2 years for a 200t vs 4 years for 500+ towing endorsement, is it quicker to start working after two years?

Title. If I graduate after 2 years with a 200t and start working in tugs immediately, will it be faster to get in a training program or likewise, or is it advisable to stay another 2 years in school for a towing endorsement?

Slow down man. Information over load

Okay, let’s say I’m at a maritime academy.
In two years I can get a 200ton license.
Thereafter I can start working on a tug, which is what I want to do. I’ve heard many companies offer free training to work your way up to a towing endorsement and ultimately a mate positions.
Or: I can stay four years, and graduate with a 500t with a towing endorsement. But that’s another two years I could have been already working.
Thus my question: pros and cons of each path?

What maritime gets you a 500t after 4 years?

I think Schuyler’s 2 year program gets you a 1600t.

Maine maritime,
It’s either 1600 or 500, although another program gets you an unlimited
What’s Schuyler’s?

If you’re going to spend 4 years at a Maritime academy you should get the biggest license they have.

If you only want to spend 2 years, find the school that gets you the biggest license in 2 years.

You will get a bigger license faster by going to an academy then trying to get a small license and work your way up.

If it was me and we are talking 4 year programs and has nothing not even a MMD book and had to start over this is what i would do.

Go take the 100T master at MPT. $800 11 days. Then take the 5 day upgrade class for $700 and get 100T master and 200T mate in my book. I say this because I am sure tugs hire OS all the time or just go to some dredge company and get your sea time with them as you don’t even need a MMD book and you will be making ok money.

If we are talking 4 year programs I would join the navy a fuck ton of sea time and come out with the G.I bill and as you gain sea time for your license say after 1 year take the 100T and 200T get that in your book 9 months mater the 200T upgrades it self to a 200T master then you can just spend your free time looking over the 500T mate exam.

Company say a lot of bull shit these days what is true to day may not be true when you have your license. Up to you. I would not be spending that kind of money for such a low license. I mean hell do 180 days upgrade to AB and get a good job making real money and start knocking out those classes on your own.

Okay, thanks, what’s an MMD and OS?
Let’s say I get out in two years with a 200t mates, what’s the path to getting a towing endorsement and upgrading to a 500 if needed? If I get a job with a tug immediately, can I have a towing endorsement within two years? What are the requirements?

What’s the timeline in this scenario from Day 1 of boot camp to a 500T? Like 6 years? If you get the right job in the navy to gain the “fuck ton” of seatime?

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This whole thing sounds like a SIU apprentice who (while still in the apprentice program) told me that he’d be a Captain in 7 years or something soley based on how long it took on paper to get from one license to another.

Nothing really ever happens like you plan it. So factor that into your timeline.

I see what you are saying 10 week boot camp and A school before you land your boat. i would say a year. But as long as you are on the boat live on it you get sea time. AND if you keep track of your days you get more then 60% well if they work 8 hour days you get you get 1 for 1 so it would be 1 year on the boat. I did 3 years in the navy from that is from boot camp to getting out and i got 680 days. But i was only given 60% credit you get 1 for 1 or close to it IF you submit your time while you are in. Not all rates give sea time i know OS/QM/BM do. A much better option if you are talking about 4 years.

But yes the fastest would be to just start out on deck on some tug and 1 year later have the time he needs but these extra classes can be expensive as hell as well so realistically i see it being about the same but who knows. I am not an expert in tugs or tug paths.

And possibly (likely?) a mate of towing endorsement.

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That is in no way the fastest route to mate towing vessels, not even close. That’s not how long it takes to hawsepipe to Mate Towing. You need 18 mos on deck to apprentice mate then one more year to mate TV. Or you can go on deck to mate 500 in 2 years and get mate towing if some of the time was on towing vessels. Either way 4 years or more when you consider time off And the academy route gets you STCW which you will probably need to work offshore. And you get a college degree which might be beneficial later on.

Let me attempt to cut through all this bullshit.

If you can, transfer to the MMA unlimited 3rd Mate program. The regiment may suck, but don’t be a whuss, just suck it up and do it like big boy. It’s no big deal.

In 3 more years you’ll be a 3rd Mate unlimited with a BS in Nautical Science from Maine Maritime Academy’s well respected flagship program. The world is your oyster.

If you want to work on tugs there will be plenty of opportunities to do so whether you have Mate of Towing or not.

It only takes an unlimited 3rd Mate 20 (12 hour) days of tugboat time and a one day TOAR simulator course to get Mate of Towing. If you are a 3rd Mate, it ridiculously easy to get Towing.

You can do 3rd Mate at the academy and get your tug seatime and TOAR course in 4 years.

Think long term. Unlimited 3rd Mate is the best long term approach, by far.

If you go the limited license route, you’ll be a second class citizen for life form the point of view of every unlimited license grad and most employers. You’ll constantly be fighting the USCG to upgrade.

Today, a two year degree is just uncomfortable and ineffective toilet paper that smears stuff around. Tomorrow it will be even less. Don’t waste your time on a two year degree. Think long term.

The four year MMA Mate 1600 with Mate of Towing program is a decent program that produces a good product. It will provide many good tugboat opportunities. Nonetheless, it will always be the poor red headed step-child of the Unlimited program.

The only reason anyone does this four year limited license program is to avoid the regiment. The regiment is of little practical value, but a lot of people, especially older alumni who are hiring, think it’s the greatest thing ever.

Just do the regiment and get the MMA 3rd Mate unlimited.

In the current market you could quit school and hawes pipe at twice as much money as you are worth. But that is short term thinking. You’ll probably regret it during the next downturn.

Just my two cents.


Like I said.

But you said it better.

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Tugsailor provided great advice and insight. I’d listen to him.

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Do not even bother with any 200 ton program. There are no boats to run that are 200 tons. Having that license is not directly applicable to the tug and towing industry. There is a back door path to mate of towing but it usually takes longer.

The best bang for your buck is the SUNY two year program which “can” get you mate 1600 tons, possibly a towing endorsement and possibly a tankerman endorsement depending on how motivated you are.

Don’t think that you will take your diploma and license and walk into the wheel house of a tug. Getting a license is just the start of your training.

If you are not a dumbass like me, go engineer. SUNY has a 2 year licensed engineer program that is sweet.

I thought most tugs were under 200? If it’s simple enough to get a towing endorsement when I already have a 200t, I think it’d be better to spend two years on tugs instead of in school. Also I’d like to spend some time developing other skills with my time off, like learning a trade, don’t think I can really do that in school.

The license required to steer a tug is called Master of Towing vessels or mate of towing vessels It is usually issued without regard to tonnage.

You can also steer a tug if you have a license greater than 200 GRT, a TOAR and 30 days education and training on the appropriate route.

Notice that it does not say 200 tons OR greater. So it means that you need a 500 ton license.

So having a 200 ton license doesn’t get you anywhere.

Tugsailor’s advice is spot on.

If you can, suck it up and stick through the 3rd mate program at MMA and you can come out with your towing endorsement with their tug/barge class.
Some companies even though they run limited tonnage vessels think the 200t, 500t/1600t guys are unable to tie their own shoes. For example, Kirby with their sub 500t ATB’s will not hire any limited license graduates and only look for 3rd mates.

For long term career stability and growth, for now at least, the third mate program is superior. If you don’t like marching, the 500t/1600t degree will give you a bachelors and a 100t master NC as well as a towing endorsement if you want it.