What is "Near Coastal"?

Hi, I recently had a friend ask about his new 1600t Near Coastal Mate’s license.

He wanted to know how far offshore he could sail and if he could sail on international voyages. I’ve always sailed deep sea on an unlimited license, so i’m at a bit of loss. The best answer I could find came from the Master of Towing Vessel Association blog, which says within 200nm is “near coastal”.

Any thoughts?
Thanks!

Ill look up the links later, but from memory, A near coastal license is only valid within the US EEZ, roughly 200 miles from the US coastline, But not overlapping another countries domain. For instance your friend cannot take his license and run a boat (legally) from Texas to Columbia (as long as he stays within 200 miles of the coastline) because the US EEZ does NOT go that far away from our coast.

HOWEVER, this does not mean this is not done (regularly) I know of several Yachties who have ONLY had near coastal and run charter boats all around the Caribbean, and have never had a problem. But if your friend is going to run commercial vessels that are legit, he cant go foreign.

In the USA, Near Coastal is out to 200 NM… The distance changes from Country to Country (STCW Signatory states) and if you know the distances each country uses for the definition, you can in fact sail foreign… Unless your MMC reads “domestic voyages only” … It is what the USCG told me, before the NMC

See the following:
www.[B]uscg[/B].mil/hq/cg5/nvic/pdf/2000/n7-00.pdf

[QUOTE=MateChristine;59939]Hi, I recently had a friend ask about his new [U]1600t Near Coastal Mate’s license[/U].

He wanted to know [U]how far offshore he could sail and if he could sail on international voyages[/U]. I’ve always sailed deep sea on an unlimited license, so i’m at a bit of loss. The best answer I could find came from the Master of Towing Vessel Association blog, which says within 200nm is “near coastal”.

Any thoughts?
Thanks![/QUOTE]

It’s up to the country whose waters you are in.

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So the USCG and/or shipping articles won’t restrict him from sailing on international voyages? Would he some how be ‘covered’ if he sailed with a master that had an oceans license?
I guess the best way to ask this question might be, “how is one’s employment restricted with a near coastal license?”

I always thought it was 200 NM from the beach, and it didnt matter who’s beach it was…

I’ll be a thorn in the side here. First here is a theoretical example of a tug which is going to be towing a barge of cargo from Houston Tx to Cartajena Columbia. Using the logic that a ‘near coastal’ license could cover the trip like you are trying to justify, and as per Mr Cavo’s implication, Your company HR office would have to ensure that your license is ‘accepted’ by Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Finally Columbia. So your office would have to ensure all the countries accept your license. OR… They could just hire a mariner with an Oceans endorsement and not have to worry about it. What do YOU think any office would do? Secondly, if there was a voyage being undertaken from say Houston Tx to say The Yucatan Mexico, but half way there, they got a change in orders to take the load to aruba, do you really think the office would accept having you jaunt in looping courses just to stay within 200 miles to keep the near coastal license valid? NO. Hiring an ocean license would let them send the boat the most economical course, to save money. The difference in personel cost between a near coastal versus an ocean endorsement is marginal. Huge waste of fuel is an unacceptable expenditure.

Your query about whether having one oceans license would ‘cover’ the trips is incorrect. The vessel either needs the wheelhouse complement to be oceans, or not. you cant piggyback off one another. If the particular trip requires an ocean license, then ALL operators must have an ocean license.

From my limited knowledge of this, only Mexico, the Bahamas, and Canada accept our licenses as ‘near coastal’ being acceptable to operate from their near coast. BUT, this is a very difficult thing to find out, and I don’t know of any company which will put the time in to figure this out. They just swap crews to make the trip with ocean licenses.

Of course your friend could just ‘go’ and try it. In all likelyhood it wouldn’t be discovered, unless there is an accident or investigation upon return. The he may simply have his license revoked. So yes, you could just ‘wing it’ and see if he gets away with it (provided you found a company to hire him on such voyage as an officer).

