Adding Apprentice Mate Steersman of Towing Vessels

This is a question for @jdcavo if he doesn’t mind answering. I am trying to help a kid on the boat out. Back when I got my first license I got a 200 Ton Mate NC and when I went in to test the guy administering said, since I worked on tugs, why don’t you add the Apprentice Mate Steersman of Towing Vessels to your license. It’s only one additional module and it was I think a 15 question test so that’s what I did. The kid on the boat already has his 200 Ton Mate NC and needs to add the Apprentice Mate Steersman to it. I told him to put in an application to the CG asking for that to be added and that I think he would only have to take the Towing Specific test and not have to retake the rules of the road, deck gen, plot, etc. Am I correct about this? Most guys I know that get that license go to a school for it but I’ve never gone to a school for any of my licenses other than the required classes and I have a 1600 Ton Master Oceans/Master of Towing Oceans now and it’s been a long time since I tested for anything related to towing. When I look at the testing Administration guide it seems like it’s assumed that you are applying for the Apprentice mate and don’t already have any other license. He’s only held the 200 Ton for about 6 months and doesn’t have any seatime as mate so I know he has to have the 12 months holding the Apprentice and a signed off TOAR. Thanks in advance for any help.

Generally, unless the CFR says you can take a partial or limited exam, you can’t.

For Apprentice Mate, the requirement is to take an exam that covers all of the subjects required by 46 CFR 11.910 as part pf the application for the endorsement. In your case, the Mate 200 exam plus the additional module collectively made up an exam on all the required subjects for Apprentice Mate. I am guessing you either tested before March 2014, or some of your sea time for the endorsements was from before then. If so, you tested under the old regulations and exam scheme. At that time, except for the one extra module, all the modules for Mate 200 are common to Apprentice Mate.

Under the new exam scheme, the modules are differently numbered, I am sure if the content has changed. So even applying for Mate 200 and Apprentice Mate at the same time now may not have the same testing as you had.

But, this is only applicable when you are applying for and testing for multiple endorsements at the same time. It doesn’t mean one can credit for modules taken on past applications. So the guy on your boat probably has to take the complete exam.

Ok. Thanks for the clarification.

Honestly, he should just apply & test for Mate 500 NC instead of dicking around with the apprentice mate route.

He doesn’t have the time on vessels over 100 Tons for the 500. Most of the tugs he’s worked on are 96 tons and he’s already got the 200. The company is willing to put him in the training spot and pay him more so for now it’s his best route for more money. He can’t really afford the extra classes required for the 500ton at the moment… I was in the same boat back when I started so I get it. Companies weren’t paying for anything back then so I took everything at the REC instead of doing classes for prep or testing but with the STCW requirements now for anything over 500ton the schools add up quick.

No classes required.

Except that basic and advanced firefighting as well as radar are required for anything over 200.

I can’t find any justification in the CFR for that being required for the domestic license now.

46 CFR § 11.430:
(e) To obtain a master or mate endorsement with a tonnage limit of 200 GRT or more, whether an original, raise of grade, or increase in the scope of authority, the applicant must meet the training requirements in § 11.201(h) and (i) of this part and successfully complete radar observer training in § 11.480 of this part.

§ 11.201(h) and (i):
(h) Firefighting certificate.

(1) Applicants for an original officer endorsement in the following categories must present a certificate of completion from a firefighting course of instruction that has been approved by the Coast Guard. The firefighting course must have been completed within the past 5 years, or if it was completed more than 5 years before the date of application, the applicant must provide evidence of maintaining the standard of competence in accordance with the firefighting requirements for the credential sought.
(2) The following categories must meet the requirements for basic and advanced firefighting in Regulations VI/1 and VI/3 of the STCW Convention and Tables A-VI/1-2 and A-VI/3 of the STCW Code (both incorporated by reference, see § 11.102 of this part):

(i) National officer endorsements as master or mate on seagoing vessels of 200 GRT or more.

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That also applies to anyone applying for Master or Mate of Towing so he’ll have to take them eventually.

Also, I think towing officers are required to have radar observer.

Those three courses are probably worth the money and the first ones I’d recommend for anyone. But advanced firefighting was a bit of a disappointment compared with the hands on fun of basic. It really doesn’t apply to small vessels as much.

