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How To Choose Your First Credential: What & When???

This may sound like a no brainer but on the contrary it can be critical in this regulatory based environment to choose and prepare for the correct first credential. This is true whether you are working towards an MCA or USCG qualification and it is true whether you plan to work on yachts or commercial ships. Years ago things were a little simpler. Most people working on yachts did not need any regulatory based training or official licenses and when they did there were only a couple of options and there was no wrong answer. Today, things are a little more complicated; based on international standards there are specific requirements and prerequisites. It is really the prerequisites that now create a need for planning and preparation to ensure you get the right ticket to advance in your career path both cost effectively and time efficiently to allow you to be promoted as soon as you are ready without “wasting sea time” or money...

Your nationality is no longer the whole answer to which direction to go with certification, however let’s look at the “American” route through the USCG as well as the MCA route which has no nationality requirements. Both are based on their respective interpretations of the IMO STCW Code. We will talk about deck qualifications this month and address engineering next month.

 

CAREER GOAL: To become a Superyacht Captain ≤ 10 YEAR PLAN

USCG STCW Compliant Merchant Credential:
As early as possible: Entry level training
6 months sea time as deckhand: International RFPNW II/4 (Rating Forming Part of a Navigation Watch) & Able Seafarer (National Endorsement Only)
12 months sea time HOLDING the RFPNW: Add the International Endorsement as Able Seafarer II/5
36 months of total sea time, including 6 months with the AB: Get the II/1 Mate/OOW/OICNW 500-3000 GT / OICNW Over 3000 GT (based on tonnage)
12 months of sea time holding / serving on OOW: Get the II/2 Chief Mate of vessels of 500-3000 GT
24 months of sea time holding / serving on OOW: Get the II/2 Master of vessels of 500-3000 GT

 

MCA STCW Compliant Yacht Credential:
As early as possible: Entry level training
6 months service time: Get your EDH and then Yachtmaster
36 months of total service time, including 12 months with the EDH: Get the II/1 OOW (Y) 3000 GT or Chief Mate (Y) 3000 GT (depending on training)
12 months of service time holding / serving on OOW/Chief Mate: Get the II/2 Master of Yachts of 500 GT
24 months of service time holding / serving on OOW/Chief Mate: Get the II/2 Master of Yachts of 3000 GT

Please feel free to contact me for more information on how or when to complete each step of the process. Keep in mind that if you are a current or past member of the military with relevant experience, you may qualify for the Military2Mariner Transition Program and get credit for sea service and/or training towards a high level credential without starting at the bottom of the ladder. Note that if your goal is to be the captain of a charterboat or a yacht under 200 tons, there are additional options that are available in less time and with fewer hoops.

 

Amy Morley-Beavers serves as the VP Regulatory Compliance/Academic Principal at MPT in Fort Lauderdale as well as Vice Chairman of the Merchant Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security as well as the Vice President of the Maritime Education Standards Counsel (MESC). She holds a Masters License and has been advising mariners on matters related to training, licensing and certification since 1986. You can send “Ask Amy” your questions or comments at amy@MPTusa.com