STCW endorsement as Able Seafarer-Deck

Hello All,

I am about to reach my 360 days at sea to qualify for my able seaman. I also want to to get my STCW ABLE SEAFARER-DECK §12.603 endorsement. Who can sign off on my assessment? I am currently working for NOAA and all the officers do not hold MMCs. Can my chief boatswain’s mate aboard the ship, who has an MMC as a unlimited AB sign off? Please advise.

Thank you

A shipboard Qualified Assessor (QA) who witnesses a practical demonstration may sign the appropriate blocks and pages in the Record of Assessment in Enclosure (3) or an equivalent record. All assessments must be signed by a QA approved by the Coast Guard in accordance with 46 CFR 10.405. In order to facilitate the transition to this new requirement, the Coast Guard will accept assessments that have been demonstrated in the presence of and signed by an assessor who has not been Coast Guard approved until December 31, 2023, provided that the assessor meets the professional requirements in 46 CFR 10.405(a)(3) to assess competence for the specific endorsement. Assessors must be in possession of the level of endorsement, or other professional credential, which provides proof that he or she has attained a level of experience and qualification equal or superior to the relevant level of knowledge, skills, and abilities to be assessed (46 CFR 10.405(a)(3)). Until June 30, 2024, the Coast Guard will accept assessments signed before January 1, 2024, by mariners who hold an appropriate national endorsement and have at least 1 year of experience as the officer in charge of a navigational watch on vessels greater than 200 GRT or 500 GT. For assessments signed on a military vessel, the assessor should be authorized to conduct similar assessments for the U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) for Deck Watch Officer or be a First Class Boatswains Mate or above. After December 31, 2023, QAs must be approved by the National Maritime Center to conduct the assessment (46 CFR 10.405). Qualified military personnel need not be approved as QAs and may continue to sign assessments on military vessels after December 31, 2023.

Since when? I thought all (or at least most) NOAA Corp officers had at least 1,600 ton licenses.

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Being one of the eight uniformed services, it is not required.

Not legally but I thought they all got it as part of BOTC.

After BOTC those 120 day wonders barely know which end is the pointy end. I’m referring to the just commissioned ensigns.

Hey Hatches, I would just take the 5 day AB class and send the cert in with your application. I believe that covers everything. NOAA sucks for that stuff brother. Sometimes the captain may have a license but most of them don’t. While your at it grab your RFPNW, which I think is 2 days, then you can sail commercial and make some money. With 360 days I believe you’ll only get your AB special, which you can upgrade after you hit 740 and finally unlimited at 1080.

It probably doesn’t. 5-day AB courses are approved to substitute for taking the exam for the national endorsement from the Coast Guard, nothing else. They do not meet any part of STCW.

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Howdy Mr. Cavo, thank you for weighing in. Upon further investigation, it looks like there are two 40 hour class options. Able Seaman, and Able Seafarer - Deck. (Maritime institute in San Diego as an example) Apparently you have to qualify as an able seaman nationally before you can be eligible to take the able seafarer-deck class for international. I’m not sure if that means with just seatime, or that means he’d have to take the 5 day able seaman class, then the 5 day able seafarer-deck class. Which seems crazy… It also mentions already having RFPNW prior to taking able seafarer deck.

There are no courses required for Able Searer-Deck. That course just does the assessments, you can get them done by the Chief Mate or Master on your ship without taking a course.

I don’t think holding an Able Seaman endorsement is a requirement to get in the course. I think it’s a statement about Coast Guard policy that to qualify for any STCW endorsment, you have to hold or qualify for the corresponding national endorsement, For an STCW endorsment as Able Seafarer-Deck you have to also hold or qualify for a national endorsement as Able Seaman. See 46 CFR 12.201(a)(1).

For these purposes, “or qualify for” means that you can apply for both at the same time, but you won’t be issued the STCW endorsement unless you also are issued the Able Seaman endorsement.

You have to hold (or qualify for) Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch before you can start accumulating sea time for Able Seafarer-Deck. In this case, “qualify for” RFPNW means you can only start counting sea time for AS-D on the later of either the day you got your last day of sea time for RFPNW, or the date the last assessment for RFPNW was signed.


Great info - hopefully the author is still paying attention. I have a few guys aboard who will benefit from this as well.

In the case of OP, he mentioned 360 days sea service so he is qualifying for AB special and therefore would not qualify to apply for both AB Special and Able Seafarer - Deck simultaneously. With AB Special, he would need an additional 6 months service as an AB under authority of his national endorsement.