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USCG- Sea time

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by ychtcptn, Jan 11, 2014.

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  1. trmnewt

    trmnewt Member

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    Interesting thread for me, as I am toying with getting a captain's license. When I got my first "yacht" (a Carver 355), I called the Coast Guard to ask if I should get a 6 pack license (as I was moving up from a 19 1/2 runabout)--they LAUGHED at me! I am now within sight of retirement, and considering moving boats as a post-retirement job. As a practicing physician, I currently have no time to "crew", and as a lifelong boat owner, it seems onerous. I recently was told that I can log the time I spend on my own boat as "sea time". I have heard conflicting things about what I can count as a day, and sad to say, nothing in this thread has helped to clear up my confusion!
    I have been told I can log time spent at the dock (most weekends) as sea time, and also that I can only count time under way. I am a recreational boater, and do go out most weekends, but am seldom underway for 4+ hours, but am often on the water for 4+ hours. Any comments regarding my situation?
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Yes you can log the time on your boat but for an OUPV and master up to 100t a day is considered 4 hours underway. If you are logging the time on your own boats you need to provide a copy of registrwtion or documentation.

    But it has to be underway so docked or even anchoded doesn't count. If you like to drift fish for hours in a small boat, then you are in luck and woudl be considered underway... On the other hand, say you had crossed to bimini dozens of time in less than 4 hours... You are out of luck. None of that time woudl count

    Makes sense, right?
  3. trmnewt

    trmnewt Member

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    GREAT information--thank you so much! And yes, Pascal, it does make sense now--more than the regs themselves, and other posts
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    But the 4 hours underway counts from the time you get on board getting the vessel ready to leave and tied up and secured and shut down.
  5. Sea Gull

    Sea Gull Member

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    See if this makes sense: A lot of my boating is done on Long Island Sound. I can go almost anywhere on the Sound in my 58 foot boat in less than 4 hours, so I have to try very hard to be at sea for more than 4 hours. To add insult to injury the entire Sound is inside the COLREGS Demark line so this is all inland sea service even though LIS can have "big water" conditions with waves, current, fog, commercial traffic, etc.

    Now, if I travel 3.5 hours to Block Island, RI, in waters open to the Atlantic Ocean, crossing shipping lanes, using coastal navigation skills, etc. I get no credit for days at sea. BUT, once I get there, if I sail a windsurfer around the protected waters of Great Salt Pond on Block Island for 4 hours I get credit for a sea day OUTSIDE the Demark line.

    I think the rules need to change.
  6. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    J, Are y sure about counting the time getting ready counts? The regs read "underway" so until you drop the lines or mooring, you are not underway.

    Seagull... Yep... Been beaten more than once in LIS... :). I dont recall the minimum size for time to count but I believe it s 13 or 14' so a windsurfer woudlnt count :)
  7. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    The confusion surfaces because the CFR doesn't define so it's an interpretation made by the Coast Guard. But Capt Bill actually asked this question of someone in the Credentialing Program early in the year and got a response. The response he got is consistent with what I've heard and what Capt J says above. "Time at the dock as part of normal operations is OK. Time when the vessel is not underway for extended periods is not."

    Actually, I can't find that the regulations read "underway" although they may well. They actually use terms like "watchstanding" and "day working". Now one of their forms does use the term "underway."

    Now various people interpret differently and arguments pursue. However, what I've seeen as a general consensus is that if the boat is in service as shown by moving then all the time expended that day counts. This is all related to being at sea. As the answer Capt Bill got reads, it is part of normal operations. Meanwhile just spending time on a boat sitting clearly does not.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    It's interesting to note that the Coast Guard has a renewal calculator. It may be accessed here. https://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/port...%2Fmmld%2FMMCVSearchBody.jsp&pageTypeId=13489

    It doesn't over complicate things as we tend to do. For Sea Service types it has a very simple pop up screen that reads:

    "8 Hour Workday (Straight Time)

    8 hours of watchstanding or workday not to include overtime. On vessels less 100 GRT the OCMI may reduce the hours, but in no case will it be less than 4 hours.

    12 Hour Workday (Time and One Half)

    For vessels where a 12 hour workday is authorized and practiced such as on a 6-on, 6-off watch schedule, each workday may be creditable as 1 and 1/2 days of service.

    Military Time

    Military service computations should be deferred to a REC or NMC for a full evaluation.

    Maintenance Time

    Maintenance time at the pier is not counted toward sea service."

    And it allows you just to enter dates simply from ship date to discharge date. But this is also not regulation, but interpretation of regulation.
  9. trmnewt

    trmnewt Member

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    Again, much useful information. I think I see how to log this now!
  10. saltysenior

