Removal of 100 ton limitation from Master of Towing

I presently hold a Master 200/ 500 ITC Mechanical / Sail Near Coastal
The last renewal, (07/26/2010) I submitted over 720 days sea service on 160-190 ton towing vessels on which I served as mate (training/ deck mate). NMC contends time is not valid due to “out of scope of license”

  1. I was grandfathered a Master of Towing of not more than 100 tons, near coastal endorsement for addition to my license on 02/06/2007 (at that time, 100 ton experience was submitted for documentation to allow grandfather clause) and was told submit 720 days of towing experience, and limitation will be removed. (No mention of tonnage)

  2. When I submitted the request for the Master of Towing, I also applied for Apprentice Mate (Steersman) and the REC Examiner told me he felt it would be redundant to receive the Apprentice Mate (Steersman) endorsement on top of the Master of Towing endorsement, so thru some oversight and or bad advice on his part, I did not receive the Apprentice Mate (Steersman) endorsement. Had I received this endorsement, this issue of scope would not be pertinent. Also, if you follow the flow chart in NVIC 4-01, at the time the grandfather clause was granted, having passed the towing exam for the Apprentice mate (Steersman), the 100 ton limitation should not have been on the endorsement from the beginning. (see Enclosure (1) to NVIC 4-01(2)

  3. Between the time I completed the Apprentice Mate (Steersman) certification (07/30/2006) and while waiting to hear the decision as to whether the Master of Towing was going to be granted, I started working to get a TOAR completed, which I have since submitted.

Any hints on how to deal with this? They have re-newed the original credential, (Master 200/500) but the lady at the NMC suggested I request a “reconsideration” for the raise in tonnage on the Towing Endorsement.


Updating this post, I did indeed go thru the “request for reconsideration” process, and after about a month and a half got an email stating my credential has been issued and it is in the mail. I don’t know which of my arguments or what part of my reasoning helped them change their mind, ( I made 5 different arguments as to why the limitation should be removed) but the out come is great. One other point, I did contact my congressman and ask him to put in a good word for me, whatever it was, I now have a Master of Towing with no limitations on it. Hoo- rah!

[QUOTE=capt.cobb;42143]Updating this post, I did indeed go thru the “request for reconsideration” process, and after about a month and a half got an email stating my credential has been issued and it is in the mail. I don’t know which of my arguments or what part of my reasoning helped them change their mind, ( I made 5 different arguments as to why the limitation should be removed) but the out come is great. One other point, I did contact my congressman and ask him to put in a good word for me, whatever it was, I now have a Master of Towing with no limitations on it. Hoo- rah![/QUOTE]

In all likelihood, it was neither your arguments or input from your congressman. It was most likely the fact that someone else appealed the same issue not long before you and the precedent in that appeal is being applied to you.

To remove the 100-ton limit from a towing vessel license, you need to complete the apprentice mate (steersman) exam (or a course in lieu of). In your case, you’d already done that.

Thank you for your input sir, I certainly wasn’t trying to imply I had some magic argument that made my situation come to a good outcome (for me). I have been trying to get this issue straightened out for almost 5 1/2 years, and I am extremely happy that the issue is finally concluded, for whatever the reason. (My mom always told me not to run my boat faster than my guardian angel can fly)

I mentioned in the first part of this post the subject of “out of the scope” of my license. I have submitted sea service time from my company on these same tugs, same sea service letter, for upgrades of 200 mate, 150 master, 200 master, and the recent renewal of 200 Master Mech. / Sail. Master of Towing (with the 100 limitation). Now when I asked for the removal of the limitation, someone at NMC deemed it “illegal time” and notified the local Tampa Marine Safety Office (MSO) The chief warrant officer there has notified me he intends to prosecute this “Illegal Time” with jail and/ or suspension of my credential. I have shown him the recently fixed/ granted Master of Towing, my recently renewed credential, the TOAR, etc, etc. and he is still contending, "since it wasn’t in your possession at the time of the “infraction”. When I asked the examiner at NMC where this “Illegal Time” issue came from, she couldn’t tell me, so in reality, 3 of 4 times to the NMC my sea service was legal, especially the LAST time when it came from “on high” due to the “request for reconsideration”. Any body got any insight on how to deal with this? I have had my credentials since 1983 with no incidents, and I really don’t want to have a revocation and especially JAIL TIME over this!!!

you might want to consider taking this issue to the next level which is the APPEAL process.

early in my career to get the company I was working for at the time “out of a bind” I worked on a vessel “beyond the tonnage scope of my license”…when I submitted the letters of time for my next renewal/upgrade the REC noticed the anomalie…the company had agreed to use another vessel of the correct tonnage on the letter but of course did not…as a result the time on the vessel was “disallowed”…as I had more than enough time to qualify nothing more was said other than not to do it again!!

