GAP Closure Training and Licensing Delay Issues


Thanks. Hey, the engineers are the smart ones right? So they get an even more confusing challenge than is deckies?


Obviously, the engineering licenses are badly in need of streamlining and simplification. Probably, the DDE license should be eliminated and the 3AE exam should cover Chief Limited. When someone qualifies for chief limited 3AE should come with it automatically. The horsepower limitation cut offs should be reconsidered.


The DDE still has it’s purpose, one engineer tugs. You can’t go straight to Chief Limited, and you can’t serve as sole engineer with an Assistant Engineer limited.


With the exception of tugs going to Canada, I do not expect to see any significant change from the unlicensed tug engineers we have now. A lot of them have nothing more than OS/Wiper. In fact, I expect that most new tugs will be built under 100 GRT — that’s now a 120’ 6000hp boat — so that that they won’t even require a MMC, STCW, or a licensed engineer (of course the master and Mate will need Master of towing and Mate of towing). Other than the ATBs, I see little need for tugs larger than 120’ and 6000hp. Actually, there is very little non-oil barge towing work that cannot be done with tugs that are an honest 3000hp. While a handful of the bigger companies may prefer it, I don’t see much need for DDEs, on tugs.

When you consider that OS/Wipers have routinely been sailing as unlicensed Chief Engineers on tugs for as long as I can remember, and will continue to, there would certainly be nothing wrong with allowing 3AEs to be the licensed Chief on tugs.

I certainly don’t see any point in having any exam for a licensed engineer that is easier than the 3AE motor exam (not to say its an easy exam), nor any license, like DDE, that is lower than 3AE.

The horsepower limitations for seatime, or even using seatime at a particular horsepower as a limiting factor, ought to be rethought as well. Previously I gave the example:

If a 3AE Unlimited sails as Chief on a 120’ 99GRT tug that is single screw with one 20-645 EMD at 3600hp, he cannot upgrade to 2AE Unlimited because it’s under 4000hp. But if he sails on a 120’, 99GRT tug that is twin screw with two 20-645 EMDs and 7200hp, he can upgrade to 2AE unlimited. I just don’t see any significant difference in the value of the seatime for the engineer.

Maybe 70 years ago there was a big difference between experience gained on a ship under or over 4000hp, but I do not see anything significant about the 4000hp cutoff today.


Used to be that the chief limited oceans crossed over to 2nd A/E with only 1 year seatime and the second motor plants test, it then went to 1 year of seatime and all 5 modules, now, you can cross directly to 1st with seatime and 5 modules, if you test under the after 3/24/14 rules, 3rd A/E is an operational level license and the chief limited is a managerial level license, you will have to have seatime and test at the managerial level for the upgrade


Just a couple of questions out of curiosity:
How does the regulatory bodies around the world handle diesel/electric propulsion for this purpose??
Do they apply total HP of the diesels driving generators on board, or HP of the actual (electric) propulsion motors??
Since the rest of the world has gone to kW as the unit for power, do the USCG recognize this, or demand everything “translated” to HP??
In that case, to what type of HP? BHP, SHP or even IHP (If that is still used by anybody)


I’ve never seen a limited-engineers license to know for sure, but it’s easy enough for them to put the 1,600 GRT / 3,000 ITC limit on my masters license so I’m sure they can figure something out. That, and in my MMC there is are separate pages for the national license and STCW endorsements.


Ask the class societies, they’re the ones that determine the official power rating of a vessel.

They use whatever units the boat is rated in by the class society. The cutoff for time to count towards an unlimited license is 4,000 HP or 3,000 kW.


What’s looked at is total BHP of main propulsion, no auxillaries, no bow/stern thrusters.

The horsepower limitation is listed in its kW conversion on one’s license in addition to hp, so I’m assuming the uscg acknowledges kW.


Just like for the unlimited deck licenses, they can issue a tonnage limitation for a third assistant’s license. The unique thing about the DDE licenses is the horsepower and tonnage on vessels served doesn’t matter. In theory, someone could run as unlicensed engineer on a moderate sized crewboat or tugboat and sit for DDE unlimited. Assistant Engineer limited can be issued along with DDE unlimited with no further exams. My last engine license upgrade I considered going for third assistant but decided not to because I would get a tonnage limitation in addition to my hp limitation…and with how the job market is I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything with it any time soon.
Since I’ve been working the deck side for the last couple years I didn’t pursue it.


Chief limited is the same, restricted to under 1600 GRT but with HP restrictions added, I had enough high horsepower to not get a HP restriction, even though I had no HP restriction on my chief limited, I still had to produce enough HP to upgrade to 1st unlimited


OK, so at least they have got that far. But when you say HP, is that BHP as in the rest of the world, or SHP as popularly used for to define power plant on larger US vessels? (at least in the past)

In my early days as a MWS the American OSVs and tugs always presented themselves as" XXX IHP" and the joke was always; “does that include the fridge?”

I cannot remember seeing IHP for a while, though. Just wondered if that still applies to the boats operating in GoM?


Yes in the case of HP for diesel/electric this is true. I was referring specifically to more conventional plants, since most of my experience lies with 60s to 90s era tugs and OSVs.

Our licenses only say HP and then the kW conversion. I’m almost positive the uscg only recognizes BHP in this case but for whatever reason generically lists HP on our licenses.

Yes, often times vessels specifications HP is listed higher than what it is…and for some reason GOM companies like doing that I’m assuming for marketing. I don’t recall ever seeing it listed as IHP though.


In that case they would receive an HP limit on their Assistant Engineer limited along with their DDE Unlimited.

46 CFR 11.503
(b) When an applicant for an original or raise of grade of an engineer endorsement, other than a DDE, has not obtained at least 50 percent of the required experience on vessels of 4,000 HP/3,000 kW or more, a propulsion power limitation is placed on the MMC based on the applicant’s qualifying experience. The endorsement is limited to the maximum propulsion power on which at least 25 percent of the required experience was obtained, or 150 percent of the maximum propulsion power on which at least 50 percent of the service was obtained, whichever is higher. Limitations are in multiples of 1,000 HP/750 kW, using the next higher figure when an intermediate horsepower is calculated. When the limitation as calculated equals or exceeds 10,000 HP/7,500 kW, an unlimited propulsion power endorsement is issued.


That’s right, HP limit on the assistant engineer limited, not the DDE. HP sea service for DDE licenses is irrelevant. I don’t recall maybe it needs to be at least over 1000 hp, don’t remember…either way it does help provide a path for folks like myself. Most of my time was on a vessel 3,999 HP. So my Assistant Engineer limited ticket is good for 5000 HP by calculation.
My options to remove the limitation would be sail on my DDE or Assistant limited license on a vessel over 4000 hp for a year so when I do my next upgrade I can have unlimited HP issued.


I would think that should be 6,000 HP. (150% rounded up.)

Six months in the “highest grade endorsed”.

46 CFR 11.503
© The following service on vessels of 4,000 HP/3,000 kW or more will be considered qualifying for raising or removing the propulsion power limitations placed on an engineer endorsement:

(1) Six months of service in the highest-grade endorsed: Removal of all propulsion power limitations.


When I said a year I am assuming I would be doing at minimum an equal time rotation, not factoring in 1.5 days per day…for planning purposes.

Me too. That was a battle I decided to not fight with my evaluator, considering how long it took to get approved for what I got.


When I got my DDE unlimited, they also gave me assistant engineer 1600 grt, also had a 5000 hp restriction on it, never used it, only the DDE unlimited.