Great news. Thank you for relaying this.
Update to Qualified Assessor Requirements
The 2010 amendments to the STCW Convention came into force on January 1, 2017. These
amendments were incorporated into regulation as part of the final rule titled “Implementation
of the Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification,
and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, and Changes to National Endorsements” (78
FR 77796). The rule included provisions that impact seafarers serving on vessels subject to the
STCW Convention (vessels operating beyond the boundary line). This notice concerns the
requirements for Qualified Assessor (QA).
Assessments of competence for STCW endorsements must be signed by a Coast Guard-approved
QA in accordance with 46 CFR 11.301(a)(1)(i) and 12.601(b)(1)(i). QAs must be
approved by the Coast Guard either individually or as part of a Coast Guard-approved or
accepted course or training program, as described in Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular
(NVIC) 19-14 (Policy on Qualified Assessors).
Current policy allows for the acceptance of STCW assessments, performed for and signed by an
assessor not approved by the Coast Guard, until December 31, 2019. Such an assessor must
meet the professional requirements in 46 CFR 10.405(a)(3) to determine competence for the
The Coast Guard is aware that as a result of the limited number of approved QAs, there may be
a hardship on mariners trying to complete STCW assessments after December 31, 2019. In
consideration of this, the Coast Guard will continue to allow STCW assessments to be signed by
an assessor who meets the requirements specified in NVIC 19-14 until December 31, 2021.
These assessments must be submitted to the Coast Guard as part of a complete application no
later than June 30, 2022. Qualified military personnel need not be approved QAs and may
continue to sign assessments after December 31, 2021.
Mariners are encouraged to obtain approval as a QA in accordance with 46 CFR 10.405(a).
Additional information on obtaining approval can be found in NVIC 19-14 Enclosure (1). NVIC
19-14 may be viewed at https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/NVIC/.
Mariners and other interested parties should contact the Mariner Credentialing Program
Policy Division at (202) 372-2357 or MMCPolicy@uscg.mil with any questions or feedback.
Chief, Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing
Seriously?! Another extension? Are they going to just keep extending this forever or will they realize that some people really shouldn’t be signing off assessments and finally enforce the regulation?
From my perspective, I’d be fine if CG makes the extension permanent. It is already such a burden on the hawsepiper to get STCW, anything that lessens the necessity of taking another prohibitively expensive course is a positive. Otherwise, until most mariners bother to get approved as QAs, the only real option is to pay big $$ for USCG approved courses that include assessments.
Maybe someone else will chime in that knows more than I do, but to my knowledge, we’re the only license mill country that is allowing people other than flag state certified instructors to sign off on STCW skillsets.
You also assume that we want the additional responsibility of signing off people that our offices send us for one hitch in order to be signed off. I’ve got enough responsibility on my plate as Master without having to worry if the yokel I just signed off will retain any of the knowledge I forced him to demonstrate as he/she complained the whole time that I should just sign him off and be done.
No, close the loophole (that’s what it is, a loophole pure and simple). It doesn’t hurt hawsepipers any more than it does academy grads by the way. Both are equally on the hook for the courses. So can the “woe is me, the world is against me because I’m a hawsepiper” bullshit and accept that you’re on equal footing for that Chief Mate exam. Hell, the ringknocker network is probably even more in action with signing off assessments just because they went to the same school. You should be against it too!!
Furthermore, those cadets are paying for those courses too. It’s not free unless they’re at that waste of taxpayer and MARAD funds called King’s Point. So adjust your thinking and realize that the courses actually level the playing field for all.
I feel no matter what how when or why, there will always be assessments being pencil-whipped. I hate to say it, but a lot of the mates of tow and even masters of tow on offshore tugs out there got no business being anywhere near a tow, for example.
I’ve only had to sign off a few assessments for some qmeds and ddes, but luckily the candidates i had were good acquaintances and didn’t expect me to sign them off unless they showed me they had the knowledge…they knew it wasn’t something to be taken lightly.
Why even take a QA course if they’re going to keep extending the deadline?
Wow. I didn’t realize the USCG was a license mill. I’ve had my license long enough to know what it was like before all the crazy STCW bs and I personally didn’t feel the US system was broken.
I’m not assuming anything. The tradition at sea has always been to learn on the job. For most things, the actual experience is what provides the knowledge. The classroom assessments IMO are a joke. Has anyone ever paid for a course and failed an assessment?
