Welcome to Marlins Test Trainer!

Why do seafarers need to learn English?

STCW95 stipulated that, among other requirements, Officers of the Watch need a level of English 'adequate to communicate with other ships and coast stations and multilingual crews'. This vague definition highlights the difficulty in pinpointing exactly what is expected. Communicating in a foreign language is a complex process. It requires linguistic knowledge and a wide range of skills. Rote learning of simple phrases will not suffice in circumstances such as emergencies and inspections. A much broader and deeper ability to communicate effectively is required. At Marlins we teach the essential combination of knowledge and skills which enables seafarers to approach every situation with more confidence. Confidence breeds fluency and a willingness to continue to build upon existing knowledge.

What kind of English do seafarers need to learn?

We've been looking at the issue of English language communication among seafarers since 1994. We've spent a lot of time in crewing sites around the world, speaking with owners, managers and seafarers, visiting companies, colleges and ships, as well as creating a dialogue with industry regulators. In short, we've tried to look at crewing and seafaring in its entirety. This contact has taught us that most seafarers already possess an understanding of technical English relating to their area of work. However, this alone is insufficient. Technical vocabulary is useless without a 'common core' of English combined with the ability to communicate. At Marlins, we believe that seafarers, like all specialists, also need a broad-based knowledge and understanding of the underlying principles of English. Given sufficient training and practice, seafarers can vastly improve the communicative skills that they need to bring to the workplace. There is much talk of seafarers, or indeed anyone, panicking in their own language. The more seafarers can understand and use 'everyday' English, the more chance they will have of communicating effectively in situations which by their very nature are unforeseeable.

How do I know who needs English language training?

The problem will probably be smaller than you think. In our experience, after assessment, around 20-25% of a company's non-native English speaking crews will need some tuition. Your first step is to identify who they are. The Marlins Test is a good starting point, combined with brief interviews with all those who perform unsatisfactorily in the test. Once identified, your company can explore the most cost-effective way of implementing a solution.

How much time is needed?

From 120 hours to a lifetime, depending on the individual seafarer's requirements. Because language learning is an ongoing process, we usually advise companies to initiate an eighteen month training period, during which time the onus lies with the seafarer to implement his own study. This may be an unsatisfactory answer for companies who only employ seafarers for single contracts. Equally, it might seem unsatisfactory in terms of cost for companies with permanent staff on the books. Unfortunately, there are no quick fix solutions to language learning, however, we can help your company set up an English language training programme which allows seafarers access to appropriate material at sea and effective support on shore.

Is the solution expensive?

At Marlins we are realistic enough to understand that while many companies want to improve their seafarers' skills, training budgets are often under pressure. We tailor solutions to fit every requirement. We can advise you on ways to offset training costs, having found that many seafarers want to learn English for social as well as professional reasons. We maintain that English language training is a long-term commitment from both company and individual learner. With our experience we can ensure that the best possible support is given to your sea staff where and when it is needed most and at a price which is acceptable.