Death of Hawespipers


Most flag states accept each others CoCs reciprocaly. In most cases these are obtained by attending full time schools/academies run by the Government and fully compliant with STCW standard curriculum w/latest amendments.

Here is the requirements to obtain CoE from MPA Singapore:

And a list of countries whose CoCs are accepted by MPA:

And the same for NMA, Norway:

You will notice that USA is on the MPA list, but not on the NMA list, although Norway has unilaterally approved US issued CoCs for service on NIS ships, but not for NOR registered ships.

Other STCW courses, such as Sea Survival, Fire fighting etc. conducted by private but approved institution, like Falck, MSTS etc. are also mutually accepted between flag states, but because there are some “fly by night” and less than serious operators that offer such courses, this is more restrictive.

For education and training institutions to get approval by NMA the following guidelines must be complied with:
You’ll notice that Nationality is not mentioned as a requirement, only inspection by NMA, or a Maritime Authority Norway have approved.


Falck courses in America are nothing special. Same content. Everyone sits through the class, everyone passes and gets their certificate. About the same as at most other schools.

The courses at MPT and Bluewater that have dual USCG and MCA approval are mid-priced and a best value. Unfortunately, the MCA GMDSS and USCG GMDSS are entirely separate courses.


He who looks into the abyss realizes there’s nothing looking back at him and the only thing he sees is his own shadow.


I can argue the same for some hawsers I’ve had. Had one 3rd who didn’t understand the theory behind electricity. He was ready to jump into a live 440v circuit before the first stopped him. Same guy accidentally started a DG with cocks open and had now clue how to shut it down. He then told that we had faulty spark plugs in the DIESEL Generator. He never learned theory. Don’t get me wrong I started out working for some kick ass Chiefs and first who were hawspipers but you get good and bad from both ends


As far as the classes go, in my opinion they are like gas. You can shop around for the best price, but you need it either way to continue on. You can bitch and moan all you want but in the end you’re still gonna pay for it.

As far as academy grads not knowing something, compare whats done in school. Your taught how to pass all the standardized tests, not life skills. (Was anyone taught accounting in high school? I know I wasn’t. ) Yes there is some practical application, but if you don’t end up on the same type boat as you choose to have your career in your not going to know much.
The leg up that a hawspiper has is they have learned the boat more before they move up, but they don’t get the same in depth book knowledge a cadet gets.

But the same theory applies that students need to be taught things at “home(on the boat)”. A school doesn’t have enough time to teach EVERYTHING.

You can sit there and make fun of someone for not having as much experience or teach them and train them so they get the experience and make them someone worth having.

But unless the person is willing to learn and put forth the effort to, what good are they? There is always something to learn.

Just my 2 cents from my short time on boats working for some great people and some horrible people.


No matter a hawsepiper or one of the academy grads its gonna cost us a lot to stay in the industry. As far as I know only one academy is free and every five years its going to cost to renew, or for classes etc. Just another way to extort money out of you.


It’s intended as a way for the US to conform to international treaties that set a common minimum worldwide standard.

The problems are time, money, and the fact that US mariners are already at a high enough level to render most of this additional training unnecessary.

If wages were going up to cover the extra cost, and the value of having extra credentials, instead of down, it wouldn’t be an issue.


And lets not forget that it is very likely that this STCW training will be pencil whipped by the same countries that the this “minimum standard” of training/competency was originally created for!

So we now have USA mariners taking more useless training and the “sub-standard” countries doing the same thing they’ve always done.


Actually, I think more quality training to a higher standard would be a good thing, if the training was really very good, and if the employers or Marad were paying for it. Most of the problem is that STCW training is not worth the cost, and that we have to pay for it during a weak job market.


Care to come with some proof of;
A: American maritime training being somehow superior.
B: Which countries where STCW training and certification are being “pencil whipped”


Well they’re mostly pencil whipped in the US so no reason to believe it would be any different anywhere else…


There is a good reason. It is called STCW and most of the world complies with it, even for an “81 GT tugs upon GL and inland waters”.


Ok, when I say “pencil whipped” I mean when you go to a class, sit there for the required number of hours on your phone playing poker or stalking your old high school girlfriend on snapchat, and at the end they just hand you a certificate. I didn’t mean that you didn’t actually have to show up and pay for a course.

But let’s be honest, who got a lot out of their “Leadership and Managerial Skills” course? I know I didn’t. But I did get a certificate!


That may be the American way. It is examination time for the Maritime Schools in Norway soon and I can assure you that the candidates, both Operational (1st year) and Administrative (2nd year), will be put through their phases.

How do I know?? Because I’ll be there to watch them to make sure they are.
The exams starts 14. May and is only completed 05. June. The examinations are all written, either in long hand or on computers and there are no “multiple choice” style.

This is similar in other countries in the world, with few if any following the American model of “hawespiping”.


It’s exam time at the seven American maritime academies too. The students completing their 4th year are sitting for their USCG licenses. They will also receive their college baccalaureate degrees (the equivalent of an “Honours” degree in the UK).

Hawespiping was the only way prior to WW II. Now, it’s nearly extinct in deep draft shipping. However, hawespiping will remain the primary means of advancement for officers on small reason it shouldn’t.

It’s only the for-profit school STCW courses for existing US mariners that are low quality. It may be better in Norway, but most of the world is probably worse.


I think you meant it’s exam re-take time at the state academies, and “oh #$%^ the license exam is 6 weeks away” time at USMMA. Most of the state academies sit in December/January and the spring is spent taking re-takes of the bits they failed the first time.


Ok. Students are now taking there final college course exams, and those who failed USCG license exams in January are re-taking them.


The Academy system in the US and the Maritime Schooling system in most other countries are very different. (with a few exceptions)
The two years of schooling are dedicated to maritime subjects (incl. Maritime English) and do not involve college degrees, or military training.

In Norway and most of the world basic Maritime training as required by STCW is given in government schools. Additional training, such as Sea Survival etc. as required by Maritime Authorities of the various flag states for compliance with IMO rules may be given by private institutions, such as Falk, MSTS etc. that is certified to do so. They may also issue certificates that is recognized by most Maritime Authorities in the world.


I’m a hawespiper. Been sailing on a license for 16 years. You might go to one of the unions and get your classes that you need for free. The unions are screaming for 3/AE now days. Thats what I would do.


Why the huge need for 3 A/E’s? Think with all the academy grads they wouldn’t need many.