Military Deck Watch Officers

I’m a BM1 with the USCG currently serving aboard a 175’ buoy tender as the OPS Petty Officer (DWO qualed) and my previous units were a 420’ Ice Breaker (DWO qualed) and a 378’ and 210’. For the most part I have spent my entire career at sea. When I retire I would like to get a job with MSC or a cargo company. I realize that the USCG and Navy have different requirements for being a Deck Watch Officer and they differ somewhat than the civilian side. Would I be wasting my time getting a masters 100 ton license or should I be trying to knockout my STCW’s and working for a third mates license? All in all I really enjoy working on deck as a BM (i.e., CraneOPS, BoatOPS, Towing, Unrep, Fas, and etc) is it possible in the civilian world to be a BM or Deckie but still pull a U/W OOD watch on the bridge? Do only officers qualify U/W OOD? I have paid for my TWIC just waiting to pick it up and start the process.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

With a DWO qual (depending on how long you have held it) you should be able to get a 1600 Master and a 2nd Mate right off the bat (assuming you get your assessments and STCW courses done). If you go the route of 1600 Master you should only need about 4 or 5 STCW courses, then do 360 days on your license on vessels over 200GRT & then apply for your unlimited.
For your original license, your time as DWO will count as 1 day for 2, every day as DWO counts as 2, 8 hour days for your license. Check out the MArine Safety Manual, Chapter 2. If you go this route you will have to test once for the Master 1600 and again for the 3M or 2M (whichever one you qualify for) without taking any additional STCW courses.

Your other option is to go directly to 3M or 2M. For this route you will still need to do your assessments but then you will need 12 STCW courses. After you have your 2M, your can then take another 70 question crossover exam to get your 1600 Master.

Your assessments might be the most difficult part but you can get them signed off while you are still on active duty. Do a search for NMC policy letter 01-02 and 16-02 and print off all the assessments in each letter. There are 83 in 01-02 and 1 in 16-02, get your CO to sign you off and you are well on your way! (Once they are signed off make copies!!!

Whether or not you get a 100 ton is totally up to you. Right now 100 ton captains are finding it difficult to find work.

Good Luck

“is it possible in the civilian world to be a BM or Deckie but still pull a U/W OOD watch on the bridge? Do only officers qualify U/W OOD?”

While there are always odd exceptions to the rules, the basic answers are no and yes. If you are working for MSC and/or a union ship, doing work outside of your own job discription will be seen as as eating from someone elses rice bowl, a definate no-no.
Good news is as a Licensed Deck Officer you will be supervising the evolutions you mentioned: CraneOPS, BoatOPS, Towing, Unrep, Fas, and etc.
IMO,you’ll probably get approved to test for AB- 1600 Master- 3rd Mate, shoot for that on your initial application for your original License. Can you apply now? Do it if possible.

One additional suggestion. Apply for the credentials as soon as you’re eligible. Many USCG people don’t do so, and when they get around to applying some find that their last assignment on a cutter was too long ago to meet requirements that some sea time be recent. Contact me if you have other questions, I am in the USCG “global” directory.