I didn’t know that the USCG could “link” a tonnage restriction to an “towing endorsement” less than your principle tonage…ie Master 200ton/MOTV 100ton…that is news to me??

if you have habitually been sailing beyond what the USCG considers the “scope” of your license then I can understand why they might be pissed…if someone is threatening you with jail time I would get it in writing…in fact I would recommend that you only communicate with them in writing from this point forward…BEST LUCK!!

**if you haven’t already…you might be able to get further insight here?? and

The small bit of good news is that you can NOT go to jail as the result of an S&R hearing, the only outcomes are:
Charge not proven
Warning - written or verbal,
Suspension of license, either outright or on probation or in combination, or

You need to prove (or better yet get the REC or NMC to call the IO and ask him to drop the charge) that you were in fact qualified by taking the course, but due to an NMC error your license did not reflect your qualification. Of course it is hard to understand why you thought it was OK to operate a 169 ton tug when you held a Master Towing 100 endorsement…

Normally Revocation is only for serious charges such as incompetence or drug use.

Thank you for all the input, but as far as I knew and I still feel is correct, 46CFR10.464 states in the last stand alone paragraph, holding a completed TOAR negates the need of a towing endorsement, so would supercede any limitations on the MOT endorsement.

Your license does not need a towing
endorsement if you hold a TOAR or a
course completion certificate.
[USCG–1999–6224, 64 FR 63228, Nov. 19, 1999, as
amended at 66 FR 20937, Apr. 26, 2001; 68 FR
35812, June 17, 2003]

When I got the job over 3 years ago the port captain (retired USCG) called a buddy in the REC and checked with him to see if I could be hired. That is when and where we were pointed to the CFR discussing the TOAR making it legal to run the 100-200 ton tugs since I held a Mate 200, then Master 200. There was certainly never any intentional attempt to get around any regulation.

You are correct. You are legal with just a TOAR, IF you hold a license OVER 200 GRT. The full section of that reg with all those pesky details says:
“f) If you hold a license or MMC endorsement as a master of steam or motor vessels [B]of greater than[/B] 200 gross register tons, you may operate towing vessels [B]within any restrictions on your endorsement[/B] if you:
(1) Have a minimum of 30 days of training and observation on towing vessels for the route being assessed, except as noted in paragraph (e) of this section; and
(2) Either–
(i) Hold a completed Towing Officer’s Assessment Record (TOAR) described in Sec. 11.304(h) that shows evidence of assessment of practical demonstration of skills; or
(ii) Complete an approved training course.
(3) Your license or MMC does not need to include a towing endorsement if you hold a TOAR or complete an approved training course.”

I believe you said you held the Master 200, so you were not legal to operate a towing vessel with just the Master 200 and TOAR. Your Master Tow 100 would allow you to operate a tug of less than 100 GRT. In reg language, “a license over 200 GRT” means a Master 500 GRT. But you would still be limited to the tonnage of your license, while a full Master Tow has NO tonnage limit.

BUT, in the event of a marine casualty expect the USCG, NTSB, other company’s lawyer, etc. to take a hard look at your TOAR. They would ask - were all the DE’s approved to sign on the date and route when they signed the TOAR, were any items marked N/A, were all the items signed “too quickly”, etc.
I would strongly recommend anyone sailing on just a TOAR to apply for a towing endorsement at their next credential transaction and make all those pesky questions and doubts go away. :cool:

You have made several mixed metaphors. Have you sailed as a solo watchstander on a towing vessel? Have you sailed simply as a training mate (under the direct supervision of a licensed officer)? You mention that you have had a 100 ton MOTV. Prior to you having the 200ton MOTV in hand did you operate as operator (master or mate) of over 100 tons? NOTE: There is a difference between sailing as a training mate and being your own watchstander in charge of a navigation watch. Is the time being disputed the ‘training’ time? Or is there other time you had while operating (over 200 tons) that has attracted their attention? Was this spelled out clearly to the MSO in Tampa?

