Hello to the forum,
I’m new here, although I’ve been reading and searching the forum for awhile. It sure is a great resource. Thank you to all who contribute!
I’ve recently received my MMD, and I’d like to start working with it. My previous experience is mostly on sailing vessels and small commercial vessels (36’), and working in the marine industry ashore.
Right now what is listed in my MMD is as follows:
Master, 50-ton, near coastal, including sail and commercial assisted towing
I also have my TWIC
As I understand it, I am also qualified for a Mate, 100-ton, near coastal, but I need to apply for the upgrade.
Although I wouldn’t necessarily mind working on a sailing vessel, I see myself as more of a “working boat” person. A research vessel really appeals to me, but I’m completely open to options. I’m more experienced in deck and navigation (and have more interest there) than I am in engineering. I would have no problem going offshore for extended periods of time.
What I’m trying to figure out is where I could (or should) go next in getting training and credentials to help me in getting started with a job. I have researched, called people, and etc. but I’m still a bit confused as I’m not sure everyone’s information agrees.
I think I’m pretty clear that taking Basic Safety Training and Lifeboatman would be useful, and that they are also things I have enough sea time/experience to qualify for.
Where I am confused is when it comes to AB.
I thought I understood that I wouldn’t be able to “be” an AB without at least 180 days of seatime on vessels of 100 gt and over, which I don’t have. In other words, I could take the classes, but unless I had that sea time within a year it would go to waste (and I have no job aboard at the present time).
However today I was talking to a school, in preparation for signing up for the BST and Lifeboatman class, and the counselor said that I could qualify for an AB Unlimited. She pointed me to the NMC Able Seaman checklist.
According to that list, an Unlimited AB only needs “1080 days of service on Oceans or Great Lakes,” which I do have [oops, edit, I don’t have that much time; probably more like 800 days]. But this doesn’t make sense to me, as a Limited AB needs to have “540 days of service on vessels 100 GRT or over, not exclusive to rivers & smaller inland lakes of the U.S.”
This seems to be corroborated by CFR 46 12-12.05, which says the following:
(1) Able Seaman—Any Waters, Unlimited. Three years service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans or the Great Lakes.
(2) Able Seaman—Limited. Eighteen months service on deck in vessels of 100 gross tons or over which operate in a service not exclusively confined to the rivers and smaller inland lakes of the United States.
(3) Able Seaman—Special. Twelve months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.
(4) Able Seaman—Special (OSV). Six months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.
But… why would an [I]Unlimited[/I] AB have “lower” requirements for tonnage (not days) than a [I]Limited[/I] AB? I feel like there must be a (logical) catch here, but the school representative said that this is correct.
What it boils down to is that I would like to take whatever classes I can in order to make myself as qualified as I can be in the MMD, considering my sea time/size of vessels. What I don’t want to do is spend money on a class and then find out I’m not actually qualified for the rating.
What I had understood before was that I could only (at most) get the RFPNW-Lookout Only, and someone I know who works on vessels (above an AB rating) said that that position was not commonly used anymore. So that throws in the additional question of which ratings are actually useful in the real world.
Okay, this is getting wordy; thank you to those who have got this far. To summarize:
Are there AB variants which an OS can qualify for without having sea time on vessels of over 100 tons (I do have 1080 days of sea time, but not the tonnage).
Of the classes/ratings I would qualify for currently, which ones are useful in the real world?
Thanks to anyone who can contribute. I’ve tried to do the research ahead of time so that I wouldn’t be asking an uninformed or obvious question; let’s hope I haven’t turned around and done that anyway.
Thanks again for the great forum