Second Mate upgrade to 1600 GT Master

I am in the process of trying to get 1600 Master. I currently hold a 2nd Mate Unlimited… here what I’m trying to figure out. I thought once you had 2M Unlimited, you could just send in an application to REC, pay the $100 fee, and go take the 70 question test and get your 1600 Master. Did something change?

Now, I am being told I need to meet all of the requirements on the “National Master 500/1600 OC or NC” checklist on the National Maritime Center website. Do I need to meet the sea service requirements of 1440 total days of service? (this is what the lady at the REC told me) Or am I exempt from that based on the statement “2nd Mate Oceans/NC of 1600 GRT or more is eligible for this endorsement upon completion of a limited examination.” further down the checklist?

Thank you.

You are correct in your interpretation and the evaluator is wrong Did you remind her you hold a 2nd Mate license? Maybe she overlooked that.

Keep in mind that you needed to do all the STCW classes and assessments required for Master 3,000 GT as well. Without that your Master 1,600 GRT is useless except for vessels under 200 GRT on domestic voyages and vessels that only operate inland.


Thank you for the response. I did remind her and that is the answer I received. For the 90 days of recency on vessels of “appropriate tonnage”, I need 90 days on vessels 1600 GT or greater?

“Appropriate tonnage” for Master 1,600 should be anything greater than 100 GRT.

Thank you Captain!

Now this is a shot in the dark, but I am a few days short of the 90 days of recency… I am in the Reserves and have spent a few weeks here and there on ROS ships. Is there anyway that time would count?

What size vessel do you currently work on that you don’t have recency over 100 GRT?

I stopped sailing on vessels over 100 GRT about 2.5 years ago. I currently work on smaller vessels that are all under 100GT. I am 11.5 days short on vessels over 100GT. I would hate to miss the opportunity to upgrade being short only those few days.

Gotcha. I think ROS time counts but it’s like 3 for 1 or something similar.

Since you have an evaluator, I assume you have applied and that have been evaluated. At this point if what your incompe evaluator is telling you is wrong, you will need to educate him. You can research the CFR, NAVICs, and Marine examination manual and try to educate him yourself. Alternatively, you might be better served by hiring a license consultant with years of experience who speaks the NMC lingo and let him educate the evaluator for you. The license consultant may know how to contact someone more senior for help.

If you are short on days, you are short on days. It should not be hard to go get 12 days on some vessel over 100 tons. Fishing boats count and there are hundreds of them between 100 and 199 grt.

This has a limited chance of succeeding. If you believe the decision is wrong, you need to request a reconsideration of the decision (use that word). This is the first step in the appeal process and elevates the matter to a more experienced and higher pay grade level than the evaluator.

If, as noted, the issue is lack of sufficient recent service on vessels over 100 GRT, the reconsideration also has a limited chance of prevailing, see 46 CFR 11.201( c)(2).

See 46 CFR 10.232(e)(2)(i), it counts 1 for 3 for no more than 6 months of credited service.

A 2nd Mate no longer automatically qualifies for the STCW endorsement of Master Less Than 3,000 GT. The sea service requirements for the STCW endorsement are different than for the national endorsement (license). An STCW endorsement as Master Less Than 3,000 GT now requires either 3 years as OICNW, or 2 years as OICNW if at least one year was as “chief mate.” Someone who qualifies for 2nd Mate with only one year as 3rd Mate is not going to have that. See 46 CFR 11.311(a)(1).

I requested “Reconsideration” through a good evaluator.

11 Months, yes 11 MONTHS, later my request for Reconsideration was Granted and I received my new endorsement.

I strongly recommend that you try to get the evaluator, or his superior, to make the correct decision in the first place. The USCG “Reconsideration” process is a farce.

Apparently not good enough to have made the correct decision…

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You are correct. My consultant could not get that evaluator to make the correct decision in the first place.

However, on a different application it took 7 MONTHS, but my consultant did get one of the most experienced evaluators to make the correct decision.

What I have learned about applying to NMC is:

If it’s a routine application, it probably won’t be too bad. Usually, within three months.

Unless every endorsement that you are applying for is routine, pay the extra money and file a totally separate application for each endorsement and email each of them to the REC a few days apart. An evaluator can cope with a “complicated” application for one endorsement, but not for two or three endorsements. Your application will be set aside and probably get lost.

If you are using combined tug and barge tonnage seatime, expect a very long painful process.

If your application is for an unlimited license, but with a tonnage restriction, expect a long painful process.

If you cannot get a seatime letter from a former employer and you don’t have a discharge, you can prove your seatime in other ways, but it will be a long painful process… Highlight and attach a copy of the CFR section that authorizes this to your application and your alternate proof of seatime.

46 CFR 10.232(a).

A couple of related questions.

  1. Is a 2nd Mate unlimited with tonnage restriction of 2000 GT still eligible for the 1600 Master crossover exam?
  2. At face value is a 3rd Mate unlimited a more employable license than than the 2nd Mate unlimited with tonnage restriction?
    In other words, is giving up my 3rd Mate unlimited for the 2nd with a tonnage restriction as a path to Master 1600 wise? Or would it be more prudent to sit for the Master 1600 test outright and retain the 3rd Mate unlimited endorsement?

I believe getting 2nd Mate unlimited with a tonnage restriction would be an additional endorsement to your MMC. I do not believe you would lose your 3rd Mate unlimited since the tonnage restriction on the 2nd Mate’s license is not a straight up and down upgrade.

I think that’s correct.

You can hold 3rd unlimted and 2nd limited to 2000 GRT at the same time.

It’s anyones guess what some particular NMC evaluator on some particular day might do with an application to crossover from 2nd Mate AGT (with a 2000 GRT restriction) to crossover to Master 1600. A carefully prepared application submitted by a good license consultant might be the key to success.

Yes. The requirement is for a 2nd Mate license for over 1,600 GRT. See 46 CFR 11.412(b).

You wouldn’t be “giving up” 3rd Mate, you would retain it as it is for a higher tonnage than the 2nd Mate endorsement. They’ll likely mail you a sticker with 2nd Mate 2,000 to add to your MMC, so the MMC will contain both.

Good info. I appreciate your help.