A TOAR is required for all Towing Officer Endorsements. The TOAR is a practical assessment of the skills required to safely perform the duties of a watch officer on a Towing Vessel. The TOAR assessments must be checked off by a Designated Examiner (DE); this is an experienced towing officer who holds an endorsement as Master of Towing AND has been approved by the National Maritime Center as a qualified DE.
Ideally each towing company will have one or more DEs that can complete the required assessments. While this may work good for those employed, it puts many other mariners in a “catch 22” position; meaning that they can’t get the job without the TOAR and can’t get the TOAR without the job.
I was able to locate one school that has an approved TOAR course, Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy. They provide a 2-day course for $1,000 that will satisfy the TOAR assessment for all towing routes except Western Rivers (Mississippi River and her tributaries).
This course appears to be scheduled one on one as needed.