500 Mate NC Requirements

The NMC Checklist states I need 720 NC, 360 over 50 GRT, 90 bridge keeping plus BST and AFF to get a 500 Mate NC. Is that all I need to then apply to the REC to test? I am going for my Mate of Tow after. What other STCW classes do I need to take to have little to no limitations to stay within NC waters on the wire towing up and down the west coast?

Thats all you need to test for the ‘national’ license.

Look for the checklist for II/3 officer in charge of a navigational watch less than 500 GT for requirements for the stcw. Its in the scroll down menu for stcw below the scroll down menu for national on the nmc’s website.

A lot, if not most tugs are under 200 grt and a lot of companies may put a mate of tow to work without the OICNW, depending…

Ok thanks that helps a lot. Now the question is do I add Radar, Arpa, BRM, and visual communication? Or skip those for now until I qualify for OINCW?

Unless something changed, you only need arpa if you are going to sail on arpa equipped boats. Same goes for ecdis and gmdss.

If you have the time and financial means, start doing the classes. Just remember to get approved to test and get the ‘national’ license, you don’t need to worry about the oicnw classes yet.

You definitely need radar when you apply for your first license.


Ok RADU what else would you say I need? Or is that pretty much. Apply to test after I get my AFF. And then get RADU after I get approved.

I think you need to take radar before you apply so you can send the cert on with the application.

Although a license application may not technically mandate certain class certificates in advance, as a practical matter, it creates a lot of pressure to take certain classes before the license is issued.

You may be told that a license won’t be issued until you complete certain classes, or that the license, if issued, will contain restrictions that marginalize its value.

Caution: some class certificates must be presented within one year of taking the class.

@jdcavo has previously posted which class certificates must be used within one year, which last forever, and which require periodic Revalidations. The search function may help you find those posts. @jdcavo is THE Authority on all things licensing.

@Capt_Phoenix is very knowledgeable.

Some “advisors” at schools are mostly salesmen that want to sell you any course they can. There are other advisors at quality schools that will steer you in the right direction toward what you need and when. Good license consultants do the samething.

Time is money. Personally, I think it’s usually a good idea to take required classes as soon as you can.

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IIRC, only the certificates that substitute for an exam need to be submitted within a year. All others you have 5 years to submit with an application.

Thanks for all the advice. My plan as of now is to take my AFF and then submit that course certificate with application to test for 500 Mate NC. And in the meanwhile of study for the test I’ll take my Radar, Arpa, Brm, and visual communication. One year from the approval to test should be enough time to study and take all the required classes to submit. Does this sound like a good plan? Dec 18 is AFF and Jan 8 is the prep class.

Also First Aid and CPR if you do not have currently valid STCW Basic Training. See 46 CFR 11.201(i).

You only need BRM, ARPA, and Visual Communications if you are going to apply for an STCW endorsement as Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch (OICNW). And, ARPA only if the vessel you work on has ARPA, and you do not need Visual Communications for an OICNW endorsement for less than 500 GT (200 GRT).

But, for OICNW Less than 500 GT near coastal, you are also going to need Proficiency in Survival Craft and Medical Care Provider courses. And there are also practical assessments you have to get signed off, either in courses or on a vessel. See 46 CFR 11.321 and NVIC 13-14.

With OICNW Less Than 500 GT Near Coastal, you will be limited to vessels under 200 GRT, that may be sufficient for tugs, if they even require STCW based on their voyages. For larger vessels, there are more courses, see 46 CFR 11.309 and NVIC 12-14.

Most of our boats stay within National waters and do not do STCW Routes. So how could I get the 500 mate NC without OINCW?

Just apply for the national license 500 Mate NC and go test for that.

You apparently do not need OICNW (if you are correct that your vessels do not operate beyond the boundary line). However, I think there is a good chance that you are mistaken about that.

It’s not a matter of “past the boundary line” if the vessel is exempt from STCW like most tugs are. As long as they stay Near Coastal and don’t go foreign his tug less than 200 GRT doesn’t require STCW.

Why after? If your TOAR is complete you should be able to submit on the same application.

I’m working on getting checked off right now for NC and Inland. I don’t have AMS yet either.