Trying to read between the lines, you seem to have assumed that the possession of a TOAR was sufficient to allow you to operate a towing vessel over the 100 tons. It would appear that you were ‘training’ under the understanding that your license covered the vessel. Regardless, if you were employed in the capacity of deckhand and were steering on your time off, or as you could fit it in, then this is not an issue. OOC, what did your sea service letter state? That may be where the confusion is coming from, especially if it was worded wrong.

After re reading the posts, there is a problem with your license. You never needed a TOAR, since you already had a MOTV less than 100 tons. You simply needed the extra sea time to upgrade your license to 200. If the extra seatime is all you needed, and you weren’t sailing in excess of your license, then you’re OK.

As we can see from all the different interpretations in this post of this particular CFR, 10.464, or in the Electronic Code of Fed. Reg. listed as 11.464, there in lies the confusion. The CFR, as are most of them, is written using basically an “Outline” form as found in elementary school English class.
It starts: (a), (b), ©, (d), (e), (f) (f-1), (f-2), (f-2-i), (f-2-ii), (3), The section (f) is referring to over 200gt Master and (f-2-i), pertains to the TOAR for that section, (as quoted by rwells78) (g) thru (g-2-ii) refers to having held a license prior to May 21,2004. The last sentence in that CFR has no Section designation, no sub title designation, no numbering, no lettering, so by rule of grammar and the way “outlines” and designed, this last stand alone sentence should be numbered (g-3) if it pertained only to section (g). I also met all the time (service) requirements listed on the TABLE 10.464-1. Therefore, I feel I was running with-in the scope of my license, holding 200 GT Master w/ a TOAR, because there was never any over 200 ton vessel service.
Well, that is my argument and my reasoning for it, so I guess I will just have to wait and see how it shakes out. Thanks again for everyone’s input.
Thankfully I now have the Master of Towing and my credential is straightened out and in order, and I was removed from duty once the issue was brought up and now have been re-instated. Hopefully, that will satisfy the MSO.

Congrats. It’s now a done deal. But the issue of being taken to task by the local MSO is a concern.

Were you operating (either as Master or Mate) on a UTV OVER 100 tons prior to you having the paperwork? Or was this time spent solely as trainee? That would be an important distinction to be able to prove if you are taken to task by the (IMHO) overzealous MSO.

You keep referring to the CFR, and the ‘holding a 200 ton and a TOAR.’ That is not valid for authorizing service on a towing vessel. The license has to be [U][B]greater[/B][/U] than 200 tons. On licenses 200 tons and less the Toar comes into effect when you have an apprentice license and need to go to the REC to have the full MTV endorsement put on your license.

Sorry but I made a typo on the earlier post, I meant to ask if you had run ANY towing vessels over 100 tons while you were in this situation.

Did you have multiple licenses held at the same time? EG, 100 ton Inspected, Aux sail, 200 ton mate/master? I ask because I was in the same boat, at one point I had 3 separate pieces of paper, One as 100 gt licensed operator of inspected vessels, One OUTV, and one as First Class Pilot AGT. I was relieved of these at the REC one day, when the guy reached over the counter and TOOK them out of my satchel. and brusquely informed Me that I shouldn’t have any of them! About an hour later he returned with my new license, which was 200gt master, MTV, and 1st class pilot AGT. The distinction was it was all on ONE piece of paper after that. After all that I was happy to have had my 100 ton bumped up to 200 ton for ‘free’.

I found out later that it takes a very astute USCG evaluator to put all these pieces together, and since I was giving them info piecemeal, it actually would’ve been easier on me if I had laid it all out in the open. BUT, the REC had ALL my paperwork then anyway, they just can’t be bothered to look through it to make it as ‘full’ as it could/should have been.

This brings me to another topic: the NMC in W VA is supposed to make everything unified, but there are still examples of different answers from different evaluators, for the same questions. Not that they aren’t trying to make it unified, but there still exists the ability for individual interpretation by the evaluator.

By any chance did you get ‘grandfathered’ into your MTV 100 ton?; which would mean you have NOT taken a course, or (Prior to this) completed a TOAR?

