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USCG Requirements for Master of Towing Vessels Upon Ocean, Near Coastal, Great Lakes & Inland and Western Rivers

master of towing

Master of Towing Vessels is a specialized license and the highest officer positions to work in a short-haul towing environment designated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Earning a Master of Towing reflects the time and experience you have and follow certain process needs to be followed that takes time and commitment.

A Master of a Towing Vessel means much more than just owning a license and is responsible for knowing all the regulations to which he or she and their crew must comply. A master’s first and foremost responsibility is the safety of his crew. The duties and responsibilities include - Moving and delivering freight or cargo, keeping accurate records of the crew and their responsibilities, upkeep and maintenance of the vessel in which he or she is in charge, customer service, and more.


Getting a Master of Towing license depends on the current endorsements you hold and proper documentation including the certificates and documenting your experience in towing vessels is an important task which needs to be done meticulously over the months and years. Below you can find the full details of the requirements for a Master of Towing Vessels license/endorsement.

Master of Towing (Ocean)

A license as master of towing vessels endorsed for oceans authorizes service on oceans routes and on the subordinate routes of near-coastal waters and Great Lakes-inland waters (except Western Rivers), without further endorsement.

Master of Towing (Near Coastal)

A license as master of towing vessels endorsed for near-coastal waters routes authorizes service on near-coastal waters routes and Great Lakes-inland waters routes (except Western Rivers), without further endorsement.

Master of Towing (Great Lakes-inland)

A license as master of towing vessels endorsed for Great Lakes-inland waters routes authorizes service on Great Lakes-inland waters routes (except Western Rivers) without further endorsement.

Master of Towing (Western Rivers)

A license as master of towing vessels, endorsed for Western Rivers routes, authorizes service on Western Rivers routes without further endorsement.

towing vessels master
Pic Courtesy: Master of Towing Vessels Association

Contents

Master of Towing Vessels is a specialized license and the highest officer positions to work in a short-haul towing environment designated by the USCG

Master of Towing Vessels General Requirements




  • Must have U.S. Citizenship
  • Must be at least Age 21
  • Approved Medical Certificate

USCG Master of Towing Vessels Requirements

  • If only holds Limited Master of Towing Vessels (T/V) and no Master Greater Than 200 GRT (500 GRT or above) is held, the applicant must first obtain Mate (Pilot)
  • A person holding this endorsement may qualify for an STCW endorsement, according to 11.307, 11.311, 11.313 and 11.315.

Sea Service Requirements

  • 540 days must be on towing vessels as Mate (Pilot) AND 90 days, in any deck position, on requested route unless route previously held as AMS or Mate (Pilot)
  • If route previously held only as Apprentice Mate Steersman (AMS), may need Towing Officer Assessment Record (TOAR) for other route(s)
  • Recency: 90 days service in the past 3 years on vessels. A minimum tonnage is not applicable for towing MMC. Not required for adding a route or adding to current MMC greater than 200 GRT

Service Credit

  • Service on Great Lakes (GL) will be credited day for day towards GL, Oceans or Near Coastal (NC)
  • Service on inland waters, other than GL, may substitute for up to 50% of the total required service towards Ocean and NC
  • Only service on Western Rivers (WR) is applicable towards WR endorsement
  • The OC or NC TOAR must still be completed to obtain the OC or NC MMC

Master of Towing Vessels Requirements for Master More (Greater) Than 200 GRT

  • May operate towing vessels within any restrictions on their endorsement if they have - 30 days of training & observation on towing vessels on a particular route; AND Either hold a completed TOAR OR complete an approved course.
  • Western Rivers requires 90 days of observation and training, TOAR or approved course and must be endorsed on credential
  • If operating on LMR Pilotage waters (MM 236 and below), not required to hold WR endorsement but must hold either a FCP for that route, a MMC for Western Rivers or Master greater than 200 GRT for other routes/waters.

Master of Towing Vessels Requirements for Removing Tonnage Limitation

  • This is mariners who were grandfathered with tonnage to match the inspected deck officer endorsement (Example: Master 100 GRT inspected with Master of Towing Vessels 100 GRT). Not to be used for limited geographic endorsements.
  • Completion of Apprentice Mate (Steersman) Exam or course, route appropriate
  • There is no equivalent or superior exam to remove the tonnage limitation on the T/V Endorsement. The equivalent or superior exam only applies to those who have never held Master of T/V and have met grandfathering per NVIC 3-16, Enclosure (10), see Checklist for National Grandfathering of Master & Mate (Pilot) of towing Vessels below.

