A mariners experience is measured in calendar days; “benchmarks” are the points in a mariners career where they have the experience to qualify for the next level of Merchant Mariner Credential endorsements that are required to advance in that career. Holding the endorsement as Mate of Towing is not a guarantee that you will be working as a mate; but you will never get the mate’s job unless you hold the Mate endorsement. Here are the benchmarks that every mariner who works on a tug should be watching for. If you already meet these sea service experience requirement and do not have the endorsement than you are falling behind. Experience alone will not get you to the next level; you must have the level of endorsement before you are ready to advance.
- With 360 days of experience on any vessel (including recreational vessels), on any waters the mariner should apply for an Able Seaman (AB) endorsement.
- With 540 days of experience that includes 360 days on towing vessels that mariner should apply for Apprentice Mate (steersman) of Towing Vessels.
- With 900 days of experience that includes 360 days working on towing vessels while holding the Apprentice Mate (steersman) endorsement, and a completed TOAR (Towing Officer Assessment Record), the mariner should apply for Mate of Towing.
- With 360 days experience as Mate of Towing, while holding an endorsement as Mate of Towing, the mariner should apply for Master 500 tons.
- With 900 days experience that includes 540 days as Mate of Towing while holding the Mate of Towing endorsement the mariner should apply for Master of Towing.