Recent Maritime Grad working as a Deckhand

Due to covid, several 3/M exam sessions have been cancelled. They are now rescheduled, but I am backed up until January. In the meantime, I have accepted as position as a Deckhand working on my OS rating I held prior to entering the academy. The ship I am on has an opening for an AB. I am wondering, if I can manage to get an AB exam scheduled, if the coast guard would accept my cadet sea time? Anyone know about this?

I would think sea time is sea time towards a rating.

I believe the answer is no, but @jdcavo will know better. Academy sea time is only good for the academy training program.

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Did you graduate and officially complete the program? I wasn’t aware that AB was contingent on passing the 3M exams when you graduate. Maybe @jdcavo would know.

That’s right. It’s not sea time per se, it’s a (required) part of a program. The program is an alternate path to 3rd Mate from accumulation of sea time. You might be able to convince NMC to accept it as entry level time, but even if you did, getting AB has the same issue, AB requires a test.

Academy graduates are not getting AB from accumulation of sea time, they are qualifying via the alternative [46 CFR 12.403(b)(1)] of graduating from a “school ship.” It had been “made to appear” to the Coast Guard that the academy programs are “adequate to equip the deck and engineering students theoretically and physically in the rudiments of seamanship and navigation,” see 46 CFR 166.01.

Yes, but does that require passing the 3M exams in order for them to qualify?

Sorry the only under license time that counts for promotion is that if you already had your 3rd mate license 180 days of the 360 days you need to get your 2nd mate license could be Able Seaman time. But you have to do 2 days as Able to get one day credit as 3rd Mate. Same rule applies for Engineers.

He doesn’t have his 3/M yet, and he doesn’t have AB either.

I don’t think “Texas Sailor” has tested for 3/M, he or she is currently shut out by the closure of the RECs. But not really. Academy cadets only qualify for AB when they graduate, i.e. complete all of the program requirements. For the state academies, taking the exam is not the last step to graduation, At most of them there are still outstanding course and STCW assessment requirements, and for some, “sea time” or more accurately, a placement as cadet on a commercial ship or a cruise on the training ship. The exception is Kings Point. For them, the only remaining requirement to graduate is to pass the exam - they test at the end of the Spring trimester after completing all required courses, assessments, and sea time.

This also appears to be a somewhat unique case and there appears to be other issues here as the poster hasn’t tested with the rest of the academy. Texas often has a lot of unique cases that don’t follow the typical progression.

He hasn’t tested yet, that was made clear on the OP. I wasn’t sure if the approval for the academy graduates getting AB was contingent on them passing the 3M exams.

Maybe not at all schools but in my experience all that is done before cadets are approved to test.

Don’t some (at least one) of the schools test in May after graduation?

Texas Maritime has nothing to do with AB. I am asking if my sea time as a cadet would be applicable to AB. This is something I’m doing to pad my resume and earn extra money while I am waiting my turn to test in January. Even after I pass all exams, it will likely be a good while before I hire on as a 3/M. I’m just trying to fill the needed position of AB where I’m at, and have the ability to move elsewhere as necessary. Many companies won’t even hire 3/M, but rather hire ABs and promote from that.

I was just looking for a clear cut “yes the USCG will accept your sea time for AB” or “no, sorry go to sea as an OS like everyone else”. Sorry for any confusion.

Why doesn’t it? You get AB Unlimited after graduating from an Academy.

If you have documentation of the sea time like discharges or a sea service letter from the company I can’t see why it won’t count but it likely won’t be enough sea time to get AB Special (360 days). Maybe if you have enough OS time from your current position plus whatever sea time you got at the academy that would her you there.

Please forgive me for being irritable. I got frustrated because most of the conversation was over stuff that should have been clear from the original post.

Except you didn’t give all the details in the first post. Did you graduate and do you have the completion certificate from your school? Or do they require you to pass the exams to get the certificate? Plus, the academies all have different requirements for things so since you didn’t even say which school it was we couldn’t assume anything.

And most notably, you didn’t explain why you didn’t test with the rest of your class. That’s a huge red flag that there is more going on than you have disclosed. Those in an academy core program, on track for graduation do not test at RECs, the Coast Guard comes to the academy. This happened notwithstanding the REC closure. If you didn’t test with your class, and need to test at an REC suggests that something in your case differs from the norm.

Lose the irritability. It won’t serve you well as an OS or a new 3rd Mate.


To the OP; take Mr. Cavo’s advice. Sailing as Master, I hate to say but new grads from any school are batting, at best, .333 right now if they come to us to start as unlicensed. Too much attitude, not enough focus on doing the basics of showing up for watch in a timely manner ready to work.

There are lots of experienced mariners sitting on the beach right now and we have little patience to deal with attitude. If someone shows up willing to learn and get to work, that is a HUGE step towards the wheelhouse or ECR. That type of person makes it easier to teach and mentor.

Yes. You correctly put all the necessary info in the OP.

Holy Crap. In this day, age, environment you got a job!!!

Good for you. You have: No license. No further endorsements.

And yet still you got a job.

I would think each and every classmate would be EXTREMELY jealous that you can work and make $$

Be thankful for the paycheck. Gain some seniority where you can work now. Learn. Keep your yap shut (unless it’s to ask: how, why, best way)

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Texas A&M, at least when I was there, you had to schedule and arrange your exam at an REC, before or after graduation. It was put on the student. However, this should also be handled through student services, another lack of caring for students from an academy. You really should be working with the department head and student services to see what options you have during these times. Utilise them, instead of all the crotchety people on here, you paid for it.

I appreciate it. I am working with them, I also figured I’d come here to see what’s what.