But if you don’t have the time or want the responsibility of signing off on your crew, I wouldn’t want to sail with you anyway.
I’m really glad that I did not sign up for that expensive overpriced QA course that the USCG has just made valueless.
Why acquire more credentials when the USCG just keeps devaluing them.
No offense, but if you sailed before STCW was instituted then you also sailed before ISM was ubiquitous throughout the industry. No one who is sailing as Master wants or needs extra work thrown on their desk to further evaluate people beyond what is already a full dance card of endless paperwork.
I am constantly assessing crew performance for the main purpose of making sure the ship is being run correctly and safely. You are correct that on the job training is critical but @jbtam99 is correct that some people are out here looking for an easy sign off with no real mastery of the job being assessed. Hell, some are struggling with the job they already have so why the hell would I want to help them up the ladder?
The classes should be the norm.
Well, you’re correct there. And that is more BS that bothers me.
But the Master doesn’t need to sign off assessments (unless he is the only officer or for CM).
I sailed on one ship where the captain’s standard reply to a lot of questions was, “See the Mate”…As he played solitaire on the computer.
There are definitely many out there who don’t want the bother. And like jbtam said, maybe many applicants just looking for an easy sign-off. In my experience, the courses are the easiest way to get the sign-off, though.
There are enough required courses already. I was really talking about the assessments that are required but not a course. A good example is celnav. I don’t think a course is required, but assessments are. If someone knows how to use a sextant already, it is pretty easy to see if they can apply the needed skills to get an accurate fix or to check the gyro. Why force those guys to pay $$ for an assessment when it can all be verified in one watch?
I recently stopped in to the largest training center in Ft. Lauderdale to inquire about doing the assessments. They told me to just get anyone who has the needed endorsement (II/3 in my case) to sign me off before the end of the year. I explained to the nice lady at the front desk that I needed to actually do the assessments to get them signed off. I also explained that per the NAVIC, the person who signs off must have the credentials and experience required to become an assessor even if not approved as such. She laughed and said that no one does that. She then explained that to get the II/3 assessments from NAVIC 13-14, I could take a dozen or so classes over 5-6 weeks and much money. But she really recommended just getting anyone to sign off since the coast guard would in no way check the credentials of the person attesting to the assessments that I would not actually do.
My head was about to pop strait off. The person at the largest training center (maybe in the US) was telling me to gun deck the assessments. I thought maybe this was a fluke so I had a buddy call and ask the same questions. He got the same answers.
I found and attended another place that offered a sort of blended class and assessment. The person teaching and assessing was a QA and gave a refresher in many things that might not be done on smaller vessels. We did every one of the assessments either in a Nav Lab (classroom) or simulator, or on a small boat. It took a week and cost a few bucks but at the end, both the assessor and I could show exactly how we did the assessments and committed no fraud. I talked to many of my fellow mariners who said I just waited my time and money since they could just get someone to sign off.
I hope the NMC checks the credentials of each person who signs off on the assessments (who are not QAs) and makes each provide documentary proof that the assessments were done as required. If not, most people will take the easy but fraudulent path. I can say for sure I know many dozens of my coworkers and fellow mariners who just got it singed off.
There was no hardship endured on my part to get this done. From my perspective, as a small yacht captain, it was a welcome refresher of skills I had sort of put on a shelf and maybe had not used in quite a while if ever. I leaned things I did not know, (some of the assessments are not things normally done on small boats), so again I think I am better off for having done it. If there was any hardship involved, I would say it was on the training center who paid the assessor and provided the simulator for a group of two people. This could not have been a profitable endeavor for them.
They really need to stop extending this deadline because no one is going to bother become a QA as they know that the USCG will never enforce the regulation because no one is becoming a QA.
Well, chicken or egg? How can they stop extending the deadline if no one has qualified?
Why doesn’t the USCG get a little money from Congress, and buy discounted courses from the schools to send the first 500 applicants to QA courses for free.
Alternatively, the USCG could just drop QA course and give anyone with a college degree and two years on their license a QA endorsement. Most of us are already good teachers and skills assessors with a lot of experience. The QA course is just more unnecessary bullshit.
The MEBA school offered a Qualified Assessor course a few years back. I am not sure how many took the class or if/when they will offer it again.
45 pages of QA’s… and those are just the ones that wanted to be publicly listed.
I’m pretty sure the people that want the additional paperwork responsibility of being QA’s are already QA’s. Quit extending it NMC.