1600 ton master vs unlimited ton

Hi, I’m a senior in HS and plan on going to Maine maritime academy. They offer a 4 year unlimited ton program or a 4 year small vessel operations progam that supplies you with a 1600 ton masters license. I’m leaning towards the SVO because I’m more interested in running tugs or private boats due to it being more hands on that large container ships. I’m looking for opinions because I don’t want to kick myself later for not getting my master unlimited license. Thanks Andrew

[QUOTE=White76;149529]Hi, I’m a senior in HS and plan on going to Maine maritime academy. They offer a 4 year unlimited ton program or a 4 year small vessel operations progam that supplies you with a 1600 ton masters license. I’m leaning towards the SVO because I’m more interested in running tugs or private boats due to it being more hands on that large container ships. I’m looking for opinions because I don’t want to kick myself later for not getting my unlimited license. Thanks Andrew[/QUOTE]

The program leads to a license as [B]MATE [/B]500 GRT or 1600 GRT, not Master.

Anything you can do with a Mate 500 or Mate 1600 license you can do with a 3rd Mate unlimited license, but the reverse is not true. Both programs take the same MMA courses, and the same Coast Guard license exam.

Andrew,

Back when I was your age I to had the chance to go Maine but at that point they did not have any type of Limited License Program so opted for just going to work and work my way up.

Times have really changed and having the Degree plus the Unlimited License are more important now a days. Now you might come out and find yourself working in the same position (AB) that you would have if you had gone for the Limited License but later you might / will have more options available to you.

So, bite the bullet and go for the Four Years.

It really depends. Very rarely have I regretted doing the SVO program. The opportunities the unlimited program provided that the SVO didn’t have never appealed to me. It really depends on what your passion is and the type of lifestyle you want in college.

Either way, you will have a bachelors of science degree. That itself is worth far more than most people on here mention. What kind of boating/marine experience do you have, and where are you located? That info can help guide you too.

If I had done anything differently it would have to gone to school for mechanical engineering, not an unlimited license.

[QUOTE=White76;149529]Hi, I’m a senior in HS and plan on going to Maine maritime academy. They offer a 4 year unlimited ton program or a 4 year small vessel operations progam that supplies you with a 1600 ton masters license. I’m leaning towards the SVO because I’m more interested in running tugs or private boats due to it being more hands on that large container ships. I’m looking for opinions because I don’t want to kick myself later for not getting my unlimited license. Thanks Andrew[/QUOTE]

Unlimited is great, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I read threads on here like the one going on right now about foreign-flagged trampers and I wish I had an unlimited license and could do cool jobs like that. However, in reality, as an American merchant seaman, unlimited sailors are fast becoming the steam engines of the maritime industry: they’re really cool, but they’re still an anachronism. I’m going to catch a lot of shit for saying that, so before I do let me just make the point that in no way is it my intention to belittle the hard work and capabilities of unlimited-licensed mariners. The simple facts of the matter are that there are only 200 (or less!) unlimited tonnage ships left under the American register, foreign jobs are rare and don’t pay as much, but there are still SIX THOUSAND TUGBOATS left in the United States, PLUS who-the-hell-knows-how-many OSV’s and various other workboats. The workboat industry is BOOMING while unlimited tonnage shipping is slowly, painfully, and shamefully petering out… It’s not a state of affairs with which I am pleased, but it’s the world in which we live whether we like it or not.

So if you want to know whether to go MTO or VOT at MMA, for my two-cents I’d say that the best damn deal around is spending 4 years (NOT IN THE REGIMENT!), get a 1600-ton mate, a towing endorsement, your full STCW’s, AND excellent damn job opportunities when you graduate. You know how many unlimited-tonnage companies come to the MMA job fair every year? Maybe 3, no more than 5 on a good year. You know how many work-boat companies come to the MMA job fair every year? LITERALLY DOZENS. I would never, ever look down on anyone for wanting an unlimited license, especially since I want one too sometimes, but if it were my choice to make, I wouldn’t waste my time and money in the regiment when I could have more job opportunities for a lot less work.

