Barge Captain


Different companies have different titles for the position.
at Bouchard it’s Barge Captain and Mate
Reinauer Barge Captain is called Second Mate which is really stupid, but it’s a company run by tankermen.

The position is tankerman, and you will need a tankerman PIC endorsement to load and unload cargo at a minimum.

Some companies have eliminated this position and have a licensed mate handle the cargo. Most companies are trending toward having the tankermen live on the tug, especially on ATB units.

On the Mississippi the tankermen are sometimes not on a boat at all, and just drive to wherever barges are loading and unloading.

The last time I worked as a tankerman was in NYC for a small mom and pop. It was $415 a day.


Mate OC.pdf (55.7 KB)

By the way, due to no help of the “knowledgeable folks” at the NMC, I spoke with someone today at work who notified my that if you have Master of Towing Inland, WR, GL, you can add Mate NC/OC just by testing out, no TOAR. Does anyone know what they mean by examninations, specifically for NC and OC. Refer to page 2 of the attachment I put up. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.


The Mate of Towing near coastal exam probably includes six exam modules: Rules of the Road, deck general/ safety, Nav general, chart plot, terrestrial Nav, and I forget what their other look it up in the books section is called . Some of those modules maybe combined into one for Mate of Towing.

The things that maybe be different for you are international rules of road (they are not all that different), chart plot, tides and currents, Nav general , and terrestrial Nav .

You probably do not want to jump all the way to Oceans because that includes a celestial Nav module. The Cel Nav for Mate of Towing is not that difficult, but probably more than you’d want to bite off all at once.

When you get your approval to test letter it will say what module numbers you have to take. You can study with Lapware for those particular modules. For most people, it’s probably worth attending a prep school instead of studying on your own.


Thanks for the advice, I’m looking into it.


Master of Towing great lakes & inland will allow you to receive MATE of towing near coastal (not oceans). Then you need to complete 90 days and a TOAR to make that into Master of Towing.

You officially take the Apprentice Mate / Steersman near coastal exam, as neither master nor mate of towing actually have an exam.


See footnote 1 on Table 1 to 46 CFR 11.464(a):
The holder of an endorsement as master of towing vessels may have an endorsement placed on the MMC as mate (pilot) of towing vessels for a route superior to the current route on which the holder has no operating experience after passing an examination for that additional route. After the holder completes 90 days of experience and completes a Towing Officer Assessment Record (TOAR) on that route, the Coast Guard will add it to the holder’s endorsement as master of towing vessels and remove the endorsement for mate (pilot) of towing vessels.

The exam is the Apprentice Mate/Steersman exam for the applicable route.


Thanks for replies, I learned more on this forum in a couple of hours than I would have over a month of phone calls with the NMC.


The outside defense contractors that answer the NMC phone line have no maritime or licensing knowledge or experience. Anything they tell you they just looked up in a book that they don’t understand, or maybe it’s something an incompetent new hire staffer at the NMC told them. They don’t know either. If anything they tell you turns out to be true, that’s just a fortunate coincidence.


They’re so professional, they even hang up on you, after having pulled an answer out of their slimy ass, presented in an inbred accent.


Just call and ask for Jude