To answer the questions: Yes I was grandfathered the MOT (100 ton). Prior to that, while awaiting the REC’s decision whether to grandfather the MOT, I completed the Apprentice Mate (Steersman) course and exam, which is why the limit should not have been on the MOT in the first place, as per the flow chart on NVIC 4-01. Shortly after that I started working on and over the course of about 4 to 5 months I completed my TOAR. It appears as though the original interpretation from the man in the REC saying I was good running with the TOAR superceding the limitation on the MOT, was incorrect, although no one has really addressed my argument as to what that last line in the CFR 11.464 is pertaining to. (Previous post) Regardless, I have retained counsel (AMO) so I guess at this point it is not in my control. Hopefully the fact that I was relieved of duty as soon as the issue was brought up by the MSO, and that my license in now “legal” in all respects, while satisfy the officer, although he is still demanding I come to his office to discuss this.

Went to my meeting with the Chief Warrant Officer with my attorney in tow. I recounted my side of the story, but I may as well have been seeing how long I could hold my breath. The CWO was being advised by a civilian investigator (retired USCG) and issued me a complaint for “running outside the scope of my license”. He wants three months suspension, or… “since I was co-operative” he is offering me a “DEAL” of only one month. My other choice is to go ahead with the proceedings before an Admin. Law Judge and see what happens there. I’ve had my license since 1983 with nary a whiff of problem, and I was relieved of duty as soon as this issue was brought up and have been off the boat for close to a month. (With no income) I was hoping that he would be satisfied with that, but apparently not. The USCG conceded there was a mistake made when the 100 ton restriction was put on the Master of Towing endorsement 5 1/2 years ago, but he says that is not his problem or his concern. I have 20 days to decide and respond, so while my attorney does his thing, I guess I have a decision to make, one way or another.

[QUOTE=capt.cobb;42529]The USCG conceded there was a mistake made when the 100 ton restriction was put on the Master of Towing endorsement 5 1/2 years ago, but he says that is not his problem or his concern. I have 20 days to decide and respond, so while my attorney does his thing, I guess I have a decision to make, one way or another.[/QUOTE]

WTF!!“not his problem or concern”!!was your so called “attorney” present when that statement was made??seems to me that is indeed the problem and concern regarding the subject at hand!!sure hope you retained your legal services on a no cure no pay basis…if not best fire that “sea lawyer” and sue for a refund!!


Yeah, the Attorney was present when these comments were made, but as he told me, this guy had his agenda laid out and there was no way he was going to deviate from that. We took notes, and these comments will be brought before the ALJ, if that is the way I decide to proceed. The longer I consider the matter… well, I have till the 19th of this month to decide and I want to speak to my employer about any consequences my decision will have on both of our parts. It just seems as though this fella is trying to CY his A, especially when I confronted him about accusing my of having an expired license when he showed up at my employer’s office. He said, " yeah, but you didn’t have the credential in your hand did you?" Yes sir, I did. “oh, well…ah” was his reply. In other words he has made a not to professional show of this so far and it seems to me as though he is just proceeding on Autopilot.

i forget the particular name of the proceeding, but you can request/demand another official review. this would be before the alj. they dont want to go to alj unless its a slam dunk, or you have NO viable excuse.

perhaps Mr Cavo could quietly let the official phrase out so you would know what to ask. Does your lawyer have an admiralty background? I have to ask, because without an admiralty/cg background you’re swimming upstream.

Hello and thanks to everyone for the responses and advice. I have decided to get some closure on this matter and accept the Chief Warrant Officer’s “Deal”. My company has backed me up on all this especially since their Port Captain checked it out on my hire date and was told the TOAR would allow me to supersede the limitation on the Master of Towing endorsement. They have given me a two shift leave of absence to cover the 30 day voluntary surrender of my credential. The agreement states I will receive my license back in it’s original state and rating with no guilt assessed, attached, or admitted. I checked with the NMC officer and he told me to show the agreement documents and write a short explanation and I shouldn’t have any problem when I renew or upgrade. I have spent this time productively and finished up my training to fulfill the requirements on the NMC checklist for Master 500/1600 NC and I have applied for a 1600 NC Master since this happened, so we will see if that was true or not.

I went to see the Chief Warrant Officer at the Tampa MSO this morning and he returned my credential and said he would call the NMC and tell them they could release the endorsements and or raise of grade certificates they have been holding since this “surrender”. Waiting to get my AB/ Unlimited, and get permission to test for the 1600 NC Master. Started back to work this morning, so things are looking up.

Glad to hear it. Time to put the whole thing behind and look to the future.