50 Ton master to 3rd Mate Unlimited

My 50 ton master license is coming due for renewal soon enough. I am currently in school to get my 3rd Mate Unlimited. Should I bother renewing my 50 ton? Im not using it in school right now. Can I still run charter boats when I get back home with my 3rd Mate license, if I let my 50 ton master license lapse? Might be a stupid question, but thanks for any info!


Any holder of a mate license over 200 grt is allowed to be master of vessels less than 100 grt, within the restrictions of their mate license (inland, nc, oceans).

If there is any doubt that you will pass soon, I wouldn’t let the license expire, too cheap to renew,could be expensive not to have it if something goes wrong with the class, testing,issuance etc.
Just my advice, YMMV…

Agreed. You never know what will happen, plan for the worst. I keep my CDL even though I haven’t used it in 7 years (and moving to 4 different states in that time).

Yes keep the Master, but bump the tonnage up to at least 100 tons (no test) or to 150 tons (test required). While the USCG will let a 3rd Mate “serve as” a Master 100, many companies will NOT let you sail without the USCG paper in hand.

It is not a matter of them “letting” anything. It is in the CFR and the coast guard can’t stop you if they wanted to. Legally a 3m is a master “less than 100 tons”. And they didn’t like to print on your license 100 ton master if you had a 500 ton mate or higher (unless your 100 ton was a superior route to the 500 ton). When I upgraded to 500 ton mate nc my 100 ton master disappeared.