Upgrading from 100 ton to 200 or 500 ton question

I currently hold a Masters 100 ton near coastal. Have operated on it for 31 years. I now have qualifying time to upgrade to 500 ton.

My question is, if I remain coastal on US Flag vessels, can I sit for the test and take my basic and advanced fire fighting at a later date? It also looks like I need Advanced First Aid.

I called several different sources and all of them told me different things. Would I be better off just upgrading to 200 tons at this time without the additional requirements?

I eventually want to be on ship assist tugs and know they require 500 ton licenses. Any direction would be greatly appreciated.

I think to get the national 500 grt master without any of the stcw requirements you only need advanced firefighting and radar observer however to take advanced firefighting you need basic before hand. you could go that route and worry about the prerequisites for stcw later down the road when you can. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.

the 200 grt would be easier to get but it will still limit you. having the 500 grt will make it easier to get a MOT if you want to end up on tugs. I went 100 to 200 to 500 to 1600 and I wish in hindsight I went straight to 500 from 100.

That’s helpful. The stcw requirements are a little tricky to figure out.
I knew this forum would provide the right answers.

You need first aid, CPR, and basic and advanced firefighting in order to be approved to test.

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go to the nmc website and look at the NATIONAL checklist for 500 grt.

That’s actually what I did to verify my answer before posting. I would have linked it but I could only download the PDF, not copy the URL.

Thanks Captain.

See 46 CFR 11.201(j)(1):
j) Professional examination. (1) When the Coast Guard finds the applicant’s experience and training to be satisfactory, and the applicant is eligible in all other respects, the Coast Guard will authorize examination… [emphasis added]

This means you can’t sit for the exam until you meet all the course and se a time requirements.

If you were to apply for Master 200, you will still need to show sea service on appropriate tonnage vessels, and there would be at least a limited exam that covers the things that are tested for Master 200 and not for Master 100.

You should not need “advanced” first aid. For a national endorsement (license) without STCW, it’s a one time requirement for first aid (basic) and CPR, so if you have Master 100, you don’t need to re-take this.

Thanks. The 200 may be the way to go for now. Don’t have time for basic
and advanced firefighting that the 500 ton license requires.


You do not need any seatime for basic and advanced firefighting. You just go take a 5 day course.

You might find it advantageous to take
BT and a fire fighting course. Maybe some school has a combo course.