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Is MMA the only way to become capt of a large vessel?

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by cnkale80, Jul 12, 2008.

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  1. cnkale80

    cnkale80 New Member

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    I would think after years of hard work and moving up with excellent recommendations, you could obtain a high position, like a captain of, say, a 400+ ft vessel. Any thoughts on this?
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    First it takes the qualifications, then all you mentioned, incredible contacts and luck. I say luck because of the numbers. Do you realize how few 400' plus yachts there are in the world? If you're talking commercial craft much more likely.
  3. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Most US yacht captains start with a 100T license and then progress to 200T, 500T, and then 1600T. The next step in obtaining a larger license is to progress through the upper level Mate's licensing. They start with 3rd Mate Unlimited, 2nd, 1st, and then to Master Unlimited.
    On large ships, the 1600T license is almost useless, so the goal for those guys is to obtain the Master Unlimited. Since there are so few yachts over 1600T, the owners are turning to the commercial world for upper level crew.
    So, in answer to your question; Maritime Academies are a good avenue if this is your specific goal.
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Ken- The Class IV Yacht License is valid to be Master of vessels up to 3000 GT.

    Over this figure the powers that be except in very few cases ask for Commercial Certificates of Competency. If the poster is really set on being on a 400ft+ yacht as we know them he is likely to be on a vessel of 5-6000 GT. A commercial qualification is the only he would be able to sail in any watch keeping position and above.

    I recently heard about a case where the boat ( a private yacht) was over 3000 GT the Master and Chief Officer were both Unlimited Masters. The flag state declined to accept a guy with a Yacht Class IV to sail as 2nd Officer.

    I feel sorry for the individual concerned who is a hard worker and would be wiling to go back to school and do more study if he could go anywhere after Class IV Yacht but it seems the door is firmly closed in all but the rarest of cases.
  5. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    The 500T/1600T US License is the same for foreign flagged vessels. Since the US still works under the old tonnage ad-measure system (pre-ITC convention) the 500T and 1600T (GRT) licenses are valid for up to 3000T (ITC).
    As a side-note- the 200T (GRT) is valid for 500t (ITC)

    This is the same in the US System. I feel the solution will come when there is a large enough yachting demand for the commercial Maritime Schools to start a yacht-related program. At the present time, there aren't enough large yachts for up-and-coming crew to get the necessary seatime/tonnage for the unlimited licenses.
  6. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "I feel the solution will come when there is a large enough yachting demand for the commercial Maritime Schools to start a yacht-related program."

    Several of the state maritime academies already have "work boat" programs designed to train candidates for "lower level" licenses. In the U.S. licensing scheme there is no provision for a yacht limited license. A candidate may apply for a lower level license or an unlimited license, and as noted, the lower level license tops out at 1600 tons or 3000 IGT.

    The sea time accrued on smaller vessels is creditable toward an unlimited license but actual sea time is required to obtain any license, unlike the MCA system where time "signed onboard" is deemed adequate. That is one of the reasons why, in my opinion, the yacht license is a joke and very rightfully restricted to yachts. The minimal seatime and and experience required for a yacht license does not provide the exposure to seamanship and leadership that is a fundamental aspect of a professional mariner's job description.

    A Second Mate unlimited license holder can have that license endorsed as Master 1600 tons so there is a crossover for those who wish to have a career at sea that is not limited to yachts. There are several 2-year academy programs for those who wish to go that route toward a license.

    CnKale80, contact the several maritime schools and find out which program best fits your desires and then find out which companies offer the best training programs leading to your personal goal. The opportunities haven't been this good for many years.

    At the present time, there aren't enough large yachts for up-and-coming crew to get the necessary seatime/tonnage for the unlimited licenses.

    USCG requirement for unlimited 3rd mate:

    3rd Mate (46 CFR 10.407): 1080 days service in deck department on oceans with 180 days as AB on oceans while holding AB, or 360 days as master on oceans or near coastal vessels over 200 gross tons while holding license as master 1600 GRT on oceans or near coastal

    If you want a real license that is "portable" and recognized for service on any vessel of any size anywhere in the world, you have to get real experience and training. There isn't any way to get around that. But don't despair, you don't have to get all of that time and experience onboard an unlimited vessel.
  7. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Oops, forgot to include the very important qualification to the 3rd mate's requirement:

    "Unlimited Deck Licenses: All service required must be on vessels over 200 GRT; half of service must be on vessels over 1600 GRT or a tonnage limitation will apply. See 46 CFR 10.402 for tonnage limitations."

