Career path advice wanted

Hi, I am seeking advice on my maritime career path, any input is appreciated. Currently I have my 100ton master NC, STCW basic training, VPDSD.
All my experience is running snorkel/fishing/tourist charters in Maui, Hawaii but I am looking to increase my experience in larger tonnage vessels.currently located in San Diego due to decrease in tourism on Maui.
I have been looking at what the best way to enter into working on larger vessels would be without much luck.
I think I would like to get my AS-D but from what I understand I would have needed a RFPNW and THEN seatime to qualify.
Currently I am debating between taking an AB class with survival craft and getting a national AB unlimited along with RFPNW and accruing the needed additional seatime for AS-D while working on the national AB endorsement.
Get my RFPNW and continue working under my 100ton master endorsement running charters for the needed 360 days for AS-D then start working under that on larger vessels.
I believe I have the sea time and tonnage requirements for a 500ton mate national endorsement. But I don’t have any experience on vessels of that size or what opportunities that could lead to.

Currently have ~900 total sea days on vessels ranging from 50-75tons. 21 years old.
Again, any help is appreciated, thank you for your time.

You can’t start counting sea time for AS-D until you have met all the requirements for RFPNW. You don’t need to hold RFPNW but you need all of the sea time and all of the assessments before you can start counting sea time for AS-D.

Why don’t you go over to Pacific Maritime Group, and Curtin Maritime and see what they have for jobs open. They both have under 100 crew boats, tugs, dredges, etc. These are jobs that you could do right now without waiting to get any new credentials.

You don’t need any STCW for most tugs.

Go get the AB and lifeboatman as soon as that’s practical. Work toward 500 ton Mate.

A 21 year old guy with 900 days of small boat experience, a 100 ton license, BT, and who is keen to move up, is the type of guy that most companies should be smart enough to hire on the spot before he goes somewhere else. You are very marketable.


Thank you for the response and insightful information. From the website Curtis Maritime seems to be a solid company choice. I will look into them. Hoping to take an AB course here in San Diego in the following month. In between running fishing charters. It was tough in Hawaii trying to get time off work to fly and take classes for other endorsements but now being in San Diego for the time being it’ll be a good opportunity to take these classes and apply for jobs.

AB courses only substitute for the Coast Guard exam, they are not required. You can study on your own and take the exam at any Coast Guard REC. You might be better spending limited time and possibly funds on a Lifeboatman/PSC course.

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You should also PM your resume to @eskayel

She might be interested in hiring a guy like you at Crowley.

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Do your research. Any career path should provide multiple employment opportunities.

Based on what you detailed as your current sea time (900 days (NC)) and license status (Master 100-ton NC), I recommend the following:

Start with NMC checklists for comparison of qualifications between National and STCW endorsement and license. Remembering regulations in general require that an applicant for STCW must hold the appropriate National Endorsement.

(1) National AB Checklist – note the requirements for AB Unlimited, 540 days, and NMC acceptance of Near Coastal time for this endorsement. The Able Seaman has a prerequisite for Lifeboatman.

When applying for qualified a National AB Ratings endorsement, I suggest you consider including adding a request for STCW PSC.

(2) RFPNW Checklist
Read [NVIC 06 14]( Documents/5p/5ps/NVIC/2014/NVIC 06-14 RFPNW (Incl CH-4) 20211215.pdf?ver=cFGl_VrU6iGVeiwm82lPCA%3D%3D&timestamp=1640013526257) RFPNW Demonstrated Assessments.
Note the following:
• Enclosure (1) Para (2)(c), work the navigation watchkeeping requirements into your sea letters.
• Ensure vessel assessment equipment requirements identified in enclosure (1) Para (3)(b) are met.
• Enclosure (3) page 4. Record of Assessment indicates that “Prospective Qualified Assessors (QAs) should have at least 1 year of experience as Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch on seagoing vessels of at least 200 GRT and/or 500 GT.” The person signing assessments does not have to be approved as a Qualified Assessor" until December 31, 2028. See Acceptance of STCW Assessments Performed by Assessors non approved USCG Qualified Assessors.

The RFPNW demonstrations will parallel those tested in your AB examination modules. Also, your BT course will parallel some of the deck safety questions as would a Lifeboatman course.
(3) Able Seafarer Deck Checklist: Future endorsement possible as a union deep sea Able Seafarer-Deck. You will be required to complete shipboard demonstrated assessments in [NVIC 14-14]( Documents/5p/5ps/NVIC/2014/NVIC-14-14-Incl-CH-4.pdf?ver=2020-05-12-120711-430). At the time of USCG application you will need to submit RFPNW and ABS – Deck assessment control sheets with assessor signatures.
(4) 500/1600 ton Mate NC Checklist: Specifically 500 ton Mate qualification requirements. Training requirements (1) Basic Fire Fighting (unless previously met), (2) Advance Fire Fighting, and (3) RADAR.
(5) Mate of Towing Checklist: Consider that with a 500 ton mate you have a Mate of Towing option.
(6) OICNW less than 500 ton NC Checklist: Given the National training requirements for the above endorsements and licensure parallel many of the STCW training requirements previously met for this endorsement. By fulfilling required shipboard demonstrate operational assessments and the additional medical provider course: you can satisfy the requirements for this STCW endorsement. See NVIC [13-14]( Documents/5p/5ps/NVIC/2014/nvic-13-14(Ch1) Update.pdf?ver=2019-09-27-075452-413). This requirement does not apply to near coastal vessels less than 200 grt.
(7) Master less than 500 ton NC Management Level Checklist: See NVIC 13-14 Again, given the National training requirements for the above endorsements and licensure you should consider completing required shipboard demonstrate assessments and additional course when preparing for this endorsement in the future.