He’s going to need BRM for the STCW and Medical Care Provider eventually as well. It’s an offshore tug and barge company but for the moment it will get him in the training program which will get him more money than AB pay. When he makes more he can put that towards the classes. Right now he’s just trying to get his sea time to count towards his towing endorsement. He hasn’t even started on his TOAR yet. By the time he gets that signed off and gets the other classes he needs he’ll have the 240 12 hour days that he needs for the Mate of Towing and he can get a mates position while he upgrades to the 500/1600. That’s what I did. The company gave me a $15 a day raise for getting my 1600 license. I made almost as much with the MOT license.

If a guy “cannot afford” to pay for the required courses —-like all the rest of us did—-than he has no business getting a license.

We already have far too many licenses chasing too few jobs at unrealistically low wages.

It’s long overdue for us to start getting a reasonable return on our investment in STCW, and all the rest of it that we had to pay for.

Besides, have you seen some of the bozos showing up on tugs who go get their licenses through this 500 ton route —- a one day TOAR class (that everyone passes), and only 30 days of observer time?

That is the dumbest reason I’ve ever heard for why a guy shouldn’t get a license. Trying to save money and get a job that pays more is smart. If the market is so competitive you’d take his job and he’d be on deck with his license. If he gets the training mate license and gets the seatime as a training mate and gets a mate license because he’s proven himself to the company how is he doing it wrong? I mean why doesn’t he just go get an unlimited license and go to school for four years? Why get a stupid little 500ton license🤦🏻‍♂️

The bean counters at the employers say: “there are plenty of mates around that will work for $400 or $500 a day; why should we pay $600?

Answer: “The Mates who expect $600 (which is required to afford to live around here) actually have the skills and experience necessary to do the job.”

Employer response: “That doesn’t matter. It’s your job to train them. You take who we give you and make it work.”

He’s a training mate so he’s not getting $600 a day and it’s a good thing to move people up from within the company who have proven themselves on deck. When he gets his mates license he’ll get the same mates pay that the other mates get. When I got my 1600 license I got $15 more a day. I was competitive with every other mate in the company and they all made more than $600 a day. He will get his first mates job when he’s signed off and ready and he’ll have earned it by training in this fleet. I’ve seen plenty of guys with 1600 ton or 3rd mates license that got their TOAR signed off and did their 90 days for their endorsement and couldn’t handle the boat for shit. If there wasn’t a path for guys to come up like he’s doing the hawsepipe would dry up. Our company is willing to train guys and then pay them the going rate when they are signed off. Anybody can apply but they are still training guys which is a good thing. I’d never tell someone they shouldn’t get a license and better themselves as economically as they can because somebody like you has a bigger license and wants their job. Most of the guys out of work right now were working in the GOM and were supply boat guys who don’t have towing experience. He’s worked on tugs for several years, he’s young and eager to learn, and has a good attitude. I’ll take that over a guy who thinks he deserves the job any day.

You completely missed what he was talking about.

Really? Do your vessels require STCW?
If so, how can he work with a just a Mate of Towing?

Why can’t he just get a 500 ton and his TOAR and get a mate position immediately instead of dicking around with apprentice mate?

He sounds like a nice young man who has been doing all the right things so far.

If your company pays Mates $600, then he should be making $300 to $400 as a deckhand right now.

With that kind of income he certainly can afford to take the required courses for a license, even if he has to borrow a little money upfront to do it.

I didn’t miss the point. Our company will eventually require those courses which they will pay for after he’s proven he’s a good trainee.

Yes we require STCW. For the smaller vessels that only require the MOT they just need the Basic Safety training but we sometimes go foreign so it’s required and we have a couple of vessels that are over 500 Tons so if he wants to work on those he’ll eventually need to upgrade to a 1600 Ton

As far as getting the 500 ton. He just sat for his 200t. He can get the training position with the apprentice mate. He’s never sailed on his license so he’s not going to get a full mates position without training anyway and anybody that gets their TOAR signed off in 30 days got it pencil whipped if they have never handled a bot before.

Furthermore, the question was how does one add apprentice mate to their license like I asked in the first post. By you guys logic there shouldn’t be a training mate license. You should just get a 500 ton mate and somebody with give you the job and you’re qualified. Why doesn’t everybody just go to an academy. The guy has the license he has because that’s what his seatime allowed him to get. That same seatime allows him to get the apprentice mate and he already has a path in the company he works at to get where he wants to go so why not do that?

People have bills to pay and you claim you need $600 a day to survive but he’s supposed to have an excess of money on half that pay… He’s doing the right thing for him and I’m just trying to help him along so he can start earning seatime. If he got the 500ton license being a green wheelman he’d still need the same amount of time to be proficient at the job.