UFIV to Chief OSV or Chief Limited

Hey guys, I’m looking for some advice. I hold a UFIV (Uninspected Fishing Industry Vessel Chief) license. I also have my DDE4000. I started my career in commercial fishing and went to get my Chiefs license. Problem is that I have since left commercial fishing and I’m trying to figure out my next plan of attack. I don’t believe the UFIV applies to anything other than fishing. I’m on a dive support vessel now and I would like to upgrade to Chief OSV or Chief Limited. Maybe test on the DDE unlimited first. Could I someway transfer my UFIV To Chief OSV? Any advice or opinions are appreciated.
Thank y’all and stay safe out there.

If there was a way to do that, it probably ended in 2017. I know DDEs used to get a chief osv just by asking for it. Chief OSV is a separate exam now.

If you have the seatime, your quickest method could be get the chief limited and after a year sailing on that you can cross over to 1st assistant with an exam…but, if you are looking to work on ‘big’ OSVs taking the chief osv exam would be the thing to do.

I wouldn’t bother with the DDE unlimited unless your seatime would limit you on HP with the bigger licenses-Keep in mind, they will give you a horsepower limitation on a chief limited or osv unless half the time you submit is at least on vessels 4000 hp or more.

There is no specific “crossover.” You would need to meet the same requirements for Chief Engineer OSV applicable to all applicants. But, you can use sea time used for your current endorsements if it meets the requirements for CE OSV. You may also be able to use your time under your current licenses to meet the requirement for time as “an engineer officer while holding an engineer officer endorsement.”

As already noted, you would need to take the full exam for Chief Engineer OSV.

Does time as an officer count as equivalent to a QMED?

Whatever you do don’t only get Chief OSV. If you want get both, but at a minimum get Chief Limited so you’re not trade restricted.

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And the full exam for chief limited?

I never understood the ‘‘chief osv’’ or a ''chief fishing vessel" but the path, if possible is to go for chief limited as that gets you into the real world so to say.
I hawse piped to chief oceans but started in blue water. sailed msc, chevron, matson, I never got around fishing and oil fields (ok, ONE processor!!) but one chief I had owned his own fishing boat (in Alaska) so he must of done what is mentioned above.
Who ever said avoid the DDE stuff would be correct ! at one time if you were going to be a engineer you avoided the DDE route as that time would count thereafter to only the DDE. I suppose things have changed but if you have high aspirations go for CME with the years of sea time, years standing watches as a 3AE, 2AE etc. and innumerable tests required that you might fail a few times !

The only benefit that i see for the OP getting dde unlimited would be getting bigger HP. His screen shot of his ticket shows a 4k limitation on his ufv chiefs license, so getting a chief limited or the chief osv would most likely give him a 5 k limitation, or less depending on his sea time. Chief osv with a 5k limitation is just about useless with the big companies.

HP is the bottom line, kinda related to the paycheck!!

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I have not thought about this in a long time, but as I recall, Chief UIFVs requires just as much seatime as any other restricted Chief’s license.

If he has been sailing Chief for a while of his FV license, it seems like he should be able to get Chief OSV, Chief Limited, etc.

His problem is the 4000 hp limitation.

If he can get Assistant Engineer UIFV’s with a higher horsepower limit, sailing assistant on an over 4000hp FV with 1.5 days of seatime per 12 hour day may be his fastest way to an unlimited license.

Chances are when being approved for the chief limited or chief OSV, it would have a 5000 hp limitation. I was in a similar situation.

I was fortunate to get some time with that limitation on an ATB just under 5000 hp. So, depending on where you decide to land, its possible to get work at a place that you can use the license and get the time to remove the limitation.

With the OSV license it would be a bit more challenging…would have to bang on more doors and chances are it would be at a smaller company with older equipment and less somewhat stable work.

In what capacity?
What’s the horsepower?
What’s the gross tonnage?

The vessel is 210ft, 905GT ITC and 472 GRT. 3000 Horsepower. Rated for 48 people. It’s a Saturation Dive Vessel.

