GAP Closure Training and Licensing Delay Issues


Bring back evaluators to the local REC offices. Remember those days when you could sit down face to face and discuss your application? If we were still able to do that, at a minimum, it would prevent incomplete applications or omissions/errors. Corrections could be made before it goes to headquarters. The evaluator could sign off on it and then send it to West Virginia.

I hear we’re not even allowed in the building in West Virginia.


Yes. Bring the evaluations (not the evaluators from West Virginia) back to the RECs. The active duty Coastguardsmen with seagoing experience at the RECs did a pretty good job as evaluators.

The ability to explain things, clear up misunderstandings, and correct any errors face to face is priceless. At the end of the day, it saves everyone a lot of time and money.

In the RECs that are on a USCG base, it certainly helped that the evaluators had access to personnel with a seagoing knowledge base.


I will work on getting evaluators to the REC’s.


Isn’t that what the rec is supposed to do now?

I just renewed my medical and an interesting thing was when I dropped off the application and physical in person, the guy at the rec introduced himself as an evaluator. That’s been a first for me, since way back when before martinsburg.


The REC guys never necessarily had sea going experience, The pecking order in the USCG puts marine inspectors and REC right down at the bottom for career advancement. The glamorous job and path to advancement was the “war on drugs” and is currently the “war on terror”. Both of which are never ending wars that cannot be won. But they do make for a lot of money for the contractors!


They are making progress. Captain John Mauger just got selected for RDML. Perhaps the solution is to make the REC’s a Warrant Officer “Command” and putting guys with sea time in charge that are looking to settle down a little.


An acheiveable goal — that I think we can all agree on — is returning licensing to the RECs.

I also think that every coastal state with a USCG base and a significant number of mariners should have a nearby REC.

It’s true that the REC evaluators were not necessarily mariners, and some of them were duds, but at many RECs they had ready access to knowledgeable mariners.

Since the RECs are located in coastal cities, they have access to a sizeable population of retired and underemployed mariners with substantial maritime expertise, and CFR reading and interpretation experience, that could be hired to work at the RECs.

If mariners could meet with evaluators at the RECs, licensing consultants would become less necessary. However, the licensing consultants are also located near the RECs for the mariners who wish to use them. Personally, I would prefer to go to the REC with my licensing consultant who knows the evaluator on a first name basis, speaks the same USCG jargon, and deals with the same evaluators frequently.

Another advantage that most RECs have is that they know the boat companies, what they do, boats, and mariners that operate in their regions.

Let’s get to work on getting licensing moved back to the RECs.


Difficult but doable. I do not think final approval for anything over 200 tons should be done at the REC’s. I never liked people shopping REC’s.

This will involve downsizing NMC which happened anyway when they stopped hiring the 37 evaluators required. We have to do this in such a way it is a low or no coat solution AND makes things more effective. We can’t just identify a solution. We have it to make it easier for them to do than say NO and makes the operation more effective.

This is why I got away with murder pretty much while I was in the Coast Guard except for one grievous error. Live outside the box, identify problems and have the solution ready so it is more difficult to say no than it is to say yes.

It worked for 22 years when I was in so I am dusting it off, oiling it up and making some upgrades to it. Also, always make sure the Boss gets the credit though most good ones will give it to you if they are good bosses and I had some great ones.

I also want Jim Cavo in charge of Merchant Mariner Credentialing. I think that would solve MOST of our problems to be brutally honest.


I guess we are far from agreement.

I want prompt competent in-person service at an REC in my home state (or at least an adjacent state). I’m willing to pay whatever it costs the USCG to provide this service.

No. No more NMC. It has failed. The solution is not to run two separate licensing programs with the RECs processing the small party boat licenses, and the NMC doing everything else. The solution is to close the NMC and save the USCG and taxpayers a ton of money, and US Mariners tons of aggravation. There are only two Senators and one Congressmen committed to keeping NMC open in West Virginia, but many more Congressmen and Senators that would like to see some of those jobs moved to RECs in their home states. NMC cannot be fixed; it has to go. It is possible to get this done.

The forum shopping that some mariners did by going from one REC to another with their seatime and asking “what will you give me” and then picking the most generous REC was never a serious problem. New Orleans was the only REC that was routinely too generous. That kind of forum shopping could be stopped, by requiring an online “notice of application” that would be visible to all RECS, and adopting a rule that once you apply at one REC, that first REC must complete that application.

Now, the NMC is an understaffed, inexperienced, brain-dead, luck of the draw — where you may get an incompetent evaluator that hands out Unlimited master’s licenses to just about anyone with no exam, or you may get an incompetent evaluator that will take six months without doing anything at all, or you may get an incompetent evaluator who cannot read and so denies your application because it supposedly does not contain something that is right there in black and white. There is less consistency at the NMC today, than there was at the RECs 10 years ago. This is the real problem.

I am open to turning over maritime licensing to a new non-military agency, or to the RECs, that will provide in-person evaluations, but not to continuing with the failed NMC.


NMC has failed, and how. It was nothing but Robert Byrd’s wet dream to bring jobs to West Virginia under the guise of national security. Business as usual.


tugssailor and highseasharry, you both bring up great points.

Unfortunately logic and efficiency are never close to the top of the list for anything in DC. We have to work small and incrementally. We should have quashed this years ago before it started but working with a bunch of sailors is like herding cats so there was little chance of that.

I know how the stupid game is played, where some bodies are buried and I can use the system as opposed to being used. Additionally, industry can not reach out and touch me anymore and I LOVE poking tigers, in or out of the cage. It is an addiction.

We have to work together here and on the Offshore Maters and Mates Association (OMAMA) page on FB to get things done. I have no problem representing our ideas, our people and our industry. You all can work anonymously through me and I can carry out the dirty work. I am here for you. “They” can try to influence me but I enjoy the game to much. So check out OMAMA and join. I will be changing the name because I want Engineers and AB’s in there too. - Tim


Omama. Oh no that won’t do. It’s too easily confused with Obama.


Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile with the
Memphis blues again


I wanted OMAMA because I want to hear the Morons in DC announce me as the leader of OMAMA if I testify.

I want to come up with a more inclusive name that is very Un-PC but they will have to use it in Congress when announcing us and the Maritime community can giggle at it when the honorable whoever addresses us.


Careful, half the guys here do not know the song and the other half know the artist’s name but can’t remember it.


How about the Brotherhood of Licensed Officers Working Mariners and Engineers?


Tim, I’m all in. Sort of. The end is in sight for me; another year or 18 months and all this will be in the rear view. I’m hoping I won’t have to renew ever again, so right now I’m R.I.P. (Retired In Place).

Anything I can do to help straighten out licensing, I’m there. Keep us posted.


Didn’t mean to hijack your thread. I’m real busy now but I’ll PM you after the dust settles.


Other than the “brotherhood” part making it sound too much like a union for the oil patch guys I’d say this is an awesome name.


That strikes my funny bone, but seriously . . . BLOW ME ?

Where is the cake to go with that?