The Coast Guard has decided that mariners need to prove continued proficiency in firefighting abilities. After 2016, maritime officers will be required to update their firefighting course work every five years.
Sailors’ fire training is currently mandatory for officers who travel internationally, but they only have to take the full course once. After that, they simply need to occasionally take part in onboard training during their time on the water, and pass a perfunctory written test.
Credentials can be renewed moving forward by attending 16 hour land-based ‘refresher’ courses. These can be completed over two days, so sailors can get back on the water before they lose their sea legs. The actual revalidation course is designed to last just 8 hours, and can be completed in a single day.
On both coasts, training schools are creating new and improved courses, with a greater emphasis on practical applications.
Under the new regulations, a hands-on firefighting test will be required. Until they are literally under fire, no mariner knows how they will truly perform in the heat of the moment.
This time around, there will be greater focus on fires relating to boilers and enclosed spaces. Dangerous materials like petrochemicals and cleaning solvents will also be important topics.
This means better safety training for all officers, which translates to safer ships at anchor and on the seas. In light of the danger of onboard fires, requiring mariners to demonstrate their ongoing abilities makes perfect sense.
If you have been the victim of maritime negligence or general unseaworthiness, call Latti & Anderson today—we have a deep understanding of maritime law, and can help you earn the compensation you deserve!
Latti & Anderson’s Little Extra: The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime, but can be transferred to the Department of the Navy during times of war. To date, this has only happened twice—during World War I and World War II.
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