Oicew class question

Currently working as an oiler and taking my 3rd exams. Coast guard just informed me that I have to take the oicew classes engineering terminology, aux machinery, electrical machinery and control systems. I can only find 2 schools who currently do this (mid Atlantic and that one in huston) but the question I have is can I take theses classes before the test? My thought is since I have to take these classe they pertain to the subject matter of the test why not take the class to prep up for the exams.

Why not take them now? Once you are issued an Approved to Test letter, you have one year from the date of that letter to test, or you have to reapply. Can’t hurt to take the classes and then test out.

Wow, I’m glad I hawsepiped under the old rules…


The classes are for the STCW endorsement and the exam is for the national endorsement (license). They are separate endorsements with their own set of requirements. You can get only the national endorsement and get the STCW later, i.e. you can take the exam before the courses. However, since you need to have the national endorsement in ordewr to get the STCW, you can’t do the STCW first.

If you want to get only the license, you should tell NMC you want to get the license only and withdraw the STCW part of your application. When you are ready for the STCW (have taken all the courses) you can re-apply for the STCW. If you do this, make sure that anything like STCW basic training that is time sensitive won’t expire while you work on the other STCW courses.

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Sadly, we now must say good bye to the hawespiper 3rd A/E OICEW STCW sailor. The classes you listed have a going rate of about $10,000+ for all of them. (http://mamatrains.com/engine-room-courses/ ).

Surely the third-world countries that are equivalent STCW certified also require all folks to take these massive amount of highly educational (note: sarcasm) coursework.

A smart QMED could possibly teach all these classes. Why is there no way to test out?

Rhetorical question, right?


Because testing doesn’t transfer $10,000+ into the pockets of the people who wrote the rules.


jdcavo is correct - you can take the exam before the course, however since you need to have the national endorsement in order to get the STCW, you can’t do it the STCW first.

Please give us a call here at the San Jacinto College Maritime Center and we can answer all your questions and get you signed up for the classes you require. We work very closely with you to schedule the required courses around your schedule.

Look forward to hearing from you.

John Stauffer
Maritime Technology & Training Center
San Jacinto College Maritime
281-998-6392 (O)
757-870-9194 ©

How much coin ($$$$$) ???

LOL…well more like wishful thinking, because I’d like to see those with the skills and desire to sail be able to suffer amongst the rest of us. Though, it’s easier to be selfish, like so many are, and just say, “I got mine, good luck”.

The classes are $4,000 each.

Not to derail the thread… though that is exactly what this is going to do more than likely…

Is this system of moving into line with all the STCW requirement slowly just working us to be like many of the other countries where no matter what you do, it will not be feasible to obtain a license in any way other than going to an academy?

It seems a bit ridiculous to me that some of the classes we are required to take come at the cost of thousands of dollars EACH all the while having to complete 5 to 8 of them for an upgrade! The worst part is that many of the classes are not only expensive and required BUT are full of so much “filler” material that plays no part in what we do on a day to day basis to meet a required time allotment. I do not see this as beneficial to the mariner or the industry in any way. Forcing someone to sit through a class that could be taught in 2 to 3 days but having a requirement of 5 only runs the costs on the mariner higher since he ends up having to pay for room and board. If most of the courses got to the point and ensured that you were actually proficient in the material instead of having you learn about the theory of propagation of radio waves or whatever other condition that you have exactly zero control over that is taught in may of the courses, they could be tolerable. Apparently, the point of many of our required courses is not to actually make you proficient but mainly to fill a time slot and drag money out of you.

Now, I do see some courses as beneficial. Firefighting, surely needed. Med care, absolutely… these courses are less than a week long. GMDSS? Two weeks full of useless theory and work on equipment that will be nothing similar to what you have on board more than likely… Where is the priority?

I guess I will end my rant so that I can sit in the realization that I am slowly becoming a sailor in the fact that I am begrudged and unreasonably irritated by this every single time I look at a course only to find out that it is $3,500 or $5,000 but I have to have it so that I can continue to work my up in an industry with falling pay…

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I find it strange that the USCG issues mariners a license indicating one is certified to drive/engineer on a ship. However, if the ship goes beyond a certain line in the water, this mariner’s knowledge evaporates and is meaningless…and more classes and “assessments” are needed.

Mind you, there is not this magic line on the Great Lakes…but there are big ships, and nasty weather, on these bodies of water. Are Great Lakes mariners that lack STCW classes ignorant, dangerous, and unskilled?