Whatever it is you decide to do, I want to welcome you to the family, and I wish you the best of luck!

LISTEN TO ME. GET YOUR U/L LICENSE!! You can do much much more with it.

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Thanks for the knowledge! I do have background on the ocean since a young age and i am located in western mass but we keep our two boats in RI. In the long run i would like to run private sport fisherman’s or tug boats. I like the SVO program at MMA due to it being a little more hands on than MTO and also has more off a engineering portion.

[QUOTE=Bayrunner;149545]LISTEN TO ME. GET YOUR U/L LICENSE!! You can do much much more with it.[/QUOTE]

You still can’t deny that those jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate for American sailors

[QUOTE=PaddyWest2012;149542]Unlimited is great, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I read threads on here like the one going on right now about foreign-flagged trampers and I wish I had an unlimited license and could do cool jobs like that. However, in reality, as an American merchant seaman, unlimited sailors are fast becoming the steam engines of the maritime industry: they’re really cool, but they’re still an anachronism. I’m going to catch a lot of shit for saying that, so before I do let me just make the point that in no way is it my intention to belittle the hard work and capabilities of unlimited-licensed mariners. The simple facts of the matter are that there are only 200 (or less!) unlimited tonnage ships left under the American register, foreign jobs are rare and don’t pay as much, but there are still SIX THOUSAND TUGBOATS left in the United States, PLUS who-the-hell-knows-how-many OSV’s and various other workboats. The workboat industry is BOOMING while unlimited tonnage shipping is slowly, painfully, and shamefully petering out… It’s not a state of affairs with which I am pleased, but it’s the world in which we live whether we like it or not.

So if you want to know whether to go MTO or VOT at MMA, for my two-cents I’d say that the best damn deal around is spending 4 years (NOT IN THE REGIMENT!), get a 1600-ton mate, a towing endorsement, your full STCW’s, AND excellent damn job opportunities when you graduate. You know how many unlimited-tonnage companies come to the MMA job fair every year? Maybe 3, no more than 5 on a good year. You know how many work-boat companies come to the MMA job fair every year? LITERALLY DOZENS. I would never, ever look down on anyone for wanting an unlimited license, especially since I want one too sometimes, but if it were my choice to make, I wouldn’t waste my time and money in the regiment when I could have more job opportunities for a lot less work.

Whatever it is you decide to do, I want to welcome you to the family, and I wish you the best of luck![/QUOTE]

I wouldn’t say they have less job opportunities than a limited license. I do feel the time spent working co-ops is much better than on a training ship though. The networking advantages may be better for SVO whatever it is than unlimited out of school. I don’t think one’s better than the other in any one way but unlimited provides more opportunities as far as licensing goes, but usually that costs a premium in other depts, like hands on experience etc.

to derail the thread, I hope to step up to the ship’s bridge of some blowhard regiment prick someday and provide some slick pilotage though.

They are. But a guy with a U/L license has more potential shore side opportunities if/when they decide to go ashore. Plus they can still do the smaller boats if there are more jobs there.

Go the unlimited route. It will give you more options. However I would encourage you not to work yourself into a corner. Get experience on a variety of vessels limited and unlimited to make yourself a more marketable mariner. My 0.02

[QUOTE=Bayrunner;149558]They are. But a guy with a U/L license has more potential shore side opportunities if/when they decide to go ashore. Plus they can still do the smaller boats if there are more jobs there.[/QUOTE]

More shoreside opportunities for an unlimited license? If it’s the degree you’re referring to, you can do that with a 500/1600 as well (both are a Bachelor of Science).

to our original poster I will just say that in the US there are likely ten limited tonnage vessels and jobs to every unlimited one…you have to decide if the extra time and expense at the school will pay off for you in the long run especially if you don’t plan to sail deepsea.

