Frequently Asked Questions
And some not asked as frequently as they should be!
Table of Contents
- Renewal Beyond Grace
- General Questions OUPV & Master 25-200 GRT
- Foreign Sea Service
- Renew without STCW or for Continuity
- Submarine Sea Service
- Several Testing Questions
- Testing In Another Port
I have a question that I hope you can answer for me. I earned my third assistant engineers license for unlimited horsepower steam and motor vessels in 1992. I have been working shore side ever since. Although I am currently working in the marine voyage repair industry, and always have since 1987. I have never renewed my license, but now I am wondering what would be required of me if I were to do so. Is it even possible for me to renew it at all, or would it be necessary for me to provide documentation for all of my sea time, or as in my case graduate from a maritime academy all over again?
Ed. Note - Since this license was never renewed, it expired 1997, and the grace period expired in 1998.
Yes, you can renew your license. You will be required to provide the following items:
Current SAMHSA Drug test
Renewal evaluation fee of $50.00
You will be required to test for the entire 3rd assistant exam. This will cost $45.00 or take a renewal course. It will be $45.00 to have your license issued and another $45.00 to have your MMD (Z-card) renewed.
If you wish to sail on vessels, other than in Domestic Trade, you will also be required to meet the 95 STCW requirements of Rating Forming Part of an Engine Room Watch (RFPEW) (USCG Policy Letter 14-02) and if you are not already qualified, meet the requirements for Lifeboatman (USCG Policy Letter 08-01). Both of these Policy Letters can be found on the Coast Guard Website at www.uscg.mil/STCW/Index.htm I would strongly suggest that you review these policy letters to better understand what is required. This website will also give you access to the Application, Physical and Drug Testing forms that you can down load.
If the answer to this question sounds a bit overwhelming or additional information or assistance to this mariner would be necessary, I would say that considering our "Mariner Pre-Evaluation" package would be the best course of action.
Is there an written examination required to get this license?
YES, if you take the exams at the CG there are 4 to 8 modules, depending upon which license you are applying for. The examination fee is $95.00.
NO, if you take a CG Approved Course. See our listing of Local USCG Approved Schools. Several different courses are available, and which you need will depend on which license you want and/or are qualified for.
Regarding the letters of character reference, do they need to be signed by a licensed master?
No, for licenses (under 200 Gross tons) the letters do not need to be from licensed mariners, just people who can attest to your good character. The letters should be notarized if they are not on company letterhead.
What documentation is required for proof of sea service?
If you own the vessel, you must provide proof of ownership. There is a "small boat" form in the packet of information that you fill out and attach with the proof of ownership.
Is there a minimum or maximum age limit on acquiring sea service?
Sea service can be accumulated from the age of 16 and there is no upper age limit.
Is simply owning a boat and operating it for my personal use enough for this license?
Yes, as long as you can provide proof of ownership and have at least 360 days (not hours) of service.
How many hours equals a day?
For a license as OUPV or Master up to 200 GRT, 4 hours is considered one day. For any license or document rating over 200 GRT, 8 hours is considered to be one day.
Ed. Note - Do you have questions like these? Does one of these answers lead to many other questions? If so, let us help. Contacting us is quick and easy, and our customers tell us that the information we provide them generally saves them more than the cost of our service.
We offer cost effective consulting for those seeking OUPV and Master 25-200 GRT licenses too!
I just got evaluated for an AB unlimited endorsement. I took the test and received my upgraded MMD. I will be getting my citizenship in the spring. My question is; Can I use the same sea time for a Mate license?
Congratulations on becoming a U. S. Citizen! Yes, your previous sea service (foreign or domestic) can be used toward a Mates License.
If so, what grade of license will it be? I am currently holding a foreign license as Mate.
Wow, you certainly don't ask easy questions, especially first thing on a Monday morning!
First of all, you will need to meet Policy Letter 01-02, before you can apply for a mate 200 gross ton near coastal; mate 500-1600 gross tons ocean or near coastal; or a 3rd mate ocean or near coastal. Unfortunately the U.S., at this time, does not accept foreign STCW course certificates.
If you do not chose to meet the 95 STCW requirements, your mates license would be restricted to, and probably read something like this: "vessels of less than 200 gross register tons (domestic tonnage) and less than 500 gross tons (ITC tons), on domestic voyages only, the holder of this license meets the STCW 95 regulations without further endorsement".
If you are applying for a mate fishing industry license, you are not required to meet the 95 STCW requirements of Policy 01-02 unless you are going to be working on a pure processor, or if you are applying for a mate Inland you are not required to meet the 95 STCW requirements.
Without seeing your sea service and what you would most likely submit to the Coast Guard for evaluation, this answer can only be of a general nature. The only sure thing is Policy 01-02 and the BST necessary for any mates license over 200 gross tons on ocean or near coastal waters and of course your citizenship are going to be required.
Ed. Note - Our service offers unlimited access to our staff of experienced evaluators who will be glad to help you plan your career, answer your questions, and help you schedule your training.
My license renewal date is approaching, but Radar expires this month.
I understand that my full time employment as an instructor will satisfy the sea service requirements for license renewal. For the STCW though will I have to complete a Basic Safety Training (BST) course?
Working in 'a closely related field' takes care of your sea service, but you still must take the Rules of the Road. You must also obtain current BST and Radar Observer course completion certificates.
If you can not complete the courses in the required time, you may renew your license without an STCW, in which case your license will be restricted to less than 200 GRT. You can also renew for 'continuity' as well.
Ed. Note - Our Established Customers automatically receive timely notification of the requirements to renew their licenses, required training, and assistance locating and scheduling the training to complete prior to license expiration.
If you are only interested in the notification described above, please drop us a line as we are considering offering notification as a separate service.
Am I correct that engineers who qualified on submarines can get 60% of their sea time?
The 60% rule is only for military time. Military time counts at 60% of overall time and 100% of that 60% is used.
Where can the rule be found concerning testing for Rules Of The Road?
This rule is not in the CFR, it's in the "Deck Exam Guide" page v paragraph 20 Rules of the Road Module Administration: "The Rules of the Road module is to be administered to all deck license candidates applying for endorsements to either remove tonnage limitations or to increase the scope to an existing license when required to complete a written examination or comparable course in lieu of the requisite examination if the rules of the road modules, or a course in lieu of this module, has not been completed within the last twelve calendar months. This requirement will not apply to endorsements such as: Auxiliary Sail, Assistance Towing, Tankerman PIC, Radar or when removing a tonnage limitation by administering the flashing light test."
If the individual has taken the Rules of the Road within the past 12 months, then they do not have to take them again.
If the individual has not taken the Rules of the Road within the past 12 months, then they MUST take them before they proceed with any other testing or provide a CG Approved Course for Rules of the Road for the appropriate license.
There seems to be some confusion at my workplace about the number of times you can retake the Rules of the Road test, and whether or not that test must be taken before other tests.
Part one of your question: You are allowed the Original test and should you fail that you will be allowed two additional retakes for a total of three. If you should fail the third time then you must wait from 60 to 90 days to retake the exam.
Part two of your question: See the answers in the above question.
Ed. Note - We offer a special service for mariners seeking Federal Pilotage that significantly simplifies the process.
I am currently taking a course at a school on the East coast. The USCG is going to provide testing on campus when we finish. My records are in Seattle. Can I take the test here?
Yes, if you are merely taking a course to get a certificate.
Ed. Note - These questions and their answers were taken from our chief evaluators correspondence with mariners over the last few years. If you have a question that has not been addressed here, we recommend you first check our FAQ Archive then check our newsletter archive, then use Info Request to ask a new question.