Hawsepiper lost in the red tape

<P> I have been viewing this forum for over a month now, I recently got into the field as a deckhand with a New Orleans tugboat harbor assist company. I work 12 hour shifts and have been out here about 100 days. </P>
<P> What I am trying to find is this and I could have it all wrong…I want to make sure to be ready as each license/upgrade is available. I know I am eligible for my AB-special and 100 ton master at 360 Days. Having read the requirements for the 200t I was wondering if I should get my mate of 25-200 (180 days). And if so what are the requirements? Lifeboatman, STCW etc. Theres a lot here and I get reimbursed by my company for any classes I take. I know the USCG days are 8 hours, so 360=240 12 hour days and so on. </P>
<P> Also if there is a test involved, does anyone know where I can get good study guides as I go? and is there one for the mate 25-200?</P>

Thanks in advance, Shane R. bewildered deckhand

Your wasting your time getting a mate for anything less then a 500 ton, and only then is it a worth while if your coming up from the deck on workboats. The reason for this is you will be doing the same exact thing as a captain and in some cases making less then an AB. Plus when ever you want to get your master you have to go retest.
Now are you wanting to just get your license or do you want to drive tugs?

You must have missed previous posts which mention The New Hawespipe, by Leonard Lambert. This is something that you can look at and use to help plot your future. You can even read it on watch! If the captain bitches, Tell 'em, I said it’s okay, it’s continuing education.


While your at it, rob a couple of extra dollars from your lumpy mattress and look on Amazon.com for Max Hardberger’s book, Freighter Captain. This book is out of print, but you can buy it from used book retailors on Amazon for less than $15. This book has nothing to do with your career path. It’s one of the most entertaining and interesting books that you will read in 2009 while sitting on your bewildered butt trying to figure out a career path.

Shane, it takes 720 8-hour days / 480 12-hour days to get your Master <100 GRT, not 360 days. Also, you are eligible for AB-Special at 180 8-hour days / 120 12-hour days.
Go to http://towmasters.wordpress.com/sea-time/ for the sea-time flyers for all positions that explains it in detail and without the confusing government-speak.
Then go to the INFO page for links to training institutions, licensing info, etc.
For study guides go to http://www.metonlinebookstore.peachhost.com/ct_CGlicensestudybooksandreferencematerials.htm . For AB certification and the limited-tonnage licenses, Richard Block’s Blue Books are very good. I used them to get to Master <1,600GRT. Also check out www.hawespipe.net and www.lapware.org as well.
If you intend to stay working in the towing industry I would definitely say that the licenses of less than 500 GRT are not a waste of time at all, although you should strive for getting as much license as you can eventually. A Mate of Towing Vessels license will get you into the wheelhouse in most cases.
Good luck…

Shane, AB Special after 240-12 hour days, then <strong>another</strong> 240-12 hour days (on the right size boat) for 100 ton Master.
There’s a license called Limited Master, with 240-12 hour days but that is a “Launch Tender”. You don’t want that.

Whatever you decide, do what requires you to send an application to the USCG NMC lest often; don’t punish yourself by applying to them for things you wont get a job with but “just to have it”. An AB endorsement can be vary valuable and take you lots of places, don’t overlook this fact.