500 ton Master of Towing

I have a 500 ton NC Master and am currently working on deck on a near coastal tug. I understand that in order to operate Towing vessels I must complete at least 30 days of observation and training aboard a tug on a specific route and complete a TOAR. My question is this…

Once the above requirements are completed, do I have to test to get MOT? If not, once I send my application to the NMC with tug sea service and the completed TOAR, will I be issued “Master of Towing Near Coastal” on my credential, or will it be some other kind of Towing endorsement?

Thank you for any and all help!

If you hold mate or master 500 GRT or more, there is no test. You don’t even need the endorsement added to your MMC to be able to operate a towing vessel as long as you have with you the sea service documentation and a Completed TOAR signed by an approved designated examiner. But you should apply for it anyway, otherwise if you lose the TOAR you’re screwed and have to start a new one. The endorsement you get will be mate or master of towing vessels, depending on which your endorsement for 500 GRT OR MORE IS FOR.


@jdcavo Thank you very much for the response. I was under the impression that it was a mariner holding a license as Master GREATER THAN 200 tons that was eligible for the 30 day/TOAR route to master of towing(46 cfr 11.464(g))

My license reads “Master of S.P. Vessels of less than 500 GRT” wouldn’t This qualify me for the 30 day/TOAR route based on the the cfr mentioned above?


You’re right, it’s greater than 200 GRT. The lowest tonnage license that is greater than 200 GRT is the one commonly referred to as “Master 500” (or Mate 500) or more correctly, Mate/Master Less Than 500 GRT (or not more than 500 GRT if it was issued before March, 2014). You have the license I was referring to, so my explanation applies to you.

@jdcavo thank you for the clarification.

Going front mate of towing to master of towing , what’s the point of the first aid having to valid within 1 year, it has two more years to expire and just passed the one year mark . So now I’ve got To find time to just renew first aid when it’s still valid for another two years ? Jdcavo can you give me some insight on this


It’s only required for your first license. It’s not required for an upgrade.

Copy that’s , thank you sir

Be aware that some boat companies, and some customers (particularly on government funded projects), require a current (within 2 years of the class) American Red Cross or American Heart Assoc. First Aid/CPR/AED Card.

This came up recently when a customer “safety guy” came onboard with a checklist. He understood that my STCW Medical Care Provider Certificate (4 day Class) was far superior to the First Aid Card (1 day Class), but said that doesn’t matter because current First Aid Card is what’s on his OSHA mandated checklist. He gave me 30 days to take the one day First Aid class. He said I could do it online, but that some contracts require an actual class. Online CPR course, ridiculous.

$100, 1 day, Red Cross First Aid in-person class done at my own expense on my time off.

@jdcavo and 540 12hr days can be 360 8hr days

If 2 watches are authorized and practiced, and the 12 hours is watch, 540 12-hour days is credited the same as 810 8-hour days.

Are you suggesting that the time period for first aid in 46 CFR 11.201(i) for an original license is one and a half years (540 days) if you work 12-hour days? Even a shameless sea lawyer might think twice about making that argument. 12-hour days only applies to crediting sea service.

@jdcavo ok so the checklist stats 540 12 hour days , yes I work a 6/6 watch rotation , so my days are credited 1.5 . So if for instance 240 12 days is 360 8hr days , would be equivalent to 540 correct ?

On a towing vessel or OSV on voyages of less than 600 miles, yes.

@jdcavo A little late to the conversation here, but is there a way to look up in public records whether a vessel has been authorized for 2 watches? For instance, if I have a sea service letter that lists my number of days and states “12 hour watches”, how do I know the NMC will credit me for the 12 hours? Will make a difference for renewal.

See 46 U.S. Code 8104, it authorizes certain vessels for 2 watches. Mostly OSVs and towing vessels on voyages less than 600 miles.

One could also make a plausible argument that if a vessel is not those specified as being allowed 2 watches in the US Code, but the manning level prescribed by the Coast Guard calls for only two watchstanding officers (Master and Mate), then the Coast Guard “authorized” that vessel for 2 watches. I don’t know how you could check that other than the vessel’s COI.

Ok great thanks. This is for a distant water fishing vessel, looks like the Code you referenced gives specifics for the fishing fleet.