Of course, you can always upgrade from 1600/3000 master to 3rd mate UL in the future or be one of those who are going to be able to take a 6000grt large OSV endorsement right to UL master (I still don’t see who in HELL the USCG is going to do this but I guess they are)

also, academy degrees don’t get SHIT for a deck officer unless you plan to return to school to get an MBA or law degree…if that is your plan then you should go for the degree but if it isn’t then forget that nonsense…driving boats requires no BS degree!

[QUOTE=c.captain;149570]to our original poster I will just say that in the US there are likely ten limited tonnage vessels and jobs to every unlimited one…you have to decide if the extra time and expense at the school will pay off for you in the long run especially if you don’t plan to sail deepsea.

Of course, you can always upgrade from 1600/3000 master to 3rd mate UL in the future or be one of those who are going to be able to take a 6000grt large OSV endorsement right to UL master (I still don’t see who in HELL the USCG is going to do this but I guess they are)

also, academy degrees don’t get SHIT for a deck officer unless you plan to return to school to get an MBA or law degree…if that is your plan then you should go for the degree but if it isn’t then forget that nonsense…driving boats requires no BS degree![/QUOTE]

1600/3000 to 3/M U/L is a road fraught with peril and pitfalls. I have yet to find a really sensible way to do it. Even the ATB loophole is even smaller than it was before!

I constantly regret doing SVO instead of MTO. If you are going to do 4 years in school get the biggest license you can! Try to take Workboat Operations as an elective (and possibly small craft technology if you can, good diesel engine experience) and if you think you want to work on tugs definitely take Tug and Barge to get your TOAR signed off.

On another note, I recommend to all deck cadets I meet in the oilfield to sail with MSC or on a break bulk ship for a while (3-4 years). You get to see the world and experience real deep sea shipping, then get stuck on tugs, OSVs, or drill ships after you travel some. You also get great sea time for upgrading doing that.

And yes, there are some shore side jobs that require unlimited licenses, a 1,600 ton master won’t cut it. (Some of those jobs require experience on unlimited ships as well though.)

I would suggest getting the unlimited license, even tug companies are starting to require ul licenses in the wheelhouse. They way Capt Phoenix suggest is very practical in the current market. I went to MMA, got my ul and work on tugs. They don’t teach you everything but it makes a great foundation as the tug world and ship world slowly come together.

[QUOTE=c.captain;149570]…you have to decide if the extra time and expense at the school will pay off for you in the long run especially if you don’t plan to sail deepsea. [/QUOTE]

There is no extra time and expense. They are both 4 years and take the same courses. Tuition, etc. should be close to the same. The major difference is 3rd Mate is cadet regiment and Mate 500/1600 isn’t.

[QUOTE=White76;149529]Hi, I’m a senior in HS and plan on going to Maine maritime academy. They offer a 4 year unlimited ton program or a 4 year small vessel operations progam that supplies you with a 1600 ton masters license. I’m leaning towards the SVO because I’m more interested in running tugs or private boats due to it being more hands on that large container ships. I’m looking for opinions because I don’t want to kick myself later for not getting my unlimited license. Thanks Andrew[/QUOTE]

This is a no brainer. Go unlimited or just stay home. As a long time Master 1600, I can tell you that its a very limiting license

[QUOTE=jdcavo;149591]There is no extra time and expense. They are both 4 years and take the same courses. Tuition, etc. should be close to the same. The major difference is 3rd Mate is cadet regiment and Mate 500/1600 isn’t.[/QUOTE]

if that is the case then yes, the UL track is the best but I thought the limited program was shorter in duration

[QUOTE=c.captain;149598]if that is the case then yes, the UL track is the best but I thought the limited program was shorter in duration[/QUOTE]

Not at Maine Maritime. The SVO program is two years for a 200 ton near coastal mate and four years for a 500 ton ocean or 1600 ton near coastal mate.

SUNY has a two year Associates degree with 1600 ton mate option and the PMI Workboat Academy is roughly two years. I’m not entirely opposed to those options, but if you’re doing four years for a Bachelor’s degree anyway, you might as well get the more useful degree (I expect MTO would be more useful shore side than SVO but can’t guarantee that) and the far more useful license while you’re there.