    saltysenior Senior Member

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    SENSE?
    i went down to Miami for a renewal (100T/100M.) 20 or so years ago...On a boat steady for about 8 years, but we put on very few hrs. Owners seem reluctant to sign a form that says they will go to jail or shot for fibbing about sea time.
    So I went with what I had and was turned down..Offered my w-2 forms but that was no good.. A lieutenant asked if I owned a boat. I told him I owned a 12ft Alumacraft . He asked how often I used it and I lied and said pretty often , fishing in the Rim Canal ..They said they would accept that as sea time...That's when I tried to go over the counter to punch him in the nose and demanded to go upstairs to see the OCMI. .....That's when they put the big black star on my records folder, but I did get my renewal
    Make Sense???
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Although I'm surprised they accepted experience on a 12' (thought the minimum was 26'), it makes perfect sense (although 100GT is supposed to require experience on a like tonage vessel). It's the government. Don't expect common sense. Just use the right color pen, pay your money and tell them what they want to hear. When I first got my ticket, I went to Sea School because it was explained to me that it's not so much knowing your stuff, but knowing how the CG phrases stuff. It was a good investment.
    As an independent captain it's almost impossible to get Sea Service forms filled out. I might have well over 100 employers in a year. So I kept my own logs and filled out my own Sea Service forms. Through 5 renewals I've never had a problem. It should also be noted that I've never joined one of those drug test consotiums. Except for when I worked commercial boats, I've never been questioned about it nor subjected to a random drug test. Instead, every 5 years (on a date I chose) I took a drug test for my renewal. More ridiculousness, but that's dealing with the government.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I have similar results. Do the same thing with the drug test. I run a lot of boats, but do get owners to fill out forms on the ones I run often (manage, such as you with Valhalla) and also on deliveries I have the owner sign the form when I get there....this usually is at least double the seatime required for renewal if not more......so I don't worry about trying to document the one day wonders that you run for a broker or this one or that one and never see the boat again......Now, you can take a 3 day "refresher" course at any of the schools and not have to submit any seatime for a renewal. I've never done that, but have fellow Captains that do similar Captaining that simply do that because it's easier.
  13. saltysenior

    saltysenior Senior Member

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    the last two times I renewed, I never showed any sea time. As I recall they sent me home with some sort of a test. I remember the last time, I found all the answers on my PC...
  14. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    5 years ago I renewed using the 1 day course with an open book exam and the instructor sitting across the desk from me.
    It was quick, we were done before noon, painless but $150.00.
    This time I am using sea-time, found out I can use my 18" River Rat runabout and my 18" Duffy.
    (I thought renewal had to be on a "tonage" boat, but that is only for upgrade-renewals)
    Did the forms, did the drug test, did the medical, (the TWIC is current) should have the stamp in the mail in a week or two.
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I've decided not to renew anymore. Since I don't need a license to run private boats, and I'm cutting way back on my independent work, and I'm sure done working commercial boats, why expose myself to the liability and cost. I'll just be a guy with a lot of experience on boats.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I think you should keep your license and renew it. If you only use it 1 day a year because an insurance company requires it, etc. The renewal pays for itself......it's a lot easier to renew it then it is to let it lapse and then try to get it again.
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    If an insurance company reqires it they can hire a kid with a year's experience on a 12' and a ticket. lol. I'd rather just be "the guy". The guy who enjoys the holidays instead of working the holidays, and the guy who has no more concern for liability than any other nobody. A lot of captain's have made the news and the court dockets in recent years. We've got a couple or so right here on Long Island. People know me, If they want my experience and personality, and I feel like doing their job, cool. Otherwise I've got my lawn to mow, a bike to ride or..................... There's really no upside to renewing my ticket, and there's a lot of downsides.
  18. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Not renewing will not reduce your liability. As long as you receive pay it will remain. Also, your experience and being a former Master would still be considered in determining what was reasonable to expect.

    Now as to you not renewing that's your option. I see it as a way of forcing yourself to slow down and do less and, if so, that's good. You deserve some retirement and time to spend just relaxing and enjoying life. Besides you may be looping with the current owner another 5 years. Next year could get you to Lake Michigan. Maybe then the following summer up to Lake Superior. Then down the Mississippi to Kentucky Lake. One year on the Cumberland and one on the Tennessee. One down the Tombigbee to Mobile. Then one across the Gulf to the west coast of Florida. One more to the East Coast of Florida. A side trip to Cuba by then. Another year to the Bahamas. Then Georgia and SC. Followed by NC and VA. A year on the Potomac and Chesapeake. Then the following year home.

    We applaud you're taking it at your own speed and not rushing. Almost sounds like retirement already with an owner you like.

    Just as long as you're being paid and based on your lifetime of experience, the expectations and liability will be there.
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You may or may not be correct about being a former Master having an effect on liability, but hopefully we'll never find out. Although, with the Exxon Valdez for instance, there was a lot of scrutiny on what the master did the night before and days before. Never heard of concern with a non-license holder past 'did they pass the pee test'. Even on the boat that overturned here when overloaded for a 4th of july fireworks show a few years back, I never even heard the name of the person driving the boat mentioned. All I heard was that the guy driving was a friend or uncle of the boat's owner. All scrutiny was on the owner. Now granted, I've never had an incident, but it definitely reduces daily stress not being concerned about losing a license and hopefully being treated as an old sea dog more than a licensed master should an incident occur.

    As for the time it'll take to complete the loop, we'll see, but I doubt anything near that as we're already in Michigan, but there are other trips and loops to make should the owner and I decide to keep cruising after. The wonderful thing about the sea is that there's always new places to cruise.
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    They do sobriety tests all of the time following an accident, whether the master is licensed all of the time or not. I think not being licensed and getting paid to run the boat, opens up your liability even more so as the boats insurance company is less likely to cover a situation. You would have to be on the policy of every single boat as an insured operator. Where crew coverage, covers a licensed master on any boat they step on, even if it's moving the boat from one slip to the next in the same marina as a favor for a friend.

    I would keep the license just to keep your options open, should you get bored. There's no reason you can't be licensed and semi or mostly retired and still pick your jobs or none at all. I just think it's good to keep your options open and renewing it isn't terribly expensive. Even if you decide to get a boat of your own, the license will give you an insurance discount. IMO, there are a lot more benefits of keeping it than letting it lapse. I have someone your age, same situation that let his license lapse, then 2 years later he needed money and was looking for work, and I could've given him a trip and he would've made good money, but the insurance company required a licensed captain. One or two days pay of the trip would've paid for all of his renewal expenses......Most of the boats I work for as well as brokers and manufacturers, their insurance always requests a copy of my license.