Able Seaman - Unlimited

I just moved here from the Philippines. I was a 3rd Officer sailing worldwide on Tanker Vessels before
I moved here last 2016. I process my MMC and was issued an Ordinary Seaman endorsement. They credited my sea service and was issued an ABLE SEAMAN - UNLIMITED endorsement. I am planning to sail international and they required me to have a ABLE SEAFARER - DECK Endorsement. I already have the RFPNW Endorsement but I need 360 Days of sea service to qualify for ABLE SEAFARER - DECK Endorsement. I am looking for a job that can helped me to acquire sea service for my AS-Deck Endorsement. With further readings, working with passenger ferries are not counted (I’m not sure with this) for sea service. Where can I go for a job or to do some inquiries regarding this matters.

Thank you!


IIRC Unlimited are grandfathered for Seafarer Deck prior to 2017. You already have more than 360 days of sea time. You have at least 1080 days of sea time.

I was credited with 1445 days from
My international sea service, but after they gave me my RFPNW Endorsement, the USCG wants a sea service (360 days) after the RFPNW issuance. That’s my problem right now… where to get the Sea service.

You may have to sail as an OS…
Lots of tug companies don’t require the abs to have all the stcw endorsements…however most tugs are under 200 grt so I don’t know if time on tugs would benefit you towards getting ab seafarer deck…

I think I just need 100Tons and Up. I’m
Still asking around where to go, some people that I have talked said those are in the Union like IBU, SUP and SIU…

Thank you Sir!

You should be able to crossover from national to STCW and get your Able Seafarer Deck, with AB unlimited there should be no extra sea time needed, but you do need to satisfy competency requirements as per STCW table A-II/5, which is basically assessments. You can either do it through sea service or taking an AS-D class.
Always look over USCG checklists and read corresponding CFRs.
It would be stupid for you to waste time sailing as OS when you’ve already sailed as an officer. And good luck finding anything as an OS nowadays…
I would call NMC and check if they let you take an AS-D class in lieu of extra sea time.

The people you talk to on the phone are not actually in the USCG, they are contractors, and they don’t know much. You need to hire a license consultant to represent you with the USCG. Search license consultants on this forum.

I see no reason why you should not get Able Seafarer Deck right now. Maybe you’ll need to take a course or two. Maybe you’ll need to do a few assessments, but you should not need anymore seatime.

Tugboat time over 100 tons counts toward Able Seafarer Deck. So does OSV time.

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Lots of non-union tug companies as well, which will normally be an easier nut to crack than getting on with a union company.

There is still a grandfathering option available for someone who held Able Seaman before January 1, 2017. See 46 CFR 12.603( c):

Seafarers holding a rating endorsement as able seaman before January 1, 2017, will be eligible for this endorsement upon showing evidence of—
(1) Holding an endorsement as an RFPNW; and
(2) Having satisfactorily completed approved training in—
(i) Proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats, other than fast rescue boats (PSC); or
(ii) Proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats, other than lifeboats or fast rescue boats-limited (PSC-limited), as appropriate.

It depends on which method one qualifies for AS-D with. If it is the typical way, get sea service and do assessmsnets, there might be a barrier. From the service requirements in 46 CFR 12.603(a)(3):

While qualified as an RFPNW, have seagoing service in the deck department of—
(i) Not less than 18 months; or
(ii) Not less than 12 months and have completed approved training.
[emphasis added]

This does not necessarily mean holding RFPNW during the sea service, but all of the service and assessments for RFPNW would need to be completed before the clock can start for AS-D.

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I already made an appeal with the NMC, thru email, but they want me to do sea service first before I can qualify for the AS-D. And now I’m facing a wall. I tried to explain everything to them but they keep saying that I need to sail with RFPNW and get a sea service.

I wanted to talk to someone like in an office to
Things more
Clear. I live here in Marin County, And I don’t
Know what and where to go. Is there an NMC office
Here in San Francisco Bay Area?

Thanks everyone! Really appreciate all the help.

I alreay had the AS-D training. I took it last time with TRL ( Training Resources Limited ) in San Diego. But still, they want me to do a sea service after they issued my RFPNW Endorsement. If there’s an office which I can talk to someone.

That is why I’m really confuse and now I can’t find any job for OS and with that, I can’t acquire that sea service.

NMC call center people are clueless, you need to talk to your assessor. Sorry I should have been clear.
Look at the “National Crossover” table at the bottom of AS-D checklist. GO BY IT. If you do have Able Seaman Unlimited issued, you don’t need ANY EXTRA SEA TIME while qualified as RFPNW.
Theyre yanking your leg.


Physically you could go to your Regional Examination Center.

Thank you for this! I really appreciate it. I’ll write an email tonight and send this picture you sent me.

Thank you again. This means a lot!

I’m faced with this same dilemma USCG is saying I need additional sea service while holding my AB Unlimited and RFPNW in order to receive my AS-D endorsement.