200 tons and a TOAR?

I just had arguments with three Mariners over this. Including two guys from my own company. One guy was even told he would be hired (to steer a tug) if he showed a 200 ton license and a TOAR.

Is this just poor reading comprehension, the choice of wording in the CFRs?

the two guys in my company conspired to have a certain tanker man (ordinary) sit in a 200 ton class then get his TOAR signed by our DE so he could steer our tug.

my question is: are these isolated incidents or is there enough confusion out there that this is going on in practice?

i know there is an exemption for Mariners that started their training prior to 2001 but that does not apply to any of these guys.

If you have never worked on a tug or sailed in the waters we transit the only thing you are steering it the eggs in the bowl in the galley. How some people can trust guys with at the wheel with no proven expirence is why we have new regulations every year in my book.

I always read it that you needed a license >200 tons to steer with a toar. But people also argue otherwise.

…here we go… For 200-Ton guys.

(e) If you hold any endorsement as a master of steam or motor vessels of any tonnage that is 200 GRT or less, except for the limited masters endorsements specified in 46 CFR 11.429 and 11.456, then you may obtain an endorsement as mate (pilot) of towing vessels by meeting the following requirements:
(1) Providing proof of 36 months of service as a master under the authority of an endorsement described in paragraph (e) of this section;
(2) Successfully completing the appropriate TOAR;
(3) Successfully completing the appropriate apprentice mate exam; and
(4) Having a minimum of 30 days of training and observation on towing vessels for the route being assessed, except as noted in paragraph (b) of this section.

I agree, the bar should be set high for those getting a Master of Tow or Mate of Tow. However…
I don’t say this just because I am a 200 ton getting my ass kicked trying to upgrade, but the fact that when you hold a license greater than 200 tons the process becomes much easier doesn’t entirely make sense to me. To me it seems like the USCG assumes more competency with the bigger license.

With a 200 GRT ticket: 12 months’ sea time as Apprentice Mate of Towing (steersman) + TOAR = Mate of Towing. 12 months with Mate of Towing = Master of Towing.

[QUOTE=Mullet Farm;150310]With a 200 GRT ticket: 12 months’ sea time as Apprentice Mate of Towing (steersman) + TOAR = Mate of Towing. 12 months with Mate of Towing = Master of Towing.[/QUOTE]

And that is how it ought to be. It should be the same for Master 500. Cut that to 90 + 90 for Master 1600 and up.

By far, the fastest, but NOT the best, route to Master of Towing is to get Master 500 first + 30 days observer time + TOAR. That is ridiculously inadequate training for towing.

Yes, and I’m amazed how many deckhands refuse to take the advice and do it that way to streamline the process as far as paperwork goes. Company won’t let them steer with wet ink but why go through a more nuisance process with apprentice Etc; oh wait, cheapskates.

Just because you have a 500 ton master and a TOAR doesnt mean that oil companies are going to stick you alone in the wheelhouse on your own watch transiting the east river with a loaded barge. The TOAR is a means to an end and its designed to show some kind of competency or at least force the mariner to have any idea of how things work from a wheelhouse standpoint. Most companies have the person stand a 2nd mates watch or training mates watch for a few years before they are really cut loose. Of course there are always exceptions to this but overall responsible companies dont cut 24 year old guys loose because they have the proper paperwork.

yes and the vetting folks wouldn’t let it happen either! Usually you’re looking at multiple senior Capts giving a guy the nod before being turned loose, not just one guys opinion.

I honestly sympathize with some of the younger people trying to get the TOAR signed off these days for the very reason you mentioned above. Some captains think by signing off the TOAR they are approving that person to stand a watch right away. The DE is under the impression the person should be able to round up on a barge with the same proficiency as a person who has done it 30 years. The vetting system and company policies are a system of checks and balances that make sure experienced people are behind the wheel. Not the TOAR. Like i mentioned there will always be exceptions to this but i can see the frustration of people not only trying to meet the NMC requirements by getting the TOAR signed but also having to be at the mercy of DE’s that may or may not understand the big picture of the licensing process and the constant changes and requirements being created for the mariner coming up.

And for every big company towing massive oil barges, there are 50 little companies with one or two boats.

Some of those little companies will hire anyone with a license that will work cheap to be a mate. They tell the captain that he’ll just have to train him. How fussy about skills can a piss-pot tug company be when they only pay a captain $375 a day.

Most of can know of a large tug company that pays low union wages for “sea bouy mates” with very limited towing experience and skills. That company requires a lot of paper, but minimal actual skills.

