License as Master of Towing Vessel - 81GT Inland route

Customer runs an 81GT, 61’ T/V on Inland Waters. He holds a Mate (Pilot) of Towing Vessels upon GL and Inland Waters, Master 100 GT Inland and Mate 150 GT Near Coastal. to serve as Master on that boat, does he need the full Master of Towing Vessels upon GL/Inland waters?

Yes, he needs Master of Towing. If he only operates on Inland waters other than the Great Lakes, or Western Rivers, then he would only need an Inland Route. If he operates on Great Lakes he needs a Great Lakes route. If he operates on Western Rivers he needs a Western Rivers route.

Am I missing something, or is there some details you haven’t given? The license as Master of Towing Vessels, and the requirements to hold it, have been around now for 17 years. Is anyone in that segment of the industry really unaware of whether they need the license?

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Your question answered itself.

What’s the confusion?

Oh. I think plenty of small companies that operate tugs have very little understanding of the rules. And some just don’t care.

I think that most tugboat owners with a 100 ton Master, and a Mate of Towing, would not hesitate to call it “close enough” and run his own boat.

I often hear: “ We’ve always done it this way and we haven’t had any problem”.

And if only I had $100 for everytime I’ve heard an owner say: “ Don’t worry about it, if the USCG has a problem with it, we’ll pay the fine.”


Excuse my apparent idiocy - I just got back into licensing last August after being away from the Licensing Pgm since 1997 - when these were simply Operator Uninspected Towing Vsl - remember? I’m catching up on TOARs and the new world order. Just didn’t want to steer this guy with a Mate (Pilot) Inland astray before I was up to speed.


It seems rather straightforward though. He has a mate license and he wants to be master on the boat. That’s not allowed.

The NVIC is 112 pgs… I figured it couldn’t hurt to forum the question


OK. The answers here are right. See 46 CFR 15.805(a)(5).

You call him your “customer” , do you sell advice on licensing?

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The Mate (Pilot) is a customer of the educational facility I work for. He inquired, I went to multiple sources to get consistency for the best answers -