    It isn't an overnight proposition to get the time but the only other way is to attend a 4-year academy and learn leadership and seamanship through cadet training which simply doesn't exist on small vessels.
  8. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    Hmm, interesting!
    I had the perception that a USCG 1600 ton masters could get a COE for 3000 ton ITC, but that there was no such provision for a USCG 500 ton masters.
    Am I wrong?
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I am not sure what you meant by a "COE" ... if you meant a flag state endorsement of a another state's license, the level which that license may be endorsed is determined on a case by case basis by the flag state on application. If you meant a CEC, or certificate of equivalent competency, then the rules are spelled out very clearly. The disclaimer here is an assumption that since we are talking about yachts, we are talking U.S. or Red Ensign licensing authorities.

    From the horses mouth, as it were ...

    "All applicants holding USCG 500gt and 3000gt (International tonnage) Certificates of Competency will be required to pass an MCA oral examination of competency. For further details see annex 8 of MGN 221 Part 19. This is in addition to the UKLAP 1 for Masters."
  10. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    I meant CEC, sorry! So the question is, with a USCG 500 ton license, and a CEC, what can I drive?
  11. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "So the question is, with a USCG 500 ton license, and a CEC, what can I drive?"

    Isn't that a big part of what a captain is supposed to know? :D
  12. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Even without a CEC a US 500T is valid for 3000ITC. It should say so right on your license. Now the danger lies with whether or not you have the oceans endorsement.
  13. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    lol, I know what I can drive hehe, maybe I should have said, what will a flag state let me drive.
  14. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    License says, "MASTER OF STEAM OR MOTOR VESSELS OF NOT MORE THAN 500 GROSS REGISTERED TONS (DOMESTIC TONNAGE) UPON OCEANS"
  15. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Interesting. I haven't been the best at keeping up with their changes since I already have my licenses.
    My first officer got his 200T license in 2005 and it reads 200 GROSS REGISTERED TONS (DOMESTIC TONNAGE), 500 GROSS TONS (ITC TONNAGE)
    When was yours issued, and where?
  16. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    March 2007, NY, NY.
  17. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I would inquire if I were you. I'll make a point to tell my deckhand to mention it to Boston next week when he gets his 200T also.
  18. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Again, from the source ... which of course all good captains know this stuff already, right? ;)

    "Currently, for mariner licensing and documentation purposes, the only accepted equivalencies are for 200 GRT (domestic tonnage) and 1,600 GRT (domestic tonnage), which are recognized by STCW to be equivalent to 500 GT (ITC tonnage) and 3,000 GT (ITC tonnage), respectively."

    The following is a good "escape clause" for those licensed under the new scheme:

    "Increasing scope to 1600: If 500 ton exam completed before 1 Feb 2002 regulations went into effect, then the full examination must be taken. If tested after 1 Feb 2002, there are no additional testing requirements."

    Personally, I have my reservations about the new automatic upgrade route because like most old school guys, I feel that it is a watered down system. However I can also agree that testing just eliminates those who are not good test takers and doesn't really prove much. All the more reason why the USCG requirements for real sea-time makes it a far better system for producing professional mariners.

    So, out of the mud of regulations comes the gem of reality; the USCG 500 ton is equivalent to whatever the MCA or flag state says it is worth when you apply for a CeC or endorsement based on their interpretation of the STCW.
  19. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    Is there an echo in here? Are you saying because someone like myself, or Ken Bracewell doesn't know this stuff we are bad captains?
    This was my understanding before reading this thread. Ken made a post stating that 500 GRT domestic was equivalent to 1600 ITC, and I asked for clarification.
    Twice now you have intimated that I should already know this. This forum is a great tool for exchange of information. Everyone does not know everything, and I for one value being able to read others opinions and ideas. Making (what I consider to be) a snide remark about what someone else should already know certainly does not encourage open discussion.
  20. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "Making (what I consider to be) a snide remark about what someone else should already know certainly does not encourage open discussion."

    Perhaps the colorful smiley thing was too subtle. It is not "snide" to remark on the responsibility of a license holder to be conversant with the regulations under which the priviledges and responsibilities of that license are exercised. Even the regulators don't expect everyone to know everything, but they very rightly expect a license holder to know where to find the answer to a question about the limitations of that license.

    I am sorry you took offence, none was intended personally. I am, however, very cynical about the level of knowledge held by far too many in this business. Several times very recently I have had to deal with the mess created by license holders (in one case a fake license) who because of their ignorance or arrogance have exposed owners, charter guests, and managers to frightening liability and very real financial penalties.

    Holding a license isn't just about glad handing a charter guest or making a good landing and "open discussion" means talking about things that might not be comfortable to talk about.