Yea i know what youre saying about the small mom and pop companies. Like i said there will be exceptions.

Absolutely. But I find it nearly impossible that you’d find a mate with limited experience steering an oil barge in pilotage waters; thats just oil barges though. There are tons of hacks out there behind the wheel that shouldn’t be, and in some cases, those who have fooled the office people and captains into letting them steer an oil barge.

Looked this up, marine safety manual…pretty cut and dry, i think.

G. Master And Mate (Pilot) Of Towing Vessels (see 46 CFR 15.805(a)(5) and 15.810(d)).
Title 46 CFR 15.610(a) requires that every towing vessel of at least 8 meters (at least 26 feet)
in length, measured from end to end over the deck (excluding sheer), must be under the
direction and control of [B]a person holding a license or MMC officer endorsement as master or
mate (pilot) of towing vessels or as master or mate of vessels of [U]greater than 200 GRT [/U]holding[/B]
either -

  1. An endorsement on his or her license or MMC for towing vessels: or
  2. a completed Towing Officer’s Assessment Record (TOAR) signed by a U.S. Coast Guard
    approved designated examiner indicating that the officer is proficient in the operation of
    towing vessels.

Most old timers say the best way to learn is by doing the job and shitting your pants. Im not saying i agree with this but i hear it all the time. I guess the small companies are where people go to get experience and have some stressful moments. Why would someone with a big license and master of tow go work for 375$ ?

[QUOTE=acesouthcoast;150336]Most old timers say the best way to learn is by doing the job and shitting your pants. Im not saying i agree with this but i hear it all the time. I guess the small companies are where people go to get experience and have some stressful moments. Why would someone with a big license and master of tow go work for 375$ ?[/QUOTE]

I don’t know how those $375 a day companies find anyone that will work for that. Those types of low pay jobs tend to be in areas where there are a lot of ignorant people and not many other good jobs.

Some people get a bad rap and can’t work anywhere else. I can think of a few I know.

Interesting thread… I have been looking into the different routes to Mate of Towing vessels and eventually a 1600 Master. I’m currently sailing as AB on a tug. I have a 500 GRT master inland and a 200 GRT master NC. So if I complete an Inland TOAR I should be able to get Master of TV Inland, and then request Mate of Towing Near Coastal. Right? But I would be limited to sailing as mate on tugs less than 200 GRT on near coastal routes. Am I correct?

[QUOTE=fishyluke;150360]Interesting thread… I have been looking into the different routes to Mate of Towing vessels and eventually a 1600 Master. I’m currently sailing as AB on a tug. I have a 500 GRT master inland and a 200 GRT master NC. So if I complete an Inland TOAR I should be able to get Master of TV Inland, and then request Mate of Towing Near Coastal. Right? But I would be limited to sailing as mate on tugs less than 200 GRT on near coastal routes. Am I correct?[/QUOTE]

Yes, with the exception of inland, (I’m pretty sure) mate/master of towing is limited to less than 200 GRT. So if you wanted to run a 250-ton tug near coastal you would need a 500-ton license with an appropriate NC TOAR and any days on the route for familiarity. I’m pretty sure about this but not %100, I know the 200-ton number comes into play on “seagoing” vessels from the old "Officers’ Competency Certificates Convention, 1936, 46 U.S.C. 8304, which requires vessels of 200 gross tons or more on the high seas (seaward of the Boundary Line) be manned by licensed masters and mates."
AND,

If you hold an endorsement as master of towing vessels you may have an endorsement-as mate (pilot) of towing vessels for a route superior to your current route on which you have no operating experience—placed on your MMC after passing an examination for that additional route. After you complete 90 days of experience and complete a Towing Officer’s Assessment Record on that route, we will add it to your endorsement as master of towing vessels and remove the one for mate (pilot) of towing vessels.

So you’d need 90 days of experience/toar on that route.

Thanks for the info Z-Drive… I have sea time now for a 500 NC/oceans Mate license but not enough for a Master. Would it be worthwhile to sit for that license? That would work for sailing Mate on tugs >200GRT with the Mate of Towing endorsement, right? My company has a few ATBs over 200 GRT, and I would like to be qualified to train on those as well as the conventional boats.

I think it all depends how many days more you need to qualify for master. Too see what makes sense as well as any grandfathering implications, if that's even still at play. Time/money/effort it's way easier to go to 500 master if the "old" rules apply.

Also look at checklist for 500 master, there was or is a provision for Mate of towing time qualifying you.