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USCG Radar Renewal Updates

03 Aug 2021 by Lisa Morley

The U.S. Coast Guard published the final rule titled “Amendments to the Marine Radar Observer Refresher Training Regulations.” The rule amends the requirements for renewal of a radar observer endorsement for mariners who have at least one year (360 days) of relevant service in the previous five years ( as well as making allowances for those in teaching positions)

The final rule is effective July 22, 2019. CG-MMC Policy Letter 03-19 provides guidance for renewal of endorsements as Radar Observer (Unlimited), Radar Observer(Inland),and Radar Observer(Rivers). 

The new rule eliminates the requirement that a mariner actively sailing on  their Merchant  complete an approved or accepted refresher or recertification course to maintain a radar observer endorsement. A mariner who serves in a relevant position on board a radar-equipped vessel for 1 year in the previous 5 years will no longer be required to complete a Coast Guard approved or accepted radar refresher or re-certification course per 46 CFR11.480 to renew his or her radar observer endorsement.

This rule also eliminates the requirement to carry a certificate of training if the radar observer endorsement is on the MMC, and allows the radar endorsement and MMC to expire at the same time.

In order to renew a radar observer endorsement, a mariner must provide evidence of ONE of the following:

  1. Completing an appropriate approved or accepted original, refresher, or recertification course (46 CFR 11.480(d));
  2. Meeting the requirements in 46 CFR 10.227(e)(1)(v) of having instructed a Coast Guard approved or accepted radar course at least twice within the past five years (46 CFR 11.480(f));
  3. Having at least one year of relevant sea service within the last five years in a position that routinely uses radar for navigation and collision avoidance purposes (46 CFR 11.480(g)).

Mariners will be considered to have met the requirement in 46 CFR 11.480(g) for relevant service routinely using radar for navigation or collision avoidance if they have at least one year of service as master or mate in the previous five years on vessels that are required to be fitted with radar.

Please refer to the policy letter provides a list of specific vessels/tonnages to which this provision applies.

Mariners who have served on vessels other than those  listed in the policy letter, or in capacities other than master or mate should provide documentation of their relevant service on a vessel equipped with radar in a position in which they routinely used radar for navigation and collision avoidance purposes.

Service on vessels that do not get underway or occasionally get underway for short voyages (such as vessels in reduced operating status (ROS)) will only be credited for days the vessel was underway.

Mariners who cannot meet the relevant service requirements must provide evidence of having completed an approved or accepted original, recertification, or refresher course appropriate to the radar observer endorsement being renewed within five years of application submission.