Yank with Aussie Licence Coming Home, Many Questions....!

G’day All @ G’Capt.!
I have been enjoying the fruits of my duel citizenship, by working the charter industry in the Whitsundays ( Great Barrier Reef ) in Northern Queensland. I started as deckhand, and worked up to just finishing my Master 5 Skippers licence, as well as my MED 3 Engineering Licence. The required amount of seatime for these licences is approx 1000 sea days, All logged and ratified by the Australian Gov…This is all good and well, however due to family probablems, I am needing to move back home to NC. I have no licence in the US, and want to know if my seatime would count towards a USCG 200 Ton Masters licence? I can provide more information on the course material I just completed if that would help?

Any help would be great guys!


Service on foreign vessels is acceptable, see 46 CFR 11.205(b)(3) Course material probably won’t help, we don’t accept courses that were not approved by the USCG.

Isn’t that a “State” rather than Australian maritime authority issued ticket for <24 meters near coastal? If so it doesn’t count outside the state it was issued does it? The MCA and other Red Ensign Group flags won’t give you any credit for it either, not even on a yacht.

It looks like you are starting from scratch unless you can “obtain” the sea service letters that got you that ticket. Of course, when the USCG gets their latest scam through Congress, that ticket might get you a master’s berth on an unlimited mud boat in the GOM or a chief mates job with APL or Maersk.

The type vessels you’ve been on would GREATLY determine the type of sea time you have. The sea service to obtain a license is tonnage dependent. So if you have (for example) only time on 15 ton yachts and party dive boats, then that is all you will qualify for here (After more time, testing and fees) What IS a “Master 5” llicense anyway? description, tonnage, route, etc etc.

OK, So a Master 5 enables me to act as
Master a commercial/trading Aus Flagged vessel up to 200 nm offshore and up to 24 meters in length. It is not a duel deck ticket, so I also have my MED 3 ( Marine Engine Driver) grade 3. That allows me to operate up to up to 500Kw to 15 nm offshore and 250Kw up to 200nm offshore.
Chief Mate of a trading vessel less than 35 metres in length for ACMW (Aus Costal Marine Waters…) operations (within 600nm).
Chief Mate of a fishing vessel less than- 80 metres in length for offshore operations (within 200nm); or 35 metres in length for unlimited domestic operations.
Watchkeeper on a fishing vessel less than 80 metres in length for offshore operations (within 200nm)
Watchkeeper on a fishing or trading vessel less than 35 m in length for ACMW operations.

This ticket is valid in all Aus terr waters…not just a state licence…The silly thing is that here in Oz, we dont have tonnage restrictions, only vessel LWL. Most of my time has been on vessels over 150 GRT and 20meters in length. I have a ROS ( Record of Service ) book from the State of QLD and have logged all my seatime and had it ratified, will this be enough for the USCG, or do I need to go ahead and get stat decs or somthing from the vessel owners/masters now as im still here? IMO and AMSA are working on getting Australia to start tonnage tickets…but Im not hedgeing my bets it will happen anytime soon…

I think getting official letters summarizing your service and stating the vessels data including tonnage, (GRT, GT, ITC, the more explanations the better) will be required by the USCG, while you’re at it get 3 or more letters of recommendation from some masters vouching for your moral veracity and seamanship. Welcome back the USA; you will be dealing with the USCG NMC in WV (of all places!) where “you will be facing a bureaucracy beyond your comprehension, and you will not be counting days, or months, or years, but millenniums in a place with no doors.”<O:p</O:p
(Ok it’s not quite THAT bad, I just always wanted to use that line…)<O:p</O:p

OK, here is a sample sea service letter:

TO: USCG office (wherever)

This is to certify that Mr SailorOlive SSN 123456789 has served in the capacity XXXXXXXXXX aboard the following vessel: F/V barrier reefer, Official no, 123456 25 Gross Tons, upon the waters of Sydney Harbor upon (oceans, nearcoastal, inland) waters. Mr Sailorolive worked from jan 01 2001 to jan 31 2006 for a total of 365 days underway.

Mr Sailorolive stood 8 hour navigation watches as master of the vessel.

Signed, vessel owner, or supervisor.

If YOU were the owner you can sign your own letter. You will need a separate letter for each vessel (unless they were owned by the same company)

With these letters you will be able to satisfy the sea service requirements to be approved to take the USCG exams when you get here. Unfortunately your courses and exams you took there aren’t worth anything here (except as a prep for the USCG exams) The USCG typically will give 1.5 times the tonnage to ‘step up’ to a bigger license. So if you have a predominant amount of time on 25 ton vessels you will get a 50 ton license. If you have time on a 50 ton vessel you will get a 100 ton. I know its not 1.5 times, but they work in 50 ton increments. Depending on which license you are looking for, there may be other courses you may have to take, CPR, First Aid, Radar Observer, Firefighting, Water safety, Social Responsibility, vessel security officer, Celestial Nav course (if you want oceans) and more, if the CG has a hair across their ass about your experience!

You do know there are ‘license mills’ here in the US that specifically teach you the exam. In your case this is probably exactly what you need, since you have years experience, you just need the US exams. One of the schools is “SEA SCHOOL” google them up.