About to start towing, one question

I will soon be attending a 2 day apprentice mate course followed by a 1 day WR course. Soon after I will begin on deck/wheelman in order to have my TOAR completed for inland/WR to acquire Mate of Towing and the following is from the Mate of Towing checklist:

For those who hold less than 200GRT :1080 days service as Master under the authority of endorsement held

I have held a 200GRT NC master endorsement for over 10years(on my 3rd issue). All of my seatime letters state “Captain”

Does the USCG recognize that vague term when calculating the time needed for the endorsement or does the USCG recognize the time Holding the Master endorsement ?

Thanks for the feedback and if I’m unclear in my wording feel free to straighten me out.



I don’t believe you will have any problem. I’m sure the USCG sees a lot of letters that say “Captain.” Long ago, I submitted letters that said “Captain” without any problem.


Thanks for the reply !

Good morning,

I will soon be submitting a completed TOAR for inland and near coastal routes and am wondering if anyone happens to know how to submit the “30 days of training and observation on a particular route”

That’s just a seatime letter or does the USCG want that worded specifically on the letter regarding the training and observation.

Thanks for the feedback!

It has to be worded specifically stating that you were observing as a trainee on that specific route during that time.

Something like this below, which was how my letter was worded when I did mine, combined as one Seatime letter.

Good luck.

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Thanks for the response, this helps a lot.

Oh my, what a nitpicking bunch of pencil whipped bullshit seatime letters have become.

Yea, I almost feel foolish asking some of my recent questions but I’m just grateful for the help I’m receiving so that I can avoid “Awaiting Info-PQEB”

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Well if your towing company was worth their salt they would know how to write a simple Seatime letter (it’s nothing new, ffs) for one of their guys to get their towing endorsement…
Think I’d consider other employment options if it were me, but I digress.

Good luck out there and be safe.

I would think they should know as well but when I request my letter I now know what I should expect in the event the company doesn’t add the “training and observation” portion. That’ll be discussed before and after if necessary.

I don’t know that there is anything simple about sea service letters anymore. Depending on what endorsements you are requesting, I find myself adding more and more information to satisfy the NMC bureaucrats. For instance I that example above, you forgot to mention continual use of radar for navigation and collision avoidance (assuming he was endorsed as a radar observer).

NMC gets some pretty awful service letters, it’s not uncommon to get one that says something like:

…worked as deck hand, mate, and master on inland, near coastal, and oceans routes from 4/1/2000 to 11/14/2020 on the following vessels:

And the list of vessels ranges from 25 GRT to 500 GRT. Obviously that letter is useless in evaluating an application for a specific endorsement.

Not to mention the ones that use vague terms like “second captain.”

It ain’t that hard. Use the magic words of the regulation with the service requirements for the credential applied for.

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I’m hoping that’s not an issue in the near future when I submit my letter, which brings me back to one of my original questions that’s my nearly all of my letters stating my position as “Captain.”

In your experience, how is that term applied for service requirements in applications when mariners submit their letters? Does the NMC use it as a blanket term to cover Master, Chief Mate, etc. ?

“Participated in drills” Why? Everyone participates in drills.

“Used radar.” Why? Every master and mate uses radar.

“Didn’t fail any drug tests, or refuse to take any.” Really? If you fail a test or refuse to take one, it’s reported to the USCG and there are consequences.

Nobody at companies keeps up with all the most recent crap

The big problem comes when using a stack of seatime letters with many written letters before the latest fetish for stating the obvious.

None of this stuff is on an official discharge form.

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^^^^^ Yes… this is the issue. But it gets even worse when applying for STCW endorsements. As an example, for OICNW the requirement is:

  1. 1080 days of seagoing service in the deck department on vessels
    operating in oceans, near-coastal and/or Great Lakes; AND
  2. Provide evidence of having performed, during the required seagoing
    service, bridge watch keeping duties, under the supervision of an
    officer holding the STCW endorsement as master, chief mate, second
    mate, or OICNW, for a period of not less than 180 days.

So if you are using a CG-718A discharge form, how do you prove you were under the supervision of an officer holding the STCW endorsement as master, chief mate, second mate, or OICNW? It should be obvious if the vessel was STCW. But if inland, then what?

See CG-MMC Policy Letter 03-19. Mates and Masters on vessels that are required to have a radar are not required to provide evidence of using radar.

“ vessels that are required to have radar”

Apparently, there are a lot of vessels that are not required to have radar, but do.

Hence the need to provide evidence that the vessel had radar. The vessels required to have radar are cited in the policy letter.

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