionalism” the same as someone with “high standards”? Sometimes yes and sometimes no.

This forum, for example, has very low membership standards. We even advertise it as being open to everyone from seaman to CEO. And the American government sets very low standards for what can be posted here. gCaptain’s CEO rarely even spellchecks his replies! :grimacing: This infuriates some people here who jold a different set of standards but that asshole doesn’t seem to care and keeps doing it anyway :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

This forum probably couldn’t exists in England. And the Nautical Institute probably couldn’t exist in the States… but they both add value to the jndustty… just in different ways.

Again… diversity is good.


Counterintuitive, but sometimes true.

When I first got my license, shipping was slow and no reputable company would hire me because I hadn’t gone through an academy.

However the union’s standards were much “lower” (or different). The only thing the union screened on was documents in order, not resume. Once I got my foot in the door I was able to advance quickly.


Where is c.captain? I would think he has a opinion on this.

And you are all in denial, Norway as always is the benchmark for excellency.


The US has they resources, like good universities and a large tax base. The ability exists to design, fund, and deliver high quality training. It’s done every day. US students who could study anywhere in the world choose to stay home for their education. Foreign students from all over the world flock to the US to study. For all it’s many defects, the US has the biggest and best university system in the world.

So why shouldn’t the US have high quality, perhaps even the best, maritime training in the world?

Why should the USCG approve only minimum (third world) standard IMO model STCW courses? Why not require much superior (first world) courses in design, content, equipment, and quality of instruction.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that UK MCA, Norwegian NMD, and a few other countries approved STCW courses are superior to those in the US. If that is true (an evaluation or experiment could be conducted to find out), shouldn’t the USCG not only allow, but encourage American seafarers to go take these superior courses?

Why shouldn’t the US design it’s STCW courses to meet the highest standards and save the most lives?

What is the point in 2018 of approving PSC courses that train on rowing open lifeboats (most US courses do), but fail to train on enclosed lifeboats, particularly no free fall lifeboat training?

The MCA has a long list of other countries STCW courses that it will accept. I assume the NMD does as well. What US courses do they accept? The MCA has a long list of other countries GMDSS certificates that it will accept. The US is not on that list. If a USCG CoC holder wants an MCA CeC, he must first take a MCA approved GMDSS course. The US should be embarrassed by this.

The US government should award grants to major research universities, MIT, Cal Tech, Michigan, etc. to study all the major maritime and offshore safety standards and training. Then design the next generation of world class standards and training, that are second to no other country.


A nation that turns out ships offices with very high academic standards is widely recognised as having officers with very low CDF- (common dog F**k).
A well rounded individual with good interpersonal skills and common sense with the ability to inspire confidence in others gets my vote every time.
On the job training and continued education will result in a superior ships officer no matter what nationality they are.


I’m not suggesting higher academic standards for ship’s officers.

I’m suggesting that we use the research and instructional design capacity of good universities to design superior STCW and other Maritime safety courses for entry level and working mariners at all levels, regardless of their academic level


I don’t think I recall seeing this, I’ve seen smart officers with little practical experience but for the most part they seem to learn quickly once they hit the deck. And I’ve seen dumb ones that just don’t seem to learn much even as they gain experience…

I have seen some non-U.S. mariners who are trained rather than educated. They seem to see the job as a series of unrelated tasks each of which they can perform as required but don’t seem to be able to see the big picture. These are the guys who are afraid to leave the track-line as they need that GPS bearing to steer to.


The US licensing system appears to be based on tradition and time in service, verse measurable metrics and practical testing.

An argument: It takes longer, and more classroom training (hawespipe or acad) to earn a 3rd mate/AE than it does to get an ATP Pilot license (1500 hrs) and training (type rating, ~30 days) to legally fly a 747/777/etc full of passengers as the left seat captain.


The ones that are trained rather than educated are not well rounded. If you end up with a programmed unthinking idiot then the initial selection is at fault.


Wondering if the Brits also enjoy the smell of their own smug farts as well? :thinking:


We love them.


Assume for the sake of argument that the UK and Norway do have the highest standards in the world. Should the US match them?