NMC has me baffled

Has anyone else encountered this?

I am currently upgrading to Chief Mate Unlimited. MY classes are all complete and the application was submitted in December. I was at sea until last week, and when I checked the NMC website, my application was held up pending payment if the Issuance fee. Yet I have not received an approval letter to test, and was told by my evaluator I could not until I paid said issuance fee. So I paid it last night, and today received an email (with a blank attachment), saying I needed flashing light before my credential can be issued. But I still need to test. Anyone getting Catch-22-type answers from NMC?

I am getting ready to send my package in for Chief Mate. I hope that I do not experience the same delays because I want to test as soon as possible once I submit the package while it is all still fresh on my mind. Dec-Apr is not an acceptable amount of time. I am surprised they left it open for that long. I thought they sent everything back if the App was not complete after 90 days.

I am just now hearing that 90 day thing as well. I did read something on the NMC application status page that I had 90 days to reply to a request for more information or my application would be closed. I find it odd they are still so out of touch. Especially at the Unlimited level, a 90 day hitch at sea is considered short, so many might find it hard to comply in time.

The information that made my application incomplete was the lack of proof of transfers to maintain my Tankerman PIC endorsement. Odd, in that I haven’t submitted a discharge from a tank vessel or barge since 1999. You’d think they’d be able to sort that out. I had to send an email specifically saying they could remove it. Like the Coast Guard needs my permission for anything!

Here’s the latest. NMC will now not issue an approval to test until after I submit a Flashing Light course certificate. Used to be you’d just have to submit it before they would issue the license. Things have really gotten out of order. So, if that is in fact now policy, I recommend getting that done ASAP. Good luck.

I knew that about the flashing light. They used to let you bring the cetificate in on the day of the test or even take it there, but now they do not even offer the test. You have to take it at a school. So I took Flashing light already even though my package won’t be turned in until July. Good Luck on your approval. Nothing but renewals once we get past this.

When I sent my packet (also for CM unlimited) to the REC I included a payment form with payment for evaluation only. The REC sent a letter saying the application was incomplete because I didn’t pay the testing and issuing fees as well. I called the NMC and they said the REC was wrong and that I could wait until I was approved for testing before paying the remaining fees. The REC then forwarded the file to the NMC. The NMC website listed it as received and pending evaluation on March 10, and the status has not changed since. I hope the NMC is not waiting for more fees!?

If there is a fee issue, you will see it after it hits the evaluators desk. It will say “awaiting info” You are probably still awaiting assignment to an evaluator.

Since they are effectively switching between license and MMC right now, you will be delayed even more.

I am curious to see what the total time from submission to issuance with an exam will be. I can see 1-2 months to get the package evaluated, another week to get a test date, and then how long to actually get the license issued once the scores are submitted? I can see this easily being a 90-120 day process.

Please keep us posted.


Not out of touch. Treying to effect a culture change to discourage sending incomplete applications, it wastes time and slows things for everyone.

Fair enough. I can understand the culture of change. And having Mr. Cavo to reply to questions is a blessing. From 1999 to 2007, I never once got Miami REC to answer the telephone, and they never returned a call for messages left. So some things are much improved.

However, my issue is that change requires information. In the “old days” (pre-NMC), I always payed in evaluation fee when submitting the application, testing fee the day of testing, and issuance fee after passing test. Plus the flashing light certificate was submitted anytime before issuance.

So why, when Miami REC accepted my application, did they not tell me it was incomplete without the issuance fee (but not the testing fee) and flashing light certificate? Likely because they didn’t know. Which is what I find so frustrating. The REC’s workload has been dramatically reduced, yet they still can’t get it right. The idea of eliminating incomplete applications is great, but that can only be accomplished at the REC level.

I know these seem like minor annoyances, but with actually having to go to work (I’ve been away since Dec 21st, and won’t return home until the April 27th) it means the Coast Guard has had my application since early December, and I still haven’t been approved to test, all for a 10 minute test on a subject I will absolutely NEVER use.

At least by bitching about this online, maybe at least more of you will not make the same mistakes I did.

I have to agree with Mike about the REC’s not really knowing the rules. But, I just encountered a situation where the NMC has really screwed me. I got a letter last week saying that my physical was too old (5 years). Now, I KNOW that I have a physical in my file that is about 2 1/2 years old, which is within the 3 year limit for raise-in-grade, so I called them Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and spoke to people. Finally, on Thursday, I got a call from a woman in the medical department telling me that they had NO physical in my file. I said, “There shoud be at least 2,” and she says nope. I asked, “Is this what happens when files move to WV?” and she says “Yea, it happens a lot.” Wonderful! Meanwhile, the first person I spoke to at the NMC on Monday told me she would email Medical to find out about it, because she can’t call them, because there’s nobody to answer the phone. WHAT?? I don’t know - it just seems that you have to have a several month period buffered into your schedule for them to do whatever it is that they do.