How to get a Master of Towing Vessel

To stand a navigation watch on any towing vessel greater than 26 feet the mariner must hold a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) endorsement as either Master of Towing, or Mate (Pilot) of Towing. The mariner in charge of the vessel, the captain, must hold an MMC endorsement as Master of Towing. There are no tonnage limitations on these endorsements, they apply to all uninspected towing vessels and all inspected towing vessels operated under subchapter M regulations.

There are two paths described in 46 CFR 11.464 to get a Master of Towing endorsement. The primary method is to hold an MMC endorsement as Mate (Pilot) of Towing Vessels and gain 540 days (18-months) experience as mate on a towing vessel. The other method is holding an MMC endorsement as Master 500 GRT or greater, with 30 days of observation and training on a towing vessel, and a completed TOAR (Towing Officer’s Assessment Record).

There are three paths described in 46 CFR 11.465 to get a Mate (Pilot) of Towing endorsement. The primary method is to hold an MMC endorsement as Apprentice Mate (steersman) of Towing Vessels and gain 360 days of experience on towing vessels while holding the Apprentice Mate endorsement, and to complete a TOAR. Another path is to hold an MMC endorsement as Mate 500 GRT or greater, with 30 days of observation and training on a towing vessel, and a completed TOAR. The third method is the document 1080 days (3-years) experience operating inspected vessels less than 200 GRT while holding an MMC endorsement as Master 200 GRT or less (25, 50, or 100), with 90 days of observation and training on a towing vessel, a completed TOAR, and complete the Apprentice Mate (Steersman) exams.

The Apprentice Mate (Steersman) of Towing is the preferred path to Mate and Master of Towing. It is also the only path that all the exams may be completed by taking a USCG approved course. To qualify for Apprentice Mate the mariner must have 540 days (18 months) of total experience that includes at least 360 days ( 1 year) on towing vessels (reference 46 CFR 11.466).

Columbia Pacific Maritime offers 500/1600 ton license prep for mariners seeking Mate and Master of Towing vessel by getting a Mate or Master 500 ton endorsement. A more streamlined route to Mate and Master of Towing is getting an Apprentice Mate (Steersman) endorsement. Columbia Pacific Maritime offers a three course sequence that will satisfy the exam requirements for this endorsement.

  • Master 100 ton (10 days, $1,200)
  • Upgrade 100 to 200 tons (4 days, $600)
  • Apprentice Mate (Steersman) Upgrade (2 days, $400)

For more information on towing vessel endorsements call 503-841-6066 or visit the towing page of our website (www.ColumbiaPacificMaritime.com). We are always happy to help.

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About Dennis

Instructor and Director at Columbia Pacific Maritime LLC
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