200 Ton Oceans Limitations

I was at a school the other day taking a class and asked whether I should go for 200 ton oceans or 500 ton oceans, the lady at the school said one of the limitations of the 200 ton oceans was that it was only for domestic, us port to us port operations. That I couldn’t use it for travel to international locations even with stcw. So beyond 200 miles it would have to be us to us… like LA to Hawaii would be ok, but LA to Costa Rica wouldn’t?

Anyone hear this and can point me to cfr so I know for a fact?


A Near Coastal license is valid to 200 miles out. Beyond that, it’s International waters and you need Oceans. US to US or to a foreign country has nothing to do with it.

So there is no limitation on the 200 ton oceans as far as destination port? I can travel the world as long as it’s under 200 tons. If this is correct, I need to call the school to keep them from giving false info.

I believe that’s correct but some things have changed since I quit sailing. In any case, don’t take advice from strangers on a website as reliable. Check with NMC.

I do remember hearing that the oceans test module for a 200 grt is different than for 500 grt and bigger…

I’d go straight to the NMC with this one. Like leeshore suggests. I personally learned the hard way not to take whatever the ‘credited’ school says as gospel.

I think technically international waters are outside the boundary lines listed in the CFRs. Holding STCW requirements allow us to sail past the boundary lines.
Near coastal is 200 miles out past the boundary lines. However, for example, if you have an island 60 miles offshore from the US or another country that acknowledges STCW, that would in theory allow you to be 260 from the beach.

LA as in Los Angeles or Louisiana? Either way a trip to Hawaii would involve having an oceans ticket any which way. Los Angeles to Costa Rica I can’t imagine being too far off the beach. Louisiana to Costa Rica most likely. I don’t think the destination has anything to do with it, only the mileage off the coast and/or possessions of the mainland.
I’m sure someone will chime in to correct us since this subject is always debatable…this is a good @jdcavo question. We’ve had oceans ticket discussions but not in particular how it applies for a 200 grt license.

My understanding is that as far as the USCG is concerned, a USCG Near Coastal license is only valid within 200 miles of the coast of the US. STCW takes the same position, valid with 200 miles of home country.

But some countries appear to be lax on enforcement of this in their waters.

The USCG needs to do a lot better job of communicating to owners and mariners what licenses are required for what vessels and voyages, and what mariners are authorized to do by their licenses. This should not be such a mystery.

I have had owners tell me that my license will not cover their vessel and operations when it appears clear to me that it does. And I have had owners tell me that my license does cover their vessel and operations when it seems clear to me that it doesn’t.

The USCG needs to clarify this.

The proliferation of both national and domestic endorsements with conflicting GRT and GT tonnage limits has everyone confused, including me. Add to that confusion dual tonnage vessels with both GRT and GT tonnage admeasurements.

This is only partially correct. However countries can enter into mutual agreements to accept each other’s near coastal certificates in each other’s waters.

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Yes. That would appear to be the case, and longstanding practice, for US and Canadian tugs in each others waters.

As I understand it, somewhat similar provisions exist for Mexico, Bahamas, and the Caribbean.

I can attest to the fact that I used to make runs from Miami to the Bahamas on a live aboard dive boat with a 100GT near coastal license without a peep from the CG. Same with runs to Mexico from Los Angeles.This was in the early days of STCW and from reading comments on this site I know that things have become more complicated.

Neither one is good outside US waters without the appropriate STCW officer endorsement.

Both are good world wide with the appropriate STCW officer endorsement.

Yes, I will have my master’s stcw done at end of month, but need my oceans endorsement and need to upgrade to get it. Currently hold near coastal, and limited to 200 miles. Can’t do Europe yet :wink: had to get STCW for Cuba, Bahamas, Bvi and Mexico charters, my current routes, but expanding in 2019. Im sure things will change by then … again…

The mutual agreement I was referring to is one under STCW Regulation I/3, the Memorandum of Understanding with Transport Canada is different, it applies to each country’s domestic credentials (not STCW). It provides that if a mariner’s credentials are adequate to operate in their own country, they will be accepted in the other. So this is essentially an agreement that STCW is not required to operate between Canada and the United States.

I am not aware of agreements with Mexico, the Bahamas, or another Caribbean country, either analogous to the MOU with Canada, or an agreement under STCW Regulation I/3. I am less certain about whether there are STCW I/3 agreements, although I am fairly certain we do not have any I/3 agreements with Mexico or the BVI.