Towing Endorsements

Towing Endorsements
Towing endorsements include Master or Towing, Mate (Pilot) of Towing, and Apprentice Mate (steersman) of Towing.

Towing endorsements include: firstly Master or Towing; secondly, Mate (Pilot) of Towing; and thirdly Apprentice Mate (steersman) of Towing. When issued without a tonnage limitation these endorsements apply to seagoing tugs of less than 300 GRT; OR to any size tug working exclusively on inland waters. In short this article focuses on the quickest and easiest path from deckhand to Master of Towing by identifying the sea service benchmarks.

Towing Endorsements: From deckhand to Master of Towing

Most deckhands want to advance to the wheelhouse as soon as possible. Therefore knowing these sea service benchmarks is very important. Just as important is getting the endorsement as soon as you meet the requirements. Note that these benchmarks are in 8-hour calendar days. However, when working a two-watch system each 12-hour day counts as a day and a half. For example 240 12-hour days equals 360 8-hour days; And consequently 360 12-hour days equals 540 8-hour days.

Firstly, get the Apprentice Mate (steersman) of Towing endorsement

The first benchmark is 540-days of total sea service experience; that includes 360-days on towing vessels. To clarify, 180-days of this experience may be on any type or size of vessel on any navigable waterway. Once the deckhand reaches this benchmark they should get the Apprentice Mate (steersman) of Towing endorsement. That is to say the deckhand should complete an approved Apprentice Mate (steersman) course. Or, likewise they could take the exams at a USCG Regional Exam Center.

Apprentice Mate (steersman) checklist

To explain, the Apprentice Mate (steersman) endorsement allows the deckhand to stand a watch. But only under the direct supervision of a license Master or Mate of Towing. In other words, this is a training endorsement. While holding this endorsement the deckhand should complete the skill and knowledge assessments in the TOAR. AKA the Towing Officer’s Assessment Record (TOAR).

Near Coastal / Oceans TOAR

Inland TOAR

Secondly, get the Mate (Pilot) of Towing endorsement

The second benchmark is 900-days of total experience. These 900-days must include 360-days on towing vessels while holding the Apprentice Mate (steersman) endorsement. Additionally the mariner must complete: firstly, the TOAR for the route; secondly an approved Basic Firefighting course; and thirdly an approved Radar Observer course.

Mate (Pilot) of Towing checklist

Thirdly, get the Master of Towing endorsement

The third and final benchmark is 1440-days of total experience. This experience must include 540-days as mate on a towing vessel while holding a Mate (Pilot) of Towing endorsement. Additionally advancement from Mate to Master of Towing requires no additional exams or courses. It is based on sea service experience alone.

Master of Towing checklist

Another option to advance from Mate to Master of Towing is to qualify for Master 500 Near Coastal. The advantage is twofold; firstly it reduces the experience requirements by 180-days; and secondly the mariner may operate seagoing tugs greater than 300 GRT. The disadvantage is the mariner must complete the exams at a USCG Regional Exam Center. However mariners working on near coastal or ocean routes may qualify for Master 500 ton; with 360-days on near coastal routes as mate on a towing vessel; and completing a limited exam.

Master 500 / 1600 Ocean / Near Coastal checklist

Towing Endorsements: Conclusion

In conclusion, avoid being the deckhand with 20-years experience by using these benchmarks. However, holding the endorsement does not guarantee advancement to the wheelhouse. But you cannot advance without the endorsement.

Towing Endorsements: References

General Requirements 46 CFR 11.463

Master of Towing 46 CFR 11.464

Mate (Pilot) of Towing 46 CFR 11.465

Apprentice Mate (steersman) of Towing 46 CFR 11.466

Master 500-ton Ocean / Near Coastal 46 CFR 11.418

Apprentice Mate (steersman) course

Deck Rating AB or OS

The deck rating AB or OS is required to work as a deckhand on seagoing vessels greater than 100 GRT.
The deck rating AB or OS is required to work as a deckhand on seagoing vessels greater than 100 GRT.

There are two deck rating AB or OS (Able Seaman and Ordinary Seaman). To clarify these are Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) National Rating Endorsements. And seagoing vessels greater than 100 GRT require deckhands to hold rating endorsements. At the conclusion of this article you will know which deck rating AB or OS is for you.

It must be stated that Master or Mate is not the same AB. While the Master or Mate may have the knowledge and skills to serve as AB. Unless their MMC says AB they may not legally serve as AB. However, the same experience used for Master or Mate may also be used to qualify for AB.

Deck Rating AB or OS: Able Seaman (AB)

Able Seaman (AB) is for experienced sailors. That is to say to qualify for AB the mariner must document their sea service experience. And, in addition, they must demonstrate knowledge of seamanship terminology and skills by passing both written and practical exams. Lastly, the AB must also hold the rating of Lifeboatman; or Lifeboatman-limited.

There are several AB ratings. And since all AB exams are the same, a mariner may advance to a superior AB rating by documenting sea service experience alone.

  1. Unlimited (AB Unlimited) requires 1080-days (3-years) of experience on seagoing vessels. And may serve as AB on any size or type of vessel.
  2. Limited (AB Limited) requires 540-days (18-months) of experience on seagoing vessels greater than 100 GRT. And may serve as AB on any type of vessel less than 1600 GRT.
  3. Special (AB Special) requires 360-days (1-year) of experience on any type or size of vessel on ocean or any navigable waters. And may serve as AB on any type of vessel less than 500 GRT.
  4. Offshore Supply Vessel (AB OSV) requires 180-days of experience. And they may serve as AB on any oil industry vessel.
  5. Fishing (AB Fishing) requires 180-days of experience. And may serve as AB on any fishing industry vessel.
  6. Sail (AB Sail) requires 180-days of experience on sail or auxiliary sail vessel. And may serve as AB on any sail or auxiliary sail vessel.

Columbia Pacific (ColPac) Maritime offers a 5-day ($700) AB course. However we do not offer Lifeboatman courses. For Lifeboatman we recommend the following schools. Both offer AB courses in addition to Lifeboatman.

Compass Courses in Edmonds, Washington.

Seafarers Worldwide in Anacortes, Washington.

Deck Rating AB or OS: Ordinary Seaman (OS)

Ordinary Seaman (OS) is an entry level rating endorsement. That is to say, it is an apprentice rating. Consequently there are no sea service or exam requirements. Follow the steps listed to get an OS.

Firstly, enroll in the TWIC (Transportation Workers Identification Program) program. Most importantly, print and save your receipt.

Secondly, complete Coast Guard form 719KE, Application for a Medical Certificate Short Form. That is to say, follow the instructions to complete the applicants portion. And then have the medical practitioner review and complete the form.

Thirdly, use Coast Guard form 719P DOT/USCG Periodic Drug Testing Form to get a DOT/USCG drug screening.

Fourthly, pay the Coast Guard evaluation and issuance fees of $145 at the Gov.Pay website. Most importantly print and save your receipt.

Fifthly, complete Coast Guard form 719B Application for a Merchant Mariner Credential. That is to say, follow the instructions exactly as written. When completing Section II be sure and check the box for a the original issue of an entry level rating. And then write in OS as the description.

Lastly, scan all forms and receipts. And then email them to a US Coast Guard Regional Exam Center (REC).

Email Instructions

Locate an REC near you

Conclusion

In conclusion the OS is an entry level apprentice rating. While the AB is a journeyman rating. In contrast, holding a Master or Mate does not qualify you as an AB. Your MMC must say AB to work as a deckhand on seagoing vessels 100 GRT and greater. The biggest mistake that a mariner can make is NOT getting an AB. The result being that too many career opportunities are missed without it.

Please contact us if you have any questions. Columbia Pacific (ColPac) Maritime is here to help you meet your professional maritime goals.

Which License: OUPV or Master?

Which License? OUPV or Master
Which License: OUPV or Master?

The answer to the question “Which License: OUPV or Master?” is based on two other closely related questions. Firstly, how many passengers does the boat carry? And secondly, is the boat an inspected or uninspected passenger vessel? Read the information that follows to determine which license: OUPV or Master is best for you. And then follow the links to find more info on how to get the license you need. Please email any questions to Dennis@columbiapacificmaritime.com

OUPV

The Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV), or 6-pack captain license, is for carrying six or fewer passengers. Furthermore it is for operating small uninspected passenger vessels. The term “small” to mean less than 100-GRT, or about 65-feet. And the term “uninspected” to mean the federal regulations contained it Title 46 Subchapter C Uninspected Vessels.

The OUPV may be endorsed as Inland or Near Coastal. Inland includes all inland waters shoreward of the boundary line. While Near Coastal includes all inland water and ocean waters within 100-miles of the US shoreline.

More information on the OUPV

Master

The Master is a superior license to the OUPV. Meaning that you can carry fewer than 6-passengers. However the Master can carry more than 6-passengers as well. And they may also operate inspected or uninspected passenger vessels within the limitations on the license.

As with the OUPV, the Master is issued with an Inland or a Near Coastal route. The Inland route includes all inland waters shoreward of the boundary line. And the Near Coastal route includes all inland waters, and ocean waters within 200-miles of the US shoreline.

More information on the Master

Which License: OUPV or Master? Conclusion

In conclusion. Both the OUPV and Master may be used on ocean waters. So the only difference is how may passengers there are. If you plan to carry six or fewer passengers, then the OUPV is the only license you will ever need. But if you need to operate an inspected passenger vessel carrying more than six passengers you must hold a Master license.