Hawspiper opportunities? (education, certs, shoreside)

As a young hawspiper currently employed holding a 3A/E unlimited license. Does anyone of have recommendations on how to further your education to open up possibilities landslide should the day ever come? Does anyone know if any of the colleges will credit you some courses for already having your license? Or any suggestions on certificate programs to to make yourself more competitive outside of a union should the need ever arise? Only asking as there is something slightly unnerving at times when your only solid income option pretty much takes away the goal of having a decent family life. It would be different if it were easier to find shorter rotations I suppose.

That said, I was also curious as to whether I was reading the CFR correctly in understanding that to maintain an MMC you need 1 year of sea time over 5 years?


If you are a member of the SIU the answer is yes, http://www.seafarers.org/paulhallcenter/schoolcatalog/56076_siu_catalog_p65_c4.pdf. Thomas Edison College use to give credit for Calhoon MEBA school courses as well as AMO’s Star Center but I am not sure if that is still the case.

You can renew if you don’t have the 1 year of sea service. Fore tyhe license, you would be mailed an open-book test to do at home. For STCW, you would need refresher training:

Basic Training
Proficiency in Survival Craft
Advanced Firefighting.

If you have the one year in five, for STCW you would need Basic Training REVALIDATION (shorter than refresher) and Advanced Firefighting Revalidation.

Also for STCW for either of the two options, you would need engine resource management and leadership and teamworking skills if the last time you renewed or were issued the original before 1/1/2017. For OICEW/3rd AE, the leadership and teamworking can be assessments on a ship instead of a course.

1 Like

Thomas Edison and SUNY are two of the hundreds of colleges that give college credit for life experience, professional licenses, certain exams, portfolios, etc. A licensed 3AE shouldn’t have much problem studying onboard to get a college degree in a year or two.

Not sure what your primary concern is, better rotation sailing job or future shore job?

Better rotation, decent job security, license time and opportunities to sail on raised licenses? Try to get on with a drilling contractor. Sailing on drill ships and semis is 12 hour days so even with day for day rotation you accumulate license time at a decent rate. You will see lots of equipment and machinery you might not otherwise.

Shoreside job? What are you looking for? More in the trade side or engineering technical side?
Trades - on your time off look into you state’s licensing for stationary engineers or waste water operators. Some course work at a community college may be required or your previous experience and license may count for something. Depending on where you live you could look into mill wright or mechanical contractor type firms, industrial level not residential. They install and repair big machinery ashore. Talk to them and see what they value as experience. Welding course, educate your self on machinery alignment or vibration analysis. A good licensed marine engineer should be able to act as a foreman installing a machine on a factory floor. How about take whatever training needed for EPA certification on HVAC refrigerant handling?

Technical - you don’t mention if you have a degree but if you hope to engage in design for another firm you need to have some level of formal education. An associates degree may been the minimum that will do you good but it’s hard to take courses while sailing. Perhaps with online offerings theses days or a short leave of absence it could be done.

Either - take a course in engineering economy. This teaches you about lots of valuable things like net present worth, cash flows, return on investment etc which can be used to justify equipment replacements, modifications etc. you’ll become your port engineers or engineering departments best friend. Also hard to escape the fact that as you move up it is hard avoid being an effective communicator and documentor of technical issues, so CAD fluency database skills and technical writing are other subjects to study whether you work sailing or shoreside.


I was recently in Iraq for just under a year in a Port Engineer type position for the Government. They counted that job as sea time, slightly abbreviated because It wasn’t a true boat job. I only note this for you to bring attention to the fact that to accrue sea time, it need not always be strictly vessels.

Unless it has changed I thought for a renewal it was 1 year sailing on your license OR 3 years in a “closely allied” position - in the last 5. So you could renew with 3 years as a port engineer Or a shipyard job etc.

1 Like

I was always able to renew with my time as a Class Surveyor. Sometimes it took some negotiations. . “Do you board ships on a regular basis?” Sigh. . . .

1 Like

It’s one year in five, see 46 CFR 10.227(e)(1)(i).

“Closely related service” is acceptable for reneweal, if you have at least 3 years of it in the past 5 years, see 46 CFR 10.227(e)(1)(iv). If this is used for deck endorsements (e.g. time as a port captain or similar), you would need to take an (open-book) exam in Rules.

The “negotiations” are not entirely unreasonable. Notwithstanding that you are doing this with someone with limited if any experience in the industry, titles like “port captain” and “port engineer” are used very broadly and include a variety of duties, not all of which meet the requirement of being “related to the operation, construction, or repair of vessels.” The use of these titles can, at times, be similar to what’s being discussed here. Personally, I’d prefer someone who asks some probing questions over someone who wants magic words in a letter and doesn’t do anything to verify their veracity.