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  • Nate Gilman

Renewing Your Master of Towing, Mate (Pilot) of Towing or Tankerman endorsements

Updated: Nov 6

Taking the wrong courses to renew your USCG License is a waste of money! By following these simple steps you will always take the right courses! This is especially true for renewing your Master of Towing, Mate (Pilot) of Towing or Tankerman endorsements.





You will need all of your sea service documents from the last five years. Make sure you have them all from every vessel you’ve worked on. You will also need your USCG License which has every National and International (STCW) endorsement you hold on it.


To determine which courses you need to take to renew your Master of Towing, Mate (Pilot) of Towing or Tankerman endorsements you will follow these high level steps:


First count up how many creditable sea days you have in the last 5 years. Based on your creditable sea days in the last 5 years you will either do option 1 or option 2

  • For Master of Towing and Mate (Pilot) of Towing:

  1. If you have over 360 days in the last 5 years on vessels that hold regular fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills you do not need any courses to renew your USCG Master of Towing and Mate (Pilot) of Towing endorsements.

  2. If you have less than 360 days in the last 5 years, you will need to complete Part D of the published TOAR for your route or a course that meets Part D in addition to the open book take home tests for a Master of Towing or Mate (Pilot) of Towing.


  • For Tankerman:

  • For Tankerman PIC Endorsement

  1. If you have documentation for 90 days onboard tank vessels performing duties associated with the Tankerman PIC endorsement you hold during the preceding 5 years AND you provide documentation of Two transfers of that type of cargo within the last 5 years while holding a valid Tankerman PIC for that cargo you can renew.

  2. If you don’t have both of these then you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Course for each type of cargo you have on your endorsement.

  • Tankerman PIC Barge Endorsement

  1. If you have documentation of Two transfers of that type of cargo within the last 5 years while holding a valid Tankerman PIC Barge for that cargo you can renew.

  2. If you don’t have this then you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Course for each type of cargo you have on your endorsement.

  • Tankerman Assistant / Engineer Endorsement

  1. If you have documentation for 90 days onboard tank vessels performing duties associated with the Tankerman Assistant / Engineer endorsement you hold during the preceding 5 years while holding a valid Tankerman Assistant / Engineer for that cargo you can renew.

  2. If you don’t have this then you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Course for each type of cargo you have on your endorsement.



As you continue reading, think of determining which courses you need for renewals as two paths. Path one is for folks who have more than needed creditable sea days in the last 5 years. Path two is for everyone else.


Let’s figure out exactly what courses you need to take to renew your USCG Master of Towing, Mate (Pilot) of Towing or Tankerman endorsements


First we should dive into explaining creditable sea days before we move on. We’ve done two blog post’s on sea time Sea Service for your USCG License Defined and How to Log Hours for Captains License but the main idea is you get a sea day for every day you are away from the pier for over 4 hours.


You do want to make sure that you are also getting credit for radar and STCW if your vessel regularly holds regular fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills and/ or you are serving in a position on that vessel which you carried out Bridge Watch duties in a position that routinely uses radar for navigation and collision avoidance purposes.


The easiest way to do this is to make sure the following statement is on your Sea Service Letter on Company letterhead:


YOUR NAME carried out Bridge Watch duties in a position that routinely uses radar for navigation and collision avoidance purposes. VESSEL NAME is required to conduct regular fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills. YOUR NAME’s service includes ongoing participation in training and drills relevant to Basic Training.”


If you are using a CG719S small vessel sea service form you will need a separate memo on official letterhead signed by the captain, owner or vessel manager which states the start date and the end date of your service as well as the following statement:


YOUR NAME carried out Bridge Watch duties in a position that routinely uses radar for navigation and collision avoidance purposes. VESSEL NAME is required to conduct regular fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills. YOUR NAME’s service includes ongoing participation in training and drills relevant to Basic Training.”


That being said, you do get sea time for vessels that rarely get underway.


For the Deck department this can be in two ways. 1) You have no underway sea service, in that case you can get credit for up to 3 years of service (1080 days only for renewal) under closely related service based on 46 CFR § 10.227 section (e)(1)(iv). 2) You have some underway sea service, in this case your service is creditable on a 3-for-1 basis (12 months of experience equals 4 months of creditable service) for up to 6 months of service credit based on 46 CFR § 10.232 section (e)(2)(ii).


For the Engine Department you obtain day for day service for up to 180 days for renewal of your MMC based on 46 CFR § 10.232 section (e)(1).


I have more the 360 creditable sea days in the last 5 years to renew my Master or Mate (Pilot) of Towing Endorsement


Congratulations! You have been sailing a lot!


National Endorsement Renewal

To renew your national endorsement you literally just have to have the documentation of sea service that says you meet the requirements for renewal. Here's a blog post that will help renewing your National and STCW Endorsements with 360 days of sea time?


