Taking the best courses for OICNW

I have been trying to chart out a path to OICNW endorsement and am having a devil of a time trying to figure out the best courses to take to meet all of the statutory requirements from 46 CFR 11.309(a)(4) as well as meeting the requirements of NVIC 12-14 (CH-1). Finding courses that meet the CFR requirements are fairly easy, as they all state clearly whether or not they do. The NVICs on the other hand are far more nebulous.

For instance, take the requirement for 46 CFR 11.309(a)(4)(xiii) - Meteorology. I am currently stationed outside Washington DC, and have been looking at courses in both the Norfolk and Baltimore areas. According to the USCG NMC 894 page approved courses PDF there are several schools to choose from in my area, including:

MITAGS-Pacific Maritime Institute (MITPMI)
Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship (SHLSOS)
Chesapeake Marine Training Institute (CMTI)
Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy (MAMA)

The PDF states that all these courses meet the requirements for the CFR and that MAMA and SHLSOS satisfy NVICs 1.9, 1.10, and 1.11. CMTI and MITPMI only meet NVICs 1.9.A, 1.9.B, 1.10.A, 1.10.B, 1.10.C, 1.10.D, 1.10.E, 1.10.F, and 1.10.G.

But it gets worse. If you go to CMTI’s website they state that their course only meets NVICs 1.9.A, 1.9.B, 1.10.A, 1.10.B, and 1.10.C. According to MAMA their course only meets 1.9, 1.9.B and 1.10.

CMTI’s course is 4 days and $800. MAMA’s course is 5 days and $875. I don’t care about $75 but if I can save a day’s leave I want to do so - I’m doing this program on top of my regular duties. But neither of these courses claim that they meet NVIC 1.11. I am viewing the NVICs like a Navy Personnel Qualification Standard (PQS) - every line item needs a signature or course substitution. How am I supposed to meet NVIC 1.11? I’m not sailing on a STCW ship where there are Qualified Assessors available.

Ultimately, the meteorology course is small potatoes. I picked it as an example because it was one of the more straightforward ones. Look at the watchstanding requirement - there are course offerings from 5 days to 15, some that bundle BRM and leadership and some that don’t, and they all are listed on the USCG PDF as meeting different NVICs (who knows what they claim on their websites for those!).

I’m trying to satisfy the requirements for OICNW in as few classroom days as possible - I’m not really interested in cost. Am I nuking out the NVICs? Are the assessors going over them line by line, or are they saying “took meteorology, pass on 1.9, 1.10, and 1.11”? Is there a tool or matrix that lists all the approved courses and what NVICs they do cover? I’d fly to Florida if it meant that I could finish this sooner using some of the courses taught down there.

I wouldn’t call myself a hawsepiper in the traditional sense, but what I’ve found out so far is absolutely true: it would have been far easier to just go to a maritime academy rather than trying to piecemeal a program together.

They are checking for all of the assessments. They will first use the assessment record (Encl 3) of the NVIC, and if there are any blanks, they will then check if any of the courses covered them.

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It’s a joke really. Talk to people in NMC for guidance and it’s the blind leading the blind, I feel your pain. I really appreciate people like jdcavo clarifying things on here but it shouldn’t even come to that. Furthermore, if people in charge give you different and conflicting information, which happens on a regular basis, there is a problem.


Thank you, good to know. I found a letter the CG issued to SWOS that covered exactly what was approved for credit, is it something like that they’re checking? Are those available to the public? I really wouldn’t want any nasty surprises when I submit all of my paperwork. In that vein, would it be possible to get an XLS version of the course approval PDF (I’m assuming that is how it’s generated). It would be light-years easier to sort and filter than the tome on the NMC website. Thanks again!

Mitags, Piney Point, and Mama are all good schools. They should all be able to answer your questions on the phone, and provide USCG approval letters.

Mama is run by ex-military guys, and they are really geared up toward people preparing to leave the military. They also run some night courses for active duty guys. It is sometimes possible to take two courses at once. One during the day, and one at night.


IIRC, it’s not possible to do all the assessments via courses. I’m not sure how Navy personnel can get assessments done when they don’t have access to assessors.

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I’m sure there are many “curses” when it comes to STCW… In theory all assessments could be done ashore with appropriate equipment (including simulators). However some are not particularly suited to being done ashore. This notwithstanding, it was never enviosioned or intended that assessments ashore, possibly by a for profit entitry, would replace entirely in-service assessments on a vessel.

As far as military assessments, there is language similar to the following in every NVIC with support (ratings) or operational level (OICNW, OICEW) assessments (this is from NVIC 12-14):
…the Coast Guard will accept… assessments signed on a military vessel by an assessor authorized to conduct similar assessments for the U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard Personnel Qualification Standard (PQS) for underway officer of the deck (OOD).

Management level assessments are problematic, these typically include substantial number of assessments dealing with operations military vessels don’t engae in (e.g. cargo) or compliance with laws military vessels are exempt from. In addition, there really isn’t an equivalent military PQS for management level STCW endorsements.



@Alan_Newport take note of the above. Edit: I just saw you liked his post so I guess you already saw that part.

Luckily he’s going for OICNW then.

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So basically that’s me. If I am on a command qualifiers list for OOD, can I sign off my own NVIC tasks?

Thank you. I am learning a lot here, truly.

I’m going to say no. For example, I had to get someone who had an equal license to me to sign off on assessments for me that I needed to upgrade that I was also qualified to sign off on.

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A sea lawyer might disagree as I don’t think it’s specifically stated, but I would say “no” as I would be pretty sure you can’t sign your own Navy PQS, and its reasonabl;e to intrpret “authorized to conduct similar assessments for the U.S. Navy…” to mean the assessment has to be signed off in accoprdance with the Navy’s policies


Yeah I figured as much. I wouldn’t want this to be too easy…