Foreign Marine Professional looking to obtain USCG License

As a deckie, I’m not very knowledgeable about engine certification requirements, nor do I need to be.

I asked those questions mostly for your benefit.

If you are going to go the deckineer on a tug route, I think getting Tankerman Assistant might be a plus. If you end up being a deckineer on a tug towing an oil barge, you just need 90 days (60 - 12 hour days) and 10 transfers to upgrade to Tankerman.

Tankerman on a US tug/barge pays about $500 a day.

It has to be a “Tankship Familiarization: Dangerous Liquids” or “Tankship Dangerous Liquids” course specifically approved (by the USCG) for the tankerman endorsement. See 46 CFR 13.121(c ).

Ah right, sorry didn’t realize you were a Deckie! I’ll be working through some answers to the questions you posed and will see what I can come up with.

I think that with the CFRs, I would like to think that they would give you the material to look them up and not expect you to know them off the top of your head, because that’s pretty hectic. Either way, I’ll have a look through them and see what I can learn. Chem data sheets should be fairly easy for me to get my head around.

For the Assistant Tankerman, I didn’t add that in for the credentials I applied for, so that might be something to do for the future.

They provide the CFRs to look things up in the exam room. However, looking things up in the CFR requires practice and acquired skills. While the CFRs are in English, turgid CFR English is a foreign language to most of US


Cool. Will have to get some practice in learning how to look things up on them. It’s all the same with the rules and regs regardless of your flag state. It’s all Greek to me!

OK, so took all my exams yesterday and this morning and somehow managed to pass them all. So now I have a QMED Any Rating MMC on it’s way to me hopefully!
Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who gave their time, opinions, advice and experience and helped me get through this. Honestly I’d have been stuffed if it weren’t for you guys!
Will be looking to try and pick up some temporary work during my next leave with a view to build up my US flagged sea time for the future.
Cheers guys!


Good show!


@tugsailor Thanks! Will say that the examiner looked at me a little odd when I told him my intentions were to sit as many of the modules in the first day as possible to see where I needed to be the second day. At the end of the first day he chuckled when he ticked the box saying I’d met the minimum requirement of two modules in the one day, when I’d sat seven!
Just ticked myself off with failing the Fireman Watertender module because looking back, I know I rushed it and made stupid mistakes. Which meant I had to sit the two Junior Engineer modules when I would have otherwise not have had to. Oh well, I live and learn right?

Alright Chaps?

Have another quick question for those of you who seem to be able to navigate the USCG NMC a LOT better than I seem to be able.

So I know it’s a ways off yet, but I started looking into where I’d be able to go in terms of licensing and credentials and what not once I gain my Citizenship, with the end goal being me attaining my USCG STCW Chief Engineer Unlimited license.

From what I’m reading, once I gain my Citizenship, and if I have the right amount of sea service (i.e. if I’ve managed to get myself some time under the US flag OR the USCG will accept my foreign sea service) and I complete my US STCW trainings, I would be able to apply and test for Designated Duty Engineer. Then moving on from there, after 24 months sea service as DDE National, I’d be eligible to apply and test for USCG STCW Chief Engineer 3000KW/4000HP or more.

Have I got this at all right or am I well off on what I’m thinking? Can anyone shed some light on this for me because, like I said, it’s some way off yet, but I’d like to get my ducks in a row kind of thing and have the information in hand. More than likely I’m waaaay off the mark and I’ve got it all backwards again, but then I’m not going to bother asking NMC as they were not much use with helping me get my QMED.

Hoping that this might be able to help some others out as well who’re looking for the same information.

Cheers guys! And smooth sailing!

I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be able to go straight to Chief Engineer Unlimited, there’s definitely no reason to start all the way down at DDE.

All of your sea time is meticulously documented, correct?

I didn’t realize that would even be a possibility. So looking through the checklist, as long as I attained all the US based STCW certification required and took and passed the exams, there is the potential for me to go straight to the Chief Engineer Unlimited based off my current sea time?

