Mate 500 to 3rd Mate this true?

I’m surfing the interwebs and I found this:

“Also consider this: If you qualify for Master 500 or Master 1600, you also qualify for Mate of the same tonnage. Apply for both, because there is no path from Master to 3rd Mate Unlimited, but the Mate 500/1600 test is the same test for 3rd Mate and if you pass it once you can upgrade with only sea time on appropriate tonnage.”

This is where I found it:

My question is…is this accurate information, and if so, can someone point me to the corresponding supporting documentation?
Thanks in advance Shipmates.

It’s a little misleading, and patially outdated. “There is no path…” as in there are no special provisions for someone holding Master to get 3rd Mate. But, any sea time you used for your previous licenses can be used again for 3rd Mate, as long as it’s all over 100 GRT. Of greater import, and not mentioned in the artcile, is that any so-called “unlimited” license, including 3rd Mate requires half of the time to be on vessels over 1,600 GRT. If you don’t have this, you will get a tonnage limit calculated from the tonnage of the vessels you have served on, see 46 CFR 11.402.
So, while there might not be a test to go from Mate 500/1600 to 3rd Mate, without that time on vessels over 1,600 GRT, your 3rd Mate might be limited to as little 2,000 GRT. I am also unsure if you would be allowed to apply for Mate and Master of the same tonnage at the same time, and even if you do, you would need to take the full tests for both endorsements. You would need to consider whether taking 6 more modules for Mate is worth it for the speculative chnace that you might apply for 3rd Mate in the indeterminate future.

Finally, note that the article was written in 2015. Since then, grandfathering for STCW has ended. The article was written from the perspective of going from Master 200 to Master 500/1600. At the time the article was written, you could do that with relatively little STCW training and no assessment. That no longer applies, you would need the complete training and assessment for both OICNW and Master. That effectively ends the path from Master 200 to Master 500 unless you will work where STCW is not required.

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The Mate 500 and Mate 1600 licenses should be eliminated, as should all trade restricted limitations (OSV, fishing, Mate 500 with mate of Towing, etc.).

The USCG should give the 3rd Mate exam (as it does now) and then issue only the 3rd Mate license with an appropriate tonnage limitation, 500, 1600, 2000, etc. If an applicant also qualifies for towing with seatime and a TOAR, then he should also get a towing endorsement.

The USCG is creating a lot of unnecessary confusion, extra applications, and expense, for mariners, the industry, and itself. The USCG is wasting a lot of resources by not simply issuing 3rd Mate in the first place.

It’s probably the same problem on the engineering side too. Just test everyone for 3ae and make that the minimum license. 3ae should include DDE authority. Probably DDE, fishing, OSV etc should be eliminated.

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Let me speak to my circumstances specifically…
I hold Mate 500 (NC), have all the necessary sea time including time in-tonnage. If I had all 81 assessments signed off, would I still be required to test for 3rd Mate Unlimited?

If you tested for Mate 500 GRT after February 2002 then you don’t need to test for 3rd Mate. Also, one can apply, test for, and receive 3rd Mate without doing the classes and assessments, you just won’t have OICNW so your license won’t be very useful.

I’m still kinda confused…in your first sentence you say I don’t need to test (I tested for and received my Mate 500 after 2/02). Then you said I could test for and get 3rd Mate, just without OINCW. I don’t know if it matters, I hope I’m not sounding dumb here…but I have OINCW <300T and over 540 days over 1600T.
I really do appreciate everyone’s helpful input.

You specifically don’t need to test, I was making a general statement based on misreading the last line in your previous question.

I thought you were asking if you’d be allowed to test if you had the assessments signed off. The test is for the domestic license and the assessments are for the STCW endorsement so doing the assessments or not doesn’t effect the requirement to test.

Thanks, again…much appreciated.

See the note for “Incease in Scope” under the listing for 3rd Mate on page 14 of the NMC Exam Guide:

Increase in Scope: Applicants Increasing Scope from Mate Less than 500-1600 GRT to Third Mate on the same route may do so without further examination.