You only need 360 days as an "Assistant engineer" while holding your 2AE to test for your 1AE. For your 1AE tests, the hp of the vessels you are working on does not matter.
Yes. The hp of the vessel determines your hp limitation. It's common for people to hold 1AE and 2AE with different hp limitations as well as a 3AE unlimited. There are three easy steps to calculate if you are going to have a hp limitation and what it will be:
1. Is 50% of your service while holding a 2AE MMC and serving as an Assistant engineer on vessels over 4000hp?
If Yes, then you qualify for 1AE Unlimited. If No, answer question 2 and 3. Whichever is greater will be the hp limitation on your license.
2. What is the maximum hp for 25% of your service while holding a 2AE MMC and serving as an Assistant engineer on vessels? In this case you round up to the nearest 1000hp.
An example would be that you have over 90 days but less than 180 days on a 6500hp vessel. Your 1AE would be limited to 7000hp until you removed the hp limitation.
3. What is the maximum hp for 50% of your service while holding a 2AE MMC and serving as an Assistant engineer on vessels? In this case you multiply the highest vessel hp that you have over 180 days on times 1.5 rounded up to the nearest 1000hp.
An example would be that you sea time is all on a vessel that is 3094hp. The calculation is 3094 * 1.5 = 4641. Your 1AE would be limited to 5000hp until you removed the hp limitation.
If you are going to have a horsepower limitation make sure you ask for the highest one. Do both calculations for your situation and know what you are going to be asking for as your upgrade.
Hp limitations are easy to remove. It is just sea time on the right horsepower vessels. The USCG NMC Checklist on this is really clear and lays out the three main ways for higher engineering licenses to remove a horsepower limitation.
We hope this made your life a little easier and if you have other questions the MM-SEAS team is always here to help!
No matter what, when you are ready to submit your application, you can choose to have the MM-SEAS staff create a perfect application, handle the USCG application fees and work with the USCG on your behalf to resolve any issues for a flat fee of $299 or you can choose to submit on your own.
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Nate has over 15 years of professional maritime experience and has hawsepiped his way to a 3rd Mate Unlimited Endorsement with full STCW compliance. He is proud veteran of the NOAA Commissioned Corps.