RFPNW/ evaluator


Ok, another RFPNW question. I sent another e-mail to NMC, to try and get some clarification on this subject. I said that I understand that I would have to test for AB, BST, and lifeboat. The following is part concerning RFPNW:

RFPNW alternatives
Proof of one year of sea service in a relevant capacity within the deck department between 1 October 1986 and 30 September 1991;
PL 14-02 enclosure (1)

I have more than 1 year of approved US Navy time as a Signalman, and 110 days as OS/AB. Does this qualify for alternative requirement? Thank you for your time, PAD.

And the response:

The RFPNW Alternative still applies. Your last question is an evaluator question that I am not qualified to answer.

Ok, well and good. My question is, in order to have an ‘evaluator’ answer my question, do I need to have a MMD on file, or can I contact one in general? I need to figure this one out before I jump into all this w/out knowing all the requirements. Considering some other posts in regard to NMC, this troubles me. It used to be so much easier, just going into an REC (ladies in Seattle were great!) and getting everything sorted out in person. If I have to wait on the beach for a couple of months to get it evaluated after schooling (probably PMI), I don’t want any surprises. Thanks for any comments. Paul.


My experience with Policy letter 14-02 is this:
I’m a retired NAVY BMC and could show unequivocally that between '86-'91 I stood DECK watches (helm, lee helm, lookout) and therefore fell under 14-02. As an SM it may be difficult (NOT impossible) to prove and/or document. Good luck with that.

Retired BMC sailing as a Wire Boat Mate sends


I have dealing with this same issue since last week…I missed the cut off before OCT 86 …

It seems to me that unless you have a e mail or phone number to an evaluator, you may have to apply first ,then you will get some answers…The help desk shields the evaluators very well and just by luck I was able to get an e mail address for my guy…I have yet to talk to him in person but he did answer enough of my questions via e mail…


Jolly, Good thing it’s already documented as sea time in my record(wherever that is). 29 months (2 for 3?) and the 110 days merch. More than enough “sea time”.
Shellback, guess I’ll run that route. Not lucky often enough.

Thanks guys. Any other inputs? Paul.


My application package for AB unlimited has been sitting on my evaluators desk since last Friay because of the confusion on RFPNW!

I took the Rating Forming Part of a Navigation Watch: Lookouts only [COLOR=black]c[/COLOR]ourse last month and recieved my 21 assessments sheets signed off and dated by the course trainer. My understanding was that by taking the $795 simulator course it would cut my onboard sea watch training requirement down to two months instead of six months, being that there is a one year time limit for getting rest of the onboard training done. I felt it would be worth the money and time.

Now my evaluator is telling me that I need to get an additional course completion certificate from my training school because no where on the actual assessments does it say that [B]this course will satisfy the Ratings Assessments of STCW A-II/4 for Lookouts only.[/B] If I were just turning in the assessments along with the six months onboard training I would not need the additional certificate.

My school is telling me that they have never had to do that before? The 21 assessments should be all thats is needed. So now I am entering into a pissing contest trying to get the school to comply with the evaluators request. I am not the only one with this problem. It seems that the school is not up to date on their paperwork certificates or the NMC is misguiding me. I also looked at the one year of training from back in the 86-91 time period as a way around all the schooling and certificates. The problem with that for me is the REC in NOLA has incomplete sea time records on me from back them. Did anyone out there who went to RFPNW class get a certificate other than the actual assessments being signed off on?


[QUOTE=studbuzzar;17383]Did anyone out there who went to RFPNW class get a certificate other than the actual assessments being signed off on?[/QUOTE]

No, I went to Northeast Maritime Institute. 1 day course-mailed my assessments and got “lookout duties only” and had 1 year to get my 180 days of seatime signed and mailed in to get the full “RFPNW” endorsement. That was last Nov. 2008 and mailed in my seatime and copies of the assessments earlier this month and just got the MMC back on the 19th (dropped them off @ the Seattle REC on the 6th)


[I][quote=studbuzzar;17383]… My understanding was that by taking the $795 simulator course it would cut my onboard sea watch training requirement down to two months instead of six months[/quote][/I]

This is a not uncommon misunderstanding, perpetuated by some schools and also by incorrect application of long-standing policy by some RECs. The lookout only course gets you a certificattion restricted to lookout only, and possibly credit for assessments. It does not change the service requirements.

There are two options for RFPNW: (1) six months of service and completion of assessments; or (2) completion of an approved [B]program[/B] that includes at least two months of service and completion of assessments. For the latter, it is a complete program, it’s not a course. The only approvals given for RFPNW programs are for organizations that either man and/or operate vessels, or to schools that have agreements with vessel operators to place students on their vessels and train them. If your training did not include placement on a vessel by the company or school, it’s not a program.

Most commercial schools do not have RFPNW programs. The programs are run mostly by vessel operating companies and unions.

See the attached letter to a school explaining why thier lookout only course is not a “program” and that students who complete it will need 6 months of service for RFPNW.

You can see the approvals for RFPNW lookout only courses and complete programs at http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/training/rfpnw.pdf. Only those described in the approval as a “program” and approved for sea service, traiing, and assessment are programs. If it says it’s approved for lookout only, it’s not a program. As an example of the difference, look at the first listing for Alaska Vocational Technoical Center, they have approval for both a lookout course, and a complete program (there are others with both). The course has no included service, the program does.

The Coast Guard also approves schools to perform RFPNW assessments, either as part of a courses, or without a course, they just put the mariner on a simulator or a suitable lab and do the assessment.

Finally, yes you would need to turn in the certificate for the assessments if they were done in a course and not on a vessel. You still need to document that you completed the assessments, and schools with approved assessment courses do not sign “control sheets”, they give you a certificate.


JD is right, there is major confusion with this rating and some of the schools have totally misrepresented it…

I think I would be looking at what the school promised you and start looking for a pro-rated refund of some kind…


Mr. Cavo,

Right now I have a spot reserved for the AVTEC AB course as well as RFPNW w/ lookout duties only. After reading the latest discussion, I’m wondering: what if any is the advantage of taking this “course?”

I’m under the impression that RFPNW is essential to obtaining an AB endorsement which is then a prerequisite toward my 500T license. Currently I am a 100T Master (3rd issue), MMD (OS), TWIC, Lifeboat, STCW, BST, Radar Observer Unlimited. I’ve been reading and rereading the posts on this issue, and I’m still hazy.

My goal is to gain employment on a research vessel and eventually raise the tonnage on my masters license. Any clarification or insight would be appreciated.

Brendan Maier


One thing that I found was that some of these schools tell the tugboat guys going for AB that they have to have it but don’t tell them that the cert. is only a 12 month (learners permit if you will) untill you get so many watches done on a ocean going vessel OVER 200 tons. “Most” tugs are not rated over 200 tons nor do they get enough if any ocean time to qualify for the RFPNW. Ater 12 months your cert. expires and you have wasted your money for a class that you can’t meet the complete RFPNW requirements. I know this is a brown water problem but, I’m just trying to show how people are being missinformed and spending money for nothing.