How we do it

At Seatrain we approach every training challenge with a clear understanding of the client’s need and a clear idea of what the desired outcome needs to be for our client.

Whether designing maritime training programmes for flag states, operators, charterers or shipping lines, we know how important it is to understand the different legislative and business unit requirements, to have a clear outcome in mind, to quantify the specific need and to devise the best possible plan of action to achieve it.

Seatrain uses the South African (SAMSA) certification system as the backbone of our training programmes and operations.

SAMSA maintains a very high standard and is respected within the African and international market. The system is governed by the Merchant Shipping Act of 1951, and more specifically the MS Safe Manning, Training & Certification Regulations of 2013.

South Africa is in full compliant with the Manila amended STCW Code of 2010.


All of our partner providers are also SAMSA (STCW) accredited, and many of them also have OPITO accreditation for some of the offshore courses.

The South African system is closely aligned to the British system. All phases of the training programs are accredited and/or moderated by the maritime authorities. Exit level certification (eg. Deck OOW) is done via a formal ‘Orals Examination’ at SAMSA. The country is also audited by the European Maritime Safety Authority (EMSA) at regular intervals.

The system makes provision for all qualifications. Ie. Full unlimited STCW tickets, near coastal, port operations, Ratings, mining, tanker endorsements etc. It is a mature and integrated certification system.  For first time certification, ALL the STCW short courses and studies must be completed in South Africa, at an approved institution.

For the five-yearly revalidation, the refresher courses may be completed outside of South Africa, provided that they are STCW ‘White Listed’, and have in place a STCW I/10 agreement with South Africa.

Once the ‘outcome’ is agreed to, we track backwards in order to ensure that we start any initiative at the right level. It is not un-common for us to re-train students, in which case we use a process called ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’.

Credit is given to historical seatime, qualifications and experience, as may be required and provided for in the regulations.

Training timelines

It takes three to five years years to train up a high school graduate to ‘Officer of the Watch’ level.

It is therefore imperative that learner is mentored and managed in such a way that will ensure success.

In many instances, the English and education levels of students from certain countries are not up to standard, and they cannot go straight into university. A bridging program would then be designed to bring the student up to the required literacy levels in. This process could take anything from 6 – 18 months.

The South African Universities make provision for ‘Diploma Courses” or ‘Batchelor Degrees’ for formal seagoing Officer qualifications.

Once all the studies are completed, the seatime phase is completed on the employer’s vessels. The seatime is administered via an ‘Accelerated Training Program’, as may be approved by SAMSA. Seatrain assists with the facilitation and management of this phase.

During the course of the training program, students would attend numerous courses, which includes Bridge or E/Room simulation training at SAMTRA. The progress of the students are carefully monitored, and feedback is provided with regard to their performance and areas of weakness. A remedial plan of action may typically be required to address the gaps.

The Certificate of Competency (COC) examinations are conducted at the regional SAMSA examination centres. Seatrain again assists with the preparation of the students in order to give them the best possible chance at passing the Orals exams. Once the COC exam is passed, the newly graduated Officer would return to his company for further sea service.

The official Certificate of Competency is issued in Pretoria. Seatrain ensures that the COC is collected, checked for correctness, and that it is sent to its proper owner.

Click here for links to forms and application details for tertiary organisations, and more.