Thanks to everyone for their replies. I really appreciate it. I’m going to start studying for the Chief Limited. One more question and I’m sorry for my ignorance. Would going on a vessel with over 4000 Hp as a assistant engineer (Alaskan trawlers have pretty high HP) be more beneficial than getting the DDE Unlimited. I guess the DDE Unlimited has be a little confused. Thank y’all again!

A dde can be the sole engineer on a vessel with automation/periodically unmanned ER, unless its COI/manning document specifies it needs a chief engineer.

DDE unlimited is still a 500 grt license, but its good for an oceans route and unlimited HP. If you decide to apply for the dde unlimited, you should also apply for assistant engineer limited. That would give you a 1600 grt license w/hp restriction. Passing the four exams for dde unlimited (assuming you are motors only) will qualify you to get issued assistant engineer limited as well.

Getting a 3rd assistant license in theory means you can sail assistant pretty much anywhere within the HP they give you and the modes of propulsion you test for.

Another thing that you haven’t mentioned yet is all the stcw bs that goes with these licenses. Do you already have OICEW and chief on your stcw?

It would seem like sailing as licensed assistant on a factory trawler over 4000 hp would be easiest. No STCW required on a fishing vessel.

Sailing as an unlicensed chief on a tug over 4000 hp would be another good way to go. No license required on domestic tugs under 300 GRT. No STCW required on domestic tugs under 200 GRT.

No STCW required on domestic Inland or Great Lakes vessels.

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Do you have any engine room time on anything over 4,000 HP?

That’s hard to say. Could you go as an assistant on a 5,000+ HP trawler right now with what you currently have?

If you don’t want to go back fishing then apply for everything you can and see what they’ll give you.

Apply for Chief Engineer (Limited), Assistant Engineer (Limited), and DDE Unlimited.

A DDE Unlimited can sail as Chief on most tugs so find one over 4,000 HP but under 500 GRT and get 1.5 sea time credit.


I haven’t worked on any boats over 4000hp. I have the stcw’s required to hold the DDE 4000 along with RFPEW. I’m not looking to go back fishing. I’m honestly trying to figure out which road to take with the license. What steps to take and what pays the best. The workload and being away doesn’t much matter to me. Work is work, some jobs are better, some jobs are worse. I just need to be in the money and would like take a route that is secure for the most part. (Fishing isn’t very secure). When y’all mention apply. Can you please explain that to me? With the Qmed, DDE4000 and UFIV. I went to MPT and tested and just sent it off. I do have a letter saying that I can test for the DDE Unlimited. Do I need a letter saying the same for Chief Limited, Assistant limited or 3rd Assistant? Which would pay more the DDE Unlimited or The Chief Limited out the gate? This is my career and I have nothing better to do than work and test until my time is up! :rofl: Thank y’all again for all the knowledge.

So you have OICEW?

You have an ‘approval to test’ letter to upgrade to dde unlimited?

Yes, for all those other things you asked, you would need to apply again and get another approved to test letter. You MAY be able to send in a request to add assistant engineer limited to your current open application for dde unlimited. I’m assuming you have an open application for dde unlimited since you say you have an approved to test letter.

Thats a good question, not sure if a chief limited license would pay more than dde unlimited. I do know with either license, not having the oicew or chief on your stcw limits you. A lot of tug companies don’t care too much for those stcw endorsements and i’d say its not too hard to find a job with a dde unlimited making 600-700 a day. Maybe a little more.

There are no “STCWs required” DDE, It’s a national endorsement. It looks like you do NOT have the STCW endorsement required to work as a DDE on a vessel subject to STCW. You only have Rating Forming Part of an Engineering Watch (RFPEW). Since DDE is the sole engineer on board, you would be the de facto Chief Engineer and need an STCW endorsement as Chief Engineer.

For 3rd AE, on a vessel subject to STCW, you need an endorsement as Officer in Charge of an Engineering Watch (OICEW).

You need to apply for, and be approved to test for every endorsement. So you would need to re-apply and get a letter authorizing you to test for every endorsement.

See above, as the sole engineer on board, an STCW endorsement as Chief Engineer is required, not OICEW. See the definition of “chief engineer” in 46 CFR 10.107. Note that “Designated Duty Engineer” as used in the full title of OICEW is not the same as the national license of DDE.