Pre-deployment training


Adequate preparatory training and instruction are vital for the success and safety of Antarctic field campaigns and operations. It is mandatory that all BAS staff and visitors working in the Antarctic, whether on land or on BAS ships, satisfy BAS requirements on medical fitness and training. This section provides further information on the BAS Pre-Deployment Training Course held at Girton College, the First Aid course, Field Course and the Personal Survival Techniques certificate.

For those with previous experience of undertaking BAS-supported fieldwork, BAS Operations and Logistics (OPAL) section will determine what training is required, with each case considered individually. Those whose projects are entirely ship-based will receive a 'briefing pack' and are not required to attend the Antarctic Pre-Deployment Training course.

BAS Antarctic Pre-Deployment Training

Annually in September, BAS holds an Antarctic Pre-Deployment Training Course (at Girton College, Cambridge). The purpose is to provide practical advice and information to those who will be undertaking Antarctic (or sub-Antarctic) fieldwork, besides providing more general background on the British Antarctic Survey and its work. The Pre-Deployment Training Course thus provides a wide-ranging induction to BAS policies and culture, as well as an important opportunity for fieldwork personnel to meet others with whom they will be living and working. It also provides an opportunity to meet BAS Cambridge staff who provide the vital logistic support.

Those persons who have no previous or recent Antarctic fieldwork experience (or who have Antarctic working experience with other operators) will be required to attend the Antarctic Pre-Deployment Training Course. There are different elements to the Antarctic Pre-Deployment Training Course, and different attendance requirements for delegates, according to their circumstances. BAS issues invitations to all named participants, 4–8 weeks before the event is scheduled to commence (July).

For further information on training dates and course summaries, please see the Antarctic Pre-Deployment Training webpage (BAS website).

First Aid training

A ‘First Aid Plus’ training course (of two days duration) is held immediately after the Antarctic Pre-Deployment Training Course. This is organised and presented by the BAS Medical Unit (BASMU). The training has been designed to meet the needs of BAS, with particular reference to medical resources in the Antarctic. The level of First Aid training required will depend on the nature of the proposed fieldwork. The following table provides a guide to First Aid training requirements, although decisions on individual cases will be made by BAS.

  Ship (cruise) only Station based (Short term) Station based (Long term) Field based (Short term) Field based (Long term)
BAS staff A1 BASMU ‘First Aid Plus’ or refresher A1 BASMU ‘First Aid Plus’ course or refresher A1 BASMU ‘First Aid Plus’ or refresher A1 BASMU ‘First Aid Plus’ or refresher A1 BASMU ‘First Aid Plus’ or refresher
Non-BAS personnel B1 Not required but “First Aid at Work” is recommended B1 Not required but “First Aid at Work” is recommended B2 “First Aid at Work” required B3 BASMU ‘First Aid Plus’or refresher B3 BASMU ‘First Aid Plus’or refresher

B1, Research station — Activities will be restricted to the research station vicinity.

B1, Ships — If an individual does not hold a “First Aid at work” certificate, land-based activities are liable to be restricted.

Personnel carrying out Antarctic Fieldwork in category B1 or B2 will not normally be offered 'First Aid Plus' training by BASMU, but should obtain First Aid training, to the “First Aid at Work” standard, elsewhere. If project fieldwork requires more than a single summer field season, refresher training is required annually (this may be obtained on board ship or on station), and repeated BASMU training every 3 years, to maintain certification.

Depending on the proposed fieldwork, there may be a requirement to attend a half-day oil-spills training course, which follows the ‘First Aid Plus’ course.

Field Courses

Those who will participate in fieldwork which involves a campaign based away from a BAS station must also attend the Field Training Course. This is held in Derbyshire, and provides instruction and practical training in Antarctic camp craft, along with glacier travel techniques and crevasse rescue under simulated conditions. This foundation course will be reinforced with further training in the Antarctic. Refresher training will be required every 3 years, for those who have previously undertaken this course. The Field Training Course also provides instruction and practical training in sub-Antarctic camp-craft, navigation and rescue techniques under simulated conditions, on the Derbyshire gritstone crags.

Personal Survival Techniques Training

All BAS personnel and visitors engaged on a research cruise will be required to hold a valid STCW 95 (Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping) Personal Survival Techniques certificate. This is the internationally agreed standard of personal survival training required for seafarers. The training is available at most UK maritime colleges and courses must be arranged individually by the Principal Investigator. A list of available course centres can be obtained from the Antarctic Funding Office (email: Training fees will not be the responsibility of BAS and should be costed into a full proposal. Personnel in transit only, on BAS vessels, will not be expected to undertake this training.

On joining ship, personnel will be required to produce their certificate to the ship’s Master, who holds all marine certificates in case of an inspection. Without this certificate, personnel will not be permitted to join the ship.

Continuing training and drills are part of the ethos of the STCW 95 provisions. All personnel will be expected to comply with on-board briefings and drills.