Able seaman

Slow down there…you’ll need to work deck/should want to work deck and engine room before that for a few years. You’ll need 540 days with your mate of tow to apply, and getting a mates job with no experience is going to be tough. You’ll either need an apprentice steersman with 360 days on deck holding the credential or a 500ton license with 720 days and time on vessels over 50grt just to get your mate of tow…and then the clock starts towards your master. Master of tow within 5years with no tug experience isn’t really likely. Sounds like you’re young, slow down and focus on learning all you can about your position and being a great shipmate. Opportunities will come for you if you simply do that. I work on the east coast and most captains I’ve worked with dont have over a 200t and were grandfathered into the Master of Tow credential. When I lived on the west coast, it seemed like every Cal Maritime grad worked on tugs so you’re competing with people for jobs with bigger licenses. If I were you and knew I wanted to be on tugs and didn’t want to go to school (which that is the best way to get to where you want to be, a four year maritime school) I’d go work for Sause or Dunlap or some larger wire boat outfit in order to build your tonnage and seatime, and then work your way back towards inland stuff. I would think that simply having an inland license on the west coast is going to make you not very desirable for where your wanna go.

Honestly, I’d keep your $$ and try to go to maritime school. You’ll be so much happier that you did in 4yrs vs trying to hawespipe. Especially at 18…


Is that the current interpretation: no seatime credit for service before age 16?

I seem to recall it being 14 at one time.

The current checklist for 3rd Mate requires 1080 days of sea service and minimum age of 19.

It would be impossible to get 1080 days (of day for day) sea service to qualify for the license at age 19 unless seatime credit was given before age 16. No one goes to sea at age 16 and never misses a single day of sea service before they turn 19.

Do you have to be 18 to take the oath?

That’s seems odd to me. Are you sure?

I assume that you are 17 and graduating from high school in June?

If you have 360 days fishing, you maybe entitled to time and a half seatime credit, totaling 540 days.

I think you might benefit from getting a USCG license consultant to help you. Search license consultants on gcaptain or Google.

You may be able to find a job on a tugboat under 99 GRT before you receive your MMC.

If cannot submit your application until after you turn 18 (and I doubt that), it may then take you a few months to get your application processed and approved.

Seatime is 16 and over. With an unregistered boat, you won’t be able to get 1.5x. You need coast guard approved two man watch for vessel.

I know you can take the oath for MMC because you can get the OS when 16 though I don’t qualify for the AB endorsement until 18. I’ll talk with the USCG licensing agent at TRMI in may after the AB class to see the closest date I can apply. Also, what are your guy’s thoughts on getting a six-pack with assistance towing endorsement? Because I qualify for both I believe. Also, know a guy who owns the shipyard as well a small tug boat in Catalina Island that potentially would hire.

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Your six pack won’t help you get hired as an ab on a tug, so I wouldn’t bother…

The constant mention of the oath reminded of me when I took mine in front of a notary at my local chase bank…lol

It raises flags. Service on a commercial vessel may violate applicable state labor laws for employment of minors.

Seatime under 16 should raise red flags, and result in further inquiry. It’s something that most evaluators will never see. However, if it holds up under scrutiny, then it ought to be accepted.

There are a significant number of kids that grow up working on family vessels, especially fishing boats (yachts too), and the occasional tugboat. There is nothing illegal or improper about this.

It’s my observation that kids who grew up on family boats tend to be highly skilled. Some of them are the next generation of captains and owners.


I got my 100 grt license issued on my 19th birthday, in the 1990s.

My evaluator did question my seatime. It was all on one charter fishing boat. The owner explained to the evaluator that I started when I was 14 helping out as an apprentice, then when I turned 16 I was on payroll as a deckhand.
Obviously nowadays this may not have been such a seamless inquiry.

A minor digression:
At CTI it is common for the sons of captains, CE, and mates to sail during the summer, beginning at age 16. My son did. (Vessels act as coastal freighters but are legally classified as fishing vessels). Some hate it. Some love it. Two summers would be enough to get enough sea time for an AB-fishing.