Tugboat Captain Made Easy
There are two basic ways to become a tugboat captain. The direct route. And, the lateral route. This post, Tugboat Captain Made Easy, explains them in simple terms. The following regulations are referenced:
Tugboat Captain: the direct route
The direct route is the easiest way from deck to captain. The big advantage of the this route is no exams at the Coast Guard. However, this route is best when the deckhand keeps close track of their sea time.
Firstly: Apprentice Mate (Steersman) of Towing
This route starts when the deckhand has 540-days (1.5 years) of sea time. This time must include 360-days on towing vessels. At this point take our Apprentice Mate (Steersman) class. And then, go back to work as a deckhand. And start checking-off the TOAR.
Secondly: Apprentice Mate to Mate (Pilot) of Towing
Mate requires 900-days (2.5 years) of sea time. This time must include 360-days on towing vessels with the Apprentice Mate license. Additionally, the applicant must have completed:
- Firstly: a TOAR.
- Secondly: an approved Radar Observer class.
- Thirdly: an approved Basic Firefighting class.
Thirdly: Mate (Pilot) to Master of Towing
The tugboat captain must have 1440-days (4-years) of sea time. This time must include 540-days (1.5 years) as mate on a towing vessel, with the Mate of Towing license.
The lateral route
There are two lateral routes. These routes are for captains with licenses. But, with no tugboat experience. However, if you are a career deckhand with years and years of sea time, they provide a faster route. The downside is, they require taking exams at the Coast Guard.
Master or Mate greater than 200-ton
In short, if you hold a license as Master or Mate of inspected vessels greater than 200-ton. For example: 500-ton or higher. And, you have 30-days experience on a tug. And, a completed TOAR for the route. Then, you can operate any tug within the limits on your license.
Master less than 200 to Mate (Pilot) of Towing
This route is for mariners with a Master 200-ton or less license. For example: Master 25, 50, and 100-ton are included. But, does not included a Limited Master. The mariner with this license may be issued Mate (Pilot) of Towing by meeting the following:
- Firstly: Document 1080-days (3-years) sea time as master under the authority of the license.
- Secondly: Have 30-days of training and observation on a tugboat.
- Thirdly: Complete a TOAR for the route.
- And fourthly: Complete the Apprentice Mate (Steersman) exams. Or, an approved course.
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