The USCG was tasked with merging the STCW and national system. How do they think hundreds of hours of classes and $20,000+ (including travel and room/food expenses) is an acceptable requirement? Many of the men forced to take these classes will undoubtedly know MORE about the material than the instructor!


How many classes are required to get OICEW Motor. And what is required to add Steam or Gas Turbine?

Plead do not include the general STCW classes that everybody takes (Basic, adv fire fighting, lifeboatman, etc) in this number. Thank you for the guidance.

This is another great point. If you want to go a little farther from land… Well, that’ll cost ya!

How many of these classes are comprised of paying for tuition and then listening to some guy who was an officer 35 years ago, tell sea stories simply to fill the time allotment? Those are not the things that I want to pay for and it is not a way to help teach someone (often times they are much more interesting than the course subject.)

I have heard tale that these courses are a push to make it possible to become an officer only by way of an academy or spending PILES of money… this is obviously hearsay as I do not think anyone actually knows this to be true

OICEW Motor is just one course. So there is only one class to get OICEW Motor. Have you already taken OICEW Auxiliary, Instrumentation & Electrical Machinery?
We currently do not offer the OICEW Steam or Gas Turbine. They are only required if you plan to sail on these types of ships.

See 46 CFR 11.329(a)(4)(iv) through (xi). If anyone is not good with math or Roman numerals, it’s 8. It’s one course each to add another mode (steam or gas turbine).

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Yes, it is.

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The USA was dragged kicking and screaming into the STCW scheme. It was opposed by the Jones Act crowd on the premise that it would be a burden on them to have mariners that met international standards. They would either have to pay for their mariners to get up to snuff on the newest requirements or let go a part of the Jones Act stating only US mariners could work in US waters. Neither of these choices were to their liking so they fought it until it was embarrassing. They then worked out a deal where they could get tax dollars to support their in house schools to bring people up to minimum standards, this was especially prevalent in the OSV industry where standards were low already. Meanwhile the entrepreneurs in the US found out they could make money charging people for training required to keep their jobs.
So, at present would be US mariners wanting to sail on ships need to get mom and dad to pay tuition, get a loan at a Mafia inspired interest rate or choose a nice job in the “service” industry.
It is just as well since the demand for US mariners will soon go the way of the demand for buggy whip makers. USA mariners don’t have enough of a voice [money] to change the situation in their corrupt political system. Get used to the new normal. A first world country in decline broken by it’s own hubris.


The nationally required classes are not better either. Almost every single one that I have had to do has been 50% tutor talking about irrelevant matters, 20% drinking weak, cold coffee and talking nonsense in class room and only the rest actual studying, which, by the way, was more like babysitting. Oh and everybody passes! Barely speak a few words in English? No problem either! Instructor will make you pass or you could just be a part of the Yemeni community and have cheats available to you. 96%-100% scores, guaranteed.

STCW mandated classes have actually been some of the better ones, considering.


Because it’s too hard to actually answer the question, I’ll paste it here:

(4) Provide evidence of having satisfactorily completed approved training in the following subject areas:

(i) Medical first-aid provider.
(ii) Basic and advanced firefighting in accordance with §11.303 of this subpart.
(iii) Proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats.
(iv) Engineroom resource management (ERM).
(v) Engineering terminology and shipboard operations.
> (vi) Auxiliary machinery.
> (vii) Gas turbine plants, as applicable.
> (viii) Steam plants, as applicable.
> (ix) Motor plants, as applicable.
> (x) Electrical machinery and basic electronics.
> (xi) Control systems.

So, the bold classes are required, and will likely impart very little knowledge on most candidates. But cost $20,000.

And what problem is this solution solving? Ships are sinking and catching fire every day because OICEW lacked control system training?

The issue is go full STCW or not. The USA seatime requirements aren’t inline with the STCW training requirements. Why require 3 years of seatime for a hawsepiper when he is going to do nearly a full year of university level training?

The USCG is tasked with bring order to a chaotic system. Right now, it probably takes as much seatime and training to become a 3rd mate or A/E as it does to get ATP rated by the FAA to fly a jumbo jet…


I posted a link to the CFR in the assumption/ hope you’d look it up yourself (give a man fish…) That seems to have worked.

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I already knew the answer. I was asking so the information would be presented for others that may be reading this thread…or doing research in the future.