Radar Observer Endorsement: What is it and who need it

Title 46 CFR 11.480 establishes the Radar Observer Endorsement as an MMC National Officer endorsement. It may be issued with any of three routes:

  • Radar Observer (Unlimited) is valid on any waters.
  • Radar Observer (Inland and Gulf Coast Intercoastal Waterways) is valid only on waters governed by the Inland Rules of the Road excluding the Great Lakes.
  • Radar Observer (Rivers) is valid only on rivers, canals, or other similar waterways designated by the Coast Guard governed by the Inland Rules of the Road.

All radar observer endorsements are valid for five years. Completion of a USCG approved Radar Refresher, or Radar Recertification course is required to renew the endorsement. When renewing an MMC with a radar observer endorsement the mariner must provide a valid radar observer certificate or the endorsement will be removed from their MMC.

Title 46 CFR 15.815 identifies the Radar Observer Endorsement as a manning requirement. This regulation states that all deck officers, including the master, on towing vessels greater than 26 feet in length, and all inspected vessels greater than 300 GRT must have a valid Radar Observer Endorsement appropriate for the waters the vessel is sailing on. Upon request by the Coast Guard a deck officer will have 48 hours to produce a valid certificate of training to demonstrate that they have a valid endorsement.

Columbia Pacific Maritime offers three radar courses:

  • Radar Observer (Unlimited) is a 5-day class ($800) offered on alternating weeks twice a month.
  • ARPA is a 4-day class ($600) offered on alternating weeks twice a month. A FREE radar recertification is provided with the ARPA class upon request.
  • Radar Recertification is a 1-day class ($250)  offered 7-days a week. While most mariners get through this class in an easy day, there is no additional charge to mariners requiring addition time to complete the requirements.
  • More information on radar >>

    Radar John

    John Degber is the CPM radar instructor


About Dennis

Instructor and Director at Columbia Pacific Maritime LLC
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