Master or Mate (Pilot) of Towing Endorsement Renewal

To renew your Master or Mate (Pilot) of Towing endorsement with just sea time you need to have the documentation of sea service that says you meet the training requirements for renewal. NVIC 03-16 GUIDELINES FOR CREDENTIALING OFFICERS OF TOWING VESSELS FAQ #23 lays out the rules very clearly.


You do want to make sure that you are also getting credit for participating if your vessel regularly holds regular fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills. A thing to note is that this can be on any type of vessel and does not need to be on Towing vessels.


The easiest way to do this is to make sure the following statement is on your Sea Service Letter on Company letterhead:


VESSEL NAME is required to conduct regular fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills. YOUR NAME’s service includes ongoing participation in training and drills relevant to Basic Training.”


If you are using a CG719S small vessel sea service form you will need a separate memo on official letterhead signed by the captain, owner or vessel manager which states the start date and the end date of your service as well as the following statement:


VESSEL NAME is required to conduct regular fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills. YOUR NAME’s service includes ongoing participation in training and drills relevant to Basic Training.”


With 360 days of creditable sea time for Master or Mate (Pilot) of Towing renewal with the drills statement on your letter or separate memo you do not have to take any training!


If you are not able to produce the ongoing participation in training and drills memo or get the sea service letter with the right statement on it you will need to either have a Designated Examiner from this list sign off on Part D of the TOAR for the route you are renewing or take an USCG approved TOAR Renewal/ Original Course.


I do not have more the 360 creditable sea days in the last 5 years to renew my Master or Mate (Pilot) of Towing Endorsement


No worries! If you are going to have less than 360 days in the previous five years of your renewal application date, you will need to complete one of the 4 options for National Officer License renewals AND you will need to either have a Designated Examiner sign off on Part D of the TOAR for the route you are renewing or take an USCG approved TOAR Renewal/ Original Course.


NVIC 03-16 GUIDELINES FOR CREDENTIALING OFFICERS OF TOWING VESSELS FAQ #23 lays out the rules very clearly.


Tankerman Endorsements

Tankerman is one of my favorite endorsements as it’s pretty easy to keep track of and the bar to maintaining the endorsements is VERY low if you are working in the industry. 46 CFR § 13.120 lays them out clearly and we will go through each type of endorsement for you.


A pro tip for all Tankerman endorsements:


If you are not going to meet the practical requirements for renewal and you do not plan on working as a Tankerman in the near future, we suggest putting your Tankman endorsements into continuity. You take the exact same Tankerman course to renew without meeting the practical requirements and to take a license out of continuity.


This is one of the few spots where we recommend continuity if you have STCW endorsements as putting an endorsement is a last resort if you have STCW endorsements attached to it. The reason being, is that you lose all of your STCW endorsements with continuity.


The best part about the STCW Tankerman endorsements is that they are directly linked to the National Tankerman endorsements so you can put your National Tankerman endorsements into continuity. They will always be there for you and when/if you decide to take them back out it’s as simple as taking the renewal course and you automatically get full National and STCW Tankerman endorsements back on your license.


Side note for Qualified Maritime Instructors teaching Tankerman


You can renew each Tankerman Endorsement if you have taught a CG approved course relevant to the endorsement being renewed at least twice within the past 5 years. This is typically demonstrated to the USCG in the form of a memo from your employer.


How to Renew Your Tankerman PIC Endorsement Dangerous Liquids


You can renew your Tankerman PIC Dangerous Liquids without taking a course if you have documentation for 90 days onboard tank vessels performing duties associated with Tankerman PIC Dangerous Liquids during the preceding 5 years AND you provide documentation of Two transfers of Dangerous Liquids within the last 5 years while holding a valid Tankerman PIC Dangerous Liquids. Service and transfers on OSV’s will count if the COI for the vessel requires a Tankerman PIC or a licensed officer authorized to conduct or supervise transfers is acceptable for renewal.


If you do not meet both of the requirements above, you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Dangerous Liquids Course.


How to Renew Your Tankerman PIC Endorsement Liquefied Gases


You can renew your Tankerman PIC Liquefied Gases without taking a course if you have documentation for 90 days onboard tank vessels performing duties associated with Tankerman PIC Liquefied Gases during the preceding 5 years AND you provide documentation of Two transfers of Liquefied Gases within the last 5 years while holding a valid Tankerman PIC Liquefied Gases. Service and transfers on OSV’s will count if the COI for the vessel requires a Tankerman PIC or a licensed officer authorized to conduct or supervise transfers is acceptable for renewal.

If you do not meet both of the requirements above, you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Liquefied Gases Course.


How to Renew Your Tankerman PIC Barge Endorsement Dangerous Liquids


You can renew your Tankerman PIC Barge Dangerous Liquids without