I would think tug companies prefer to hire master/mate of towing, but are people with a master/mate w/ towing endorsement still desirable? How much are the endorsement-licensees at a disadvantage?
I’m not sure what you are asking. When you ask about the “towing endorsement” do you mean an officer endorsement (licernse) as “master of towing vessels” or do you meqan a commercial assistance towing endorsement to a license for 200 GRT or less?
You are asking a pretty relevant question. Unfortunately the USCG recently ‘relaxed’ the requirements, allowing people to ‘cross over’ from say… Yachts, or ships to Tugs. Now it only takes 30 days ‘experience’, and a signed TOAR if you have greater than a 200 ton license. Prior to that it ‘only’ took a year of experience on towing vessels (regardless of your license, or past experience.)
The funny part is, once a person renews their license, and it says: (for example) “Joe Blow is licensed as Master of vessels of not more than 500 GT upon…; Also Master (or Mate as applicable) of towing vessels.”
This is REGARDLESS of how they got the towing endorsement! The only time you would be able to tell is initially when the person gets the time and TOAR signed off, while holding a license prior to renewal.
Your question about who the company prefers is moot. Anyone with a good resume, [U][B]and no incidents[/B][/U] is preferable, regardless of how they got their license.