All my sea time is fully documented and was accepted for my QMED application without individual Sea Service Letters, so I would think that it would all be accepted for applying to test for a Chief Engineer Unlimited, but still a few things to get done before I can start applying.

Thanks for the info, always appreciated.

How much time do you have as Second Engineer?

There is no requirement in the rules for the time as an officer to have been licensed by the USCG.

46 CFR §11.510

(a) The minimum service required to qualify an applicant for endorsement as chief engineer of steam, motor, and/or gas turbine-propelled vessels is—

(1) One year of service as first assistant engineer; or

(2) One year of service while holding a license or MMC endorsement as first assistant engineer. A minimum of 6 months of this service must have been as first assistant engineer, and the remainder must be as assistant engineer. Service as an assistant engineer other than first assistant engineer is accepted on a two-for-one basis to a maximum of 6 months (2 days of service as a second or third assistant engineer equals 1 day of creditable service).

I can see them scrutinizing sea time more when it’s used to go straight to Chief Unlimited than when it’s used for QMED but I don’t know if that will be the case.

Hi there, I am also a foreign marine professional, from Australia, holding an MCA and Australian engineers license. I have recently become a US citizen and also applied for my USCG credentials. After a long wait and a few changes to my application I was approved to test for the following.
3rd Assistant Engineer AHP.
DDE Motor AHP.
On completion of exams I will also be issued QMED any rating.

Afternoon Capt_Phoenix,

So I had 18 months as 2nd and have just over 2 years on my Chief’s ticket, last 18 months sailing as Staff Chief (Chief Engineer License required). Reading through the rules, I should think that my time should be sufficient, but then comes the interpretation as to what First Assistant and Assistant would be with regards to my sea time. I sailed as 2nd Engineer for give or take 4 years, 1st Engineer for give or take 4 years and Staff Chief for the last 18 months. If they would take 2nd as Assistant and 1st as First Assistant, or if they would take 1st Engineer as Assistant and Staff Chief as First Assistant, if that makes sense?

I would expect them to look into my Sea Time a little closer than they did with my QMED, but I’ve more than met the requirements for the UK MCGA and NSI (Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate) with regards to documenting Sea Service, so hopefully that’ll be good.

What license do you hold from the MCGA and Aus?

When you say after a long wait, how long roughly did it take for them to come back and let you know you were able to test? And what changes did you have to make with your application? Just curious to see what I might have in store for me.

You’re using terminology I can’t translate. You need a year as what the USCG calls “1st Assistant Engineer”, known as “2nd Engineer” by STCW standards, to sit for Chief Unlimited. The second in command of the engine room.

And this is what I was meaning. One of the things I need to check is how the terminology the USCG uses would translate across to what I’m actually sailing as, or have sailed as, onboard.

For example, here onboard the Staff Chief Engineer is second in command of the Engine Room. With other companies it would be 1st Engineer or 2nd Engineer depending on the company, type of vessel and so on. But these are normally company specific positions and not related to the flag requirements or STCW. And of course, trying to get a clear answer from NMC regarding this is about as easy as finding hen’s teeth…

That’s because cruise ships are fucking weird with their “staff captain” who is actually the chief mate and their Chief Mate who is actually a second mate. (The same goes for the engineers.)

You should be good, you’ll just need to explain everything to them. Push hard for Chief but the worst case scenario that I can see is you only getting approved for First Assistant Engineer and Chief Limited.

Well, yes we are weird, but this is the norm for us and a way to increase the manning levels based off the safe manning documents. You’re right, we don’t have Chief Mate anymore but their function is now the Staff Captain. We have a 1st Mate, but they are a Safety day work function and don’t work as a typical Chief Mate would.
Likewise for the Engineers, the Staff Chief fulfills the function that a 1st Engineer would elsewhere and the 1st Engineer is pretty much just a “Senior” 2nd Engineer function. With the manned machinery spaces, we do need additional personnel and this was one way to make sure we got them. And to make everyone feel more important.
Will go for trying to explain everything to them and hope that they understand it sufficiently to allow me to test for Chief Engineer. But if they don’t then at least it would be a step in the right direction.