AB to Mate school

Is it worth while sticking it out with SIU for the remaining 500ish days for 3rd mate unlimited or should i go to another school and get my near costal 3M license in the next 200ish sea days until i can get unlimited?

3rd Mate Near Coastal and 3rd Mate Oceans require the same amount of sea time (3 years). See 46 CFR 11.407(a)(1).

Is this wrong then?

You have 1600 grt mate circled in your screenshot. Wasn’t your question about a 3rd mate ticket?

Yeah, am i misunderstanding something?

Yea. 3rd mate and 1600 ton mate aren’t the same thing.


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Sorry, but its not exactly easy to follow all the coastguard regulations and rules. Especially for first generation sailors who start out unlicensed and don’t have an in with 4 generations of captains. If you can’t be bothered to help a brother out, then keep it pushing.

And people wonder why nobody wants to sail these days. Smfh🤦‍♂️

What is the difference between the two because I’ve always heard them interchangeably?

Sure, but 3rd mate unlimited tonnage and mate 1,600 gross tons are obviously different.

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I don’t know what your experience is or where you’ve heard them used interchangeably, but they very much are not.

3M is an unlimited tonnage license. Literally anything that floats.

1600 ton is limited to 1600 GRT. Smaller things that float.

Right, but your still a 3rd mate just restricted?

No. Not at all.

Ok, that makes sense now. Ive been with SIU for over 2 years at this point and I’ve never heard a distinction between the two. I was under the impression that it was just the 3rd mate unlimited and 3rd mate NC that happened to be restricted by GRT and never questioned it till now.

Getting back to your original question of best route to 3rd Mate, sail SIU for 500 days, or go to school for 200 days:

  1. Assuming that you already have 580 days of seatime, sailing for SIU, sailing another 500 days is probably you best option.

  2. I’m not aware of any school program where a person with 580 days of seatime can simply go to school for 200 days (about one academic year) and graduate qualified to test for 3rd Mate.

My suggestion would be to stay with SIU and sail for another 500 days on unlimited (over 1600/3000) tonnage ships.

It costs money to go to school and you lose income. You get paid for sailing and earning your seatime.

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When i was saying going to another school i meant that i only need 200 days for my 1600 ton license and im debating if its worth leaving SIU and going to a school to get my 1600 license(SIU dosent provide this training) and sail on it till i get another 365 days for unlimited 3M and just pay for that out of pocket since i won’t be with SIU anymore if i went that route. I know its not cheap but wondering what other people thought? Thanks.

The tonnage. Isn’t that obvious? Where have you heard them used interchangeably? I’ve been involved in this stuff a long time and never have.

What training doesn’t SIU provide? What would you be going to school for? STCW? Both Mate 1600 and 3rd Mate require the same training. I’m not sure what training you would need for Mate 1600:thatbyou would not need for 3rd Mate.

I’d stay with SIU, apply for Mate 1600 when you have the time, and if you still want 3rd Mate, upgrade to that when you have the time required.

To elaborate, a 1600 license is the highest ‘limited’ tonnage license you could have. The next one in line is a 3rd mate license, and applies to vessels over 1600 which would be considered ‘unlimited.’

Now depending on seatime, one could still get a 3rd mate license but with a tonnage restriction.

If at least half your required seatime is on vessels over 1600 grt you can most likely get approved for a 3rd mate license w/no tonnage restriction. General rule of thumb, go as big as you can.

This can be some confusing stuff, especially for newer people. We are generally a helpful group here so try not to take too much offense. We were just confused by your question. Best thing to do, re-read all the checklists over and over and over again. There is lots of info here and on the internet to help you understand more too.

I’m guessing SIU requires that you have all 1080 days of qualifying seatime before they will approve you for free AB to 3rd Mate courses, free room and board, etc.

That makes sense from their point of view. It’s a combination of Union seniority and allocation of resources.

In the past, I’ve known people that sailed SIU and lived at the school and took courses for free when they were ashore.

SIU must offer a lot of worthwhile courses that you could take while you are getting your next 500 days. Things like Fast Rescue Boat, First Aid, Medcare Provider, Med-PIC, Tankerman, Rules of the Road, Security, Adv FF, etc.

Self-study: Rules of the Road, Falwell, Dunton, Bowdich, Chapman, etc. Start now.

You have enough time now for Master 100 Inland. Apply for it. Once you are approved, go take a two week course that gives the USCG exam at the school. Get your first license.

Once you have 720 days, I agree that you should apply for Mate 1600 and Mate OSV (which has no tonnage limit). Then go to a good school , like MPT and prepare for the exam.

Once you have Mate OSV, I suggest that you sail as Mate on OSVs where you will get 1.5 days of seatime credit for each day worked. (You’ll only need to work 240 days to get your last 360 days of seatime for 3rd Mate).

Important: the exam for Mate 500, 1600, and 3rd Mate is the same. If you get Mate 1600, you will later , once you have the seatime , be able to get 3rd Mate without taking another exam.

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Well it depends too what his goal is. You want to sail deep sea as a deck officer. Keep with what your doing and get the 3rd Unlimited, want to transition to smaller non-Union boats, get the 1600T. Basically what types of ships do you want to work on after you have your license.

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