AB to apprentice mate or 500 ton mate?

Hello All,

Ive been working on inland ship assist tugs with Moran for over 2 years now, started as OS deckhand now have AB (held for over 90days). To work as Mate with the company they want you to hold no less than a 500 ton mate of towing inland. Is it worthwhile to take the apprentice steersman course at one of the schools and then upgrade to 500 ton (if possible) or to study on my own and sit for the 500 ton mate inland at the REC? I have all the appropriate sea time and will go to SUNY Fort Skylar for advanced fire fighting and radar observer. TOAR will be a bit tricky considering all we do is ship assist and never make up to any barges! Any info or help on the subject is greatly appreciated considering every mate I work with is a academy grad and hasn’t taken this route (AKA “Through the Hawsepipe”)

You’re talking about two distinctly different types of licenses. An apprentice steersman is 200 tons (or 100) depending on how much, and what tonnage vessels you’ve been on. It takes about three years seatime to do this license. A 500 ton takes 4 or 5 years seatime.

The 500/1600 is a higher level license. How much sea time do you have?

The simple answer would be to ask HR to get on an actual tug that does coastwise towing. There are several options, you have cement barges, container barges, some oil, (NOT ATB) ask to move around to get more experience.

From what I have heard the maritime academy’s schools are NOT geared toward hawsepipers. You can go to a local school and get the whole thing done in three weeks, and be finished. Most of the courses/diplomas will let you skip some tests at the REC, but some you will have to take there.

I have 700 Days total sea time, 560 of which is on the tug, i really just want to know what the next move is so i can get into the wheelhouse as a mate. I heard that you have to get the apprentice steersman if you ever want to get the 500ton mate inland license and also if you hold an apprentice mate for 12 months you do not have to get a TOAR signed off. As far as the TOAR goes, my captain has some contacts that will let my ride along with them on my time off so i can get that taken care of, its just going to take a little while.

As cappy208 notes, you are asking about two separate and distinct paths to mate of towing vessels. If you are considering pursuing mate 500 GRT inland, this may be the quickest path for you.

To go from Apprentice Mate to Mate of Towing Vessels, you will need an additional 12 months of expereince on a towing vessel after you are issued the Apprentice Mate officer endorsement (license). You would take an exam to get the Apprentice Mate license, but would not take a test for Mate.

Mate 500 GRT Inland requires a total of two years of experience. Assuming that you already have at least one year on vessels over 50 GRT, this will be the quickest path for you as you appear to be very close to having the two years experience. You would take a test for Mate 500, and once you have that license you will qualify for Mate of Towing Vessels after getting at least 30 days on a towing vessel and completing the inland TOAR.

Note that the above assumes you will apply for Mate 500 [U]Inland[/U]. If you want Mate 500 GRT Near Coastal or Oceans, it gets more complicated, more time consuming, and more expensive as you will also need to complete STCW training and assessment. If you intend to work near coastal, then going from Apprentice Mate might be better as it will avoid STCW (assuming an employer does not want you to hold a 500 GRT license and STCW).

Make sure that there is a designated examiner on whatever boat you will do yoyur TOAR on. It’s a fairly easy process to get approval as a designated examiner, so if you will work on a specific boat and/or with a specific captain, they can get themselves approved as DE before you start.