The USCG let us carry a tug from San juan to Norfolk & no one had an oceans endorsement on board. They gave us an ok to sail letter.

I always thought it was 200 NM from the beach

[QUOTE=Tugted;59994]The USCG let us carry a tug from San juan to Norfolk & no one had an oceans endorsement on board. They gave us an ok to sail letter.[/QUOTE]

I seem to recall in the late ‘70’s the USCG gave a permit to proceed to a guy who was attempting to ROW across the Atlantic. On his second attempt the idea was finally laid to rest. (So was he I guess) But the CG letter to proceed is NOT an all encompassing approval for ALL particulars of the voyage. It only address’ the vessels suitability to proceed, not necessarily the crew manning. These are uninspected vessels after all, and as can be seen manning is a convoluted issue. It all depends upon vessel tonnage, route, length of voyage, and COD,COI.

It is easy to find out who accepts “near coastal” that would be all STCW signatory states… Again, each signatory state has its own definition and the distance may not be 200 nm… It is in the USA

Then you get into the nasty conundrum of vessels that are under 100 tons that STCW does not apply, but they CAN go foreign, with no regard to STCW, or manning quota. The trouble I see is that the topic is not dealt with definitively from ANY one authoritative agency that is accepted world wide. Everyone has their own mishmash of regs, understandings, and ours (the USCG) honestly seems to be the worst, most convoluted and confusing.
It appears we use a law from 1936 to judge manning of vessels over 200 tons, a set of CFR cites to man everything else, but this is compounded by having STCW thrown in for manning for foreign, then add to it inland throw EVERYthing out the window, but foreign countries use a totally different system… go figure.

there is another issue here. the thought that a near coastal license is valid for foreign voyages. I am pretty certain that is not true. anyone got the CFR for that?

I was told you need Oceans to sail international now but I don’t know

[QUOTE=MateChristine;59969]So the USCG and/or shipping articles won’t restrict him from sailing on international voyages? Would he some how be ‘covered’ if he sailed with a master that had an oceans license? …[/QUOTE]

No. If the vessel is on an oceans voyage, every deck officer has to have an oceans license.

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in 05 i had the opposite experience from tugted. we were mid voyage down the eastern seaboard and the company found out that they in fact needed oceans licenses(and more ab’s) to get from Florida to Puerto Rico. this company had been sailing this trip for many years. turns out nc is good for 200nm from a US possession (rather than 200nm from shore) and there’s about a 40 mile stretch that’s greater than 200 nm from both Florida and PR. Granted the vessel we were on was over 100t and inspected, not an UTV. This at least was the opinion that was given by whoever they talked to in the USCG pre NMC.

A NC license can be valid for international but not oceans. Certain countries accept a USCG NC license and others do not. The international part comes from STCW compliance, rather than the license itself. I hold a NC license that with STCW has been accepted in Canada, Bahamas, Mexico and many Caribbean countries, whilst sailing on US flagged commercial vessels. . But I cannot sail more than 200 miles from the coast in order to reach theses countries.
AS others have stated I cannot go to Central America as it is not recognized by the countries there. And this is why I cannot sail [B]to[/B] the West Coast. But I have sailed Mexico to Alaska on voyages starting that side.

Anyone heard the phrase ‘near foreign’? That has an impact upon where a NC can go.

You know what is really crazy? The fact that there can even be a poll on a professional maritime forum asking such a question!

It simply boggles the mind that the CG can create a license category and not even bother to define it in a fashion that the people who hold the license can easily understand. Do those people get bonus points for smoke and mirrors and do they lose money for clarity?

This is another poster child illustration of why the CG ought to get the Hell out of the mariner licensing business. They don’t seem to know what they are doing and don’t seem to care that they are doing it so badly people have to have a poll to figure out what their license means.

Geesh …

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You can always take a 10 days course that most any 8th grader can pass and get the ocean endorsement.

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