Requirements for Adding a Route not held as Master

If holding an endorsement as Master Greater Than 200 GRT

  • Western Rivers: 90 day of observation and training on towing vessels; AND WR TOAR; AND evidence of Apprentice Mate/Steersman WR course/testing
  • Inland: 30 days of observation and training; AND Inland TOAR; AND evidence of Apprentice Mate Inland course/testing
  • Near Coastal / Oceans: 30 days of observation and training; AND NC/Oceans TOAR; AND evidence of Apprentice Mate/Steersman NC/Oceans course/testing
  • Testing is only required for holders of Master greater than 200 GRT if adding a superior route which is not already held (Example: Holds Master 500 Inland, adding Master T/V Near Coastal)

Master of Towing Vessels Other Requirements

  • First Aid (completed within 1 year)
  • Valid CPR For All Routes
  • Approved Basic Fire Fighting Course within 5 years of application date (unless previously met)
  • Valid STCW BT is acceptable
  • For Oceans: Basic Fighting as noted above and Advanced Fire Fighting Course within 5 years of application date (unless previously met) Valid STCW Advanced Firefighting is acceptable
  • The unless previously met noted above for firefighting covers most exceptions to Basic and/or Advanced Firefighting requirements. See NVIC 03-16, Enclosure (10) for all exceptions if firefighting not met or submitted
  • Exams: Course completion certificate in lieu of Coast Guard examination

Master of Towing Vessels Grandfathering Option

General Requirements

  • Age: 21
  • TWIC
  • Medical Certificate
  • Sea Service Letters or Discharges Entered on Spreadsheet (Optional) (MUST verify vessels in MISLE)

Sea Service Requirements

  • Mariners who met the training and service requirements for towing vessels before May 21, 2001, and have maintained a valid Coast Guard-issued credential may obtain a towing endorsement if they meet the following:

    • Demonstrate at least 90 days of towing service completed prior to May 21, 2001
    • Provide evidence of successfully completing the apprentice mate exam, its predecessor exam, or a superior exam (see note below)
    • Meet the renewal requirements in § 10.227(e)(6)(i) (May be met Maneuvering and Handling portion (Part D) of TOAR) of this subchapter

  • Mariners who operated towing vessels in the offshore oil and mineral industry prior to October 15, 2010, may obtain a towing endorsement until December 24, 2018 as follows:

    • Mariners who held officer endorsements as operator of uninspected towing vessels (OUTV) or mate or master of inspected self-propelled vessels may qualify for a towing endorsement if they meet the following:

      • Provide evidence of at least 90 days of service on towing vessels in the offshore oil and mineral industry completed prior to October 15, 2010
      • Provide evidence of successfully completing the apprentice mate (steersman) examination, its predecessor exam, or a superior exam (see note below)
      • Meet the renewal requirements in § 10.227(e)(6) of this subchapter

  • Mariners who operated towing vessels in the offshore oil and mineral industry prior to October 15, 2010, may obtain a towing endorsement until December 24, 2018 as follows:

    • Mariners who have NOT held operator of uninspected towing vessels (OUTV) or mate or master of inspected self-propelled vessels may qualify for a Master of Towing Vessel endorsement if they meet the following:

      • Provide evidence of at least 1440 days of service on towing vessels in the offshore oil and mineral industry completed prior to October 15, 2010
      • Successfully complete the appropriate apprentice mate (steersman) exam

  • Mariners who operated towing vessels in the offshore oil and mineral industry prior to October 15, 2010, may obtain a towing endorsement until December 28, 2018 as follows:

    • Mariners who have NOT held operator of uninspected towing vessels (OUTV) or mate or master of inspected self-propelled vessels may qualify for a Mate of Towing Vessel endorsement if they meet the following:

      • Provide evidence of at least 1080 days of service on towing vessels in the offshore oil and mineral industry completed prior to October 15, 2010
      • Successfully complete the appropriate apprentice mate (steersman) exam

Grandfathering Options Other Requirements

  • Approved Basic Fire Fighting Course within 5 years of application date (unless previously met)
  • Oceans Only: Approved Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting Course within 5 years of application date (unless previously met)

Exams

  • Course completion certificate in lieu of Coast Guard examination
  • A person holding this endorsement may qualify for an STCW endorsement, according to 11.307, 11.311, 11.313 and 11.315 

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Disclaimer: For general information purpose - please check with USCG for the latest requirements and accurate info