Working on getting an AB Special, Trying for some STCW


#1

Greetings,

First off, this forum is of course a delight and a wealth of knowledge. Thanks so much to all the frequent posters I see over and over again in my search results. Having never before posted a thank you or a question I want to put that out there before getting into my first post. Thanks again.

So, I’ve been working on deck in SF bay for the last few years. I have around 400 documented sea days from that time. My work has been mostly passenger vessels, but I’ve spend some time on crew launches, and conventional/tractor tugs, also did a month of set-netting up in AK a few years ago. All inland work, aside from the occasional foray past the demarcation line (like, maybe 5 times). Pretty much all under 100 tons, except for those few tug jobs (like say, 10 days).

During this last wintertime slow down I started taking classes and filling out the paperwork to try for a license and an AB rating. The CG should be sending me a 100 ton inland license any day now. According to their online status checker, its in the final review stage.

Just today I went in to the Oakland REC to turn in my paperwork for an AB Special. Among other things, I turned in completion certificates for Lifeboatman/PSC and BST.

I have a few questions. I feel like I should have had these answered months ago, but for some reason I am stumbling upon them now.

  1. I have (just now) seen reference to a 65 ft vessel requirement for sea time towards an AB special. Around half on my sea time (180 days) is on vessels over 65’ and the other half is on a 56’ vessel (200 days). Does this mean I don’t qualify for an AB Special? Shoot.

  2. Regarding the above question, some of the references to the 65 ft requirement contain an asterix indicating that this requirement may be interpreted differently at different RECs. Now that things have been standardized in WV, does anyone know the current official/working interpretation?

  3. Looking at the requirements, I won’t have the appropriate type of sea time to qualify for RFPNW. Is it possible to turn my BST and PSC completion certificates into a STCW without the RFPNW?

  4. I’m worried about converting them to an STCW, because I was told that as course certificates they are only good for 1 year from the date of issuance. Is this true? (I’m pretty sure it is). Any way to work around this?

  5. Although I don’t have the appropriate sea time for RFPNW, I have found a qualifying ship/master that is willing to go through the 21 assessments with me. Is there any benefit to doing this now, w/o a clear vision of how I will acquire the sea time required for RFPNW(180 days - 90 over 200 tons, 90 over 100 tons)?

Phew!

I’m doing my best to ask clear questions and give y’all enough background to know how to answer them. I hope I’ve done a good job and I appreciate whoever answers taking the time to read through all this.

Thanks.


#2

[quote=Sf_deckhand;12420]Greetings,

First off, this forum is of course a delight and a wealth of knowledge. Thanks so much to all the frequent posters I see over and over again in my search results. Having never before posted a thank you or a question I want to put that out there before getting into my first post. Thanks again.

So, I’ve been working on deck in SF bay for the last few years. I have around 400 documented sea days from that time. My work has been mostly passenger vessels, but I’ve spend some time on crew launches, and conventional/tractor tugs, also did a month of set-netting up in AK a few years ago. All inland work, aside from the occasional foray past the demarcation line (like, maybe 5 times). Pretty much all under 100 tons, except for those few tug jobs (like say, 10 days).

During this last wintertime slow down I started taking classes and filling out the paperwork to try for a license and an AB rating. The CG should be sending me a 100 ton inland license any day now. According to their online status checker, its in the final review stage.

Just today I went in to the Oakland REC to turn in my paperwork for an AB Special. Among other things, I turned in completion certificates for Lifeboatman/PSC and BST.

I have a few questions. I feel like I should have had these answered months ago, but for some reason I am stumbling upon them now.

  1. I have (just now) seen reference to a 65 ft vessel requirement for sea time towards an AB special. Around half on my sea time (180 days) is on vessels over 65’ and the other half is on a 56’ vessel (200 days). Does this mean I don’t qualify for an AB Special? Shoot.

  2. Regarding the above question, some of the references to the 65 ft requirement contain an asterix indicating that this requirement may be interpreted differently at different RECs. Now that things have been standardized in WV, does anyone know the current official/working interpretation?

  3. Looking at the requirements, I won’t have the appropriate type of sea time to qualify for RFPNW. Is it possible to turn my BST and PSC completion certificates into a STCW without the RFPNW?

  4. I’m worried about converting them to an STCW, because I was told that as course certificates they are only good for 1 year from the date of issuance. Is this true? (I’m pretty sure it is). Any way to work around this?

[B][I]You should get your BST and PSC into the NMC before the certs expire…You will then get a STCW endorsement, that will list your new license ,(100 ton) inland any waivers that you may have, and also PSC will be listed…[/I][/B]

  1. Although I don’t have the appropriate sea time for RFPNW, I have found a qualifying ship/master that is willing to go through the 21 assessments with me. Is there any benefit to doing this now, w/o a clear vision of how I will acquire the sea time required for RFPNW(180 days - 90 over 200 tons, 90 over 100 tons)?

[B][I]If it were me, I would get whatever I could, signed off…Not everyone is anxious to sign this crap off for us…[/I][/B]

[B][I]The assesments are supposed to be done aboard a vessel that is underway and if memory serves they need to be done on vessels over 100 tons and the helm assesments needed to be done on vessels over 200 tons…it’s all in A-11/4 of the STCW code…[/I][/B]

Phew!

I’m doing my best to ask clear questions and give y’all enough background to know how to answer them. I hope I’ve done a good job and I appreciate whoever answers taking the time to read through all this.

Thanks.[/quote]

[B]Welcome aboard SF , keep after it, your headed in the right direction…[/B]


#3

Hey shellback,

Thanks for the quick reply. Your answers make sense and I appreciate them.

As to the other question, that of the 65 ft requirement for AB-Special sea time, I looked up the CFR in question, and I also looked up the relevant passage in the MSM (which I just learned about on here the other day, thx).

Neither of them discuss a 65 ft requirement for the AB-Special. The only place it is mentioned in the MSM is for the AB-MOU (Mobile Offshore Unit) sea service requirement. Perhaps people have confused this…

Anyhow, if anyone knows any more about this, or can confirm my research, I’d love to hear from them.

If the 65 ft requirement is not really a requirement then the following places have it wrong and are responsibly (partially) for making me really uncomfortable for a few hours today:

Zenith Maritime Seattle
Military Sealift Command

well okay so I thought there were more than that, but still…

Thanks again.


#4

Your proficiency in survival craft will get you the STCW without the RFPNW. You just won’t be able to stand a watch in the wheelhouse until you have your RFPNW


#5

Thanks for the quick replies. I guess deep down I knew the answer to the question as to whether I could get the STCW w/o the RFPNW, but I let the gentleman at the REC confuse me.

Thanks for reassuring me that I had it right to begin with. I feel greatly relieved.

As far as the other part of my post, the 65 ft vessel requirement for AB-Special doesn’t seem to be real. After posting my question, I looked up the relevant CFRs and in the MSM and the only place they mention a 65 ft requirement is for the AB-Mobile Offshore Unit.

I was being confused by some incorrect text found via google search. The websites for Zenith Maritime Seattle and Military Sealift Command have the AB-Special listed as requiring 65 ft seatime.

Anyhow. Thanks again.

Solidarity