Mate 1600 Ocean to 3rd?

I’ve read a few threads about people with a similar question but haven’t found a clear enough answer. I recently got my license and I’m trying to figure out the most streamlined approach to getting an unlimited license in the future. I do know it’ll be some time down the road but i’m a planner. Is there a way to go mate to mate without testing or do I need to go master for 360 and test again for 3rd? I work on ATBs so tonnage over 1600 may be a problem. Any career tips for my future upgrade?

You can apply right for 3M when you have 1,080 days of sea time and if you have Mate 1,600 Ocean you already do. You’ll have a tonnage restriction until you can get on something larger but that’s not that big of a deal. The time required over 1,600 GRT to remove the restriction is less than the time on tonnage required to get an original license.