The NMC should immediately hire well qualified contractors (former NMC and REC personnel with proven ability) to assist with eliminating the licensing backlog. These contractors should be allowed to work remotely from home, or in offices at the RECs.
The USCG should offer one year paid “Fellowships” to Maritime Academy graduates, and to law school graduates to work as evaluators at the NMC. These fellowships should become a stepping stone to further Federal employment.
The NMC should immediately hire licensed mariners as contractors, or as employees of contractors, to review and evaluate applications. The work should be structured so that it can be done by unemployed or retired mariners, or by active mariners on their time off.
NMC should use specially trained evaluators. There should be specialist evaluators that only review GAP closing applications. There should be evaluators that only review applications from students about to graduate from the academies. There should be evaluators that only review entry level applications. Etc.
The licensing system should be drastically simplified with fewer types of licenses and endorsements, and fewer types of exams.
The licensing system should be better harmonized with STCW and the policies and practices of other STCW countries, particularly Canada and the U.K.
Only I.T.C. GT tonnage should be stated on licenses. The use of GRT tonnage should be eliminated for licensing purposes.
The role of seatime on vessels of a particular tonnage, and the supposed importance and quantity of seatime on vessels of particular tonnage should be reduced. Smaller vessel experience is much more valuable than the credit the USCG gives to it, and the other STCW countries already recognize this.