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STCW II/4 Rating Forming Part of a Navigation Watch (RFPNW)

License Description

A Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (RFPNW) is a qualified rating, designed to fulfill the Support Level of STCW A-II/4 in the deck department. STCW requires all ratings forming part of a navigational watch on seagoing vessels of 500gt and over to be duly certificated to perform these duties. This includes entry level ratings standing navigational watches, such as lookout watches. It is also required by the personnel serving in a maintenance department when those persons are mandated by the Certificate of Inspection or manning document to be qualified to augment the watch.

In the U.S. System, you can qualify for a Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch separately from the Able Seaman Endorsement. This enables a mariner to obtain a qualified STCW rating certificate very early on in their career. This is an excellent option for those mariners that are aspiring to move up the ladder to an officer’s position in the future. There is no tonnage limit on a RFPNW Certificate.

Required Examinations

Successful completion of course #251, No additional Coast Guard exams required.

General Requirements

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Be not less than 16 years of age;

General requirements for all national and STCW rating endorsements.

Meet physical and medical requirements located in 46 CFR part 10, subpart C.

An applicant for any STCW endorsement must hold the appropriate national endorsement, unless otherwise specified.


Seafarers holding an STCW endorsement prior to March 24, 2014, will not be required to complete any additional training required to retain the STCW endorsements.

Candidates who apply for a credential based on approved or accepted training or approved seagoing service that commenced before March 24, 2014, may qualify under the requirements existing before that date. This includes the assessments published prior to March 24, 2014 (Policy Letter 14-02).

The Coast Guard will continue to issue STCW endorsements meeting the requirements existing before March 24, 2014, for seafarers, until January 1, 2017.

Sea Service Requirements

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RFPNW Requirements

  • 180 days of seagoing service, which includes training and experience associated with navigational watchkeeping functions and involves the performance of duties carried out under the supervision of the master, mate, or qualified STCW deck rating,


  • Proof of successful completion of a Coast Guard-approved or accepted training, which includes:
    • Not less than 60 days of approved seagoing service


  • Service on GL will be credited day for day up to 100%.
  • Service on inland waters, other than GL, may substitute for up to 50% of the total required service.
  • Service on vessels to which STCW applies (Inland or NC) will be credited day for day.


Until December 31, 2016, mariners may use some or all of the former assessments from PL 14-02 to meet the equivalent assessments specified in NVIC 06-14.

Training Requirements

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Course #140 Basic Training

Course #251 RFPNW Assessments


Course #140 Basic Training.

Applicants seeking an STCW rating endorsement must provide evidence, with their application, of meeting the standard of competence for basic training as described below:


  • Personal survival techniques, as set out in Table A-VI/1-1 of the STCW Code.
  • Fire prevention and firefighting, as set out in Table A-VI/1-2 of the STCW Code.
  • Elementary first aid, as set out in Table A-VI/1-3 of the STCW Code.
  • Personal safety and social responsibilities, as set out in Table A-VI/1-4 of the STCW Code.

Every 5 years, seafarers qualified must provide evidence of maintaining the standard of competence for basic training thru completion of course #164 Basic Training Revalidation.

The Coast Guard will only accept evidence of approved assessments conducted ashore for the following areas:


Course #164 Basic Training Revalidation

Personal survival techniques, as set out in Table A-VI/1-1 of the STCW Code:


  • Donning and use an immersion suit.
  • Safely jumping from a height into the water.
  • Righting an inverted liferaft while wearing a lifejacket.
  • Swimming while wearing a lifejacket.
  • Keeping afloat without a lifejacket.

Fire prevention and firefighting as set out in Table A-VI/1-2 of the STCW Code:


  • Using various types of portable fire extinguishers.
  • Extinguishing smaller fires. e.g., electrical fires, oil fires, and propane fires.
  • Extinguishing extensive fires with water, using jet and spray nozzles.
  • Extinguishing fires with foam, powder, or any other suitable chemical agent.
  • Fighting fire in smoke-filled enclosed spaces wearing self-contained breathing apparatuses.
  • Extinguishing fire with water fog or any other suitable firefighting agent in an accommodation room or simulated engine room with fire and heavy smoke.
  • Extinguishing oil fire with fog applicator and spray nozzles, dry chemical powder, or foam applicators.

Course #165 Basic Training Refresher

Applicants who cannot meet the requirement for 1 year of sea service within the last 5 years, will be required to meet the requirements of paragraph of this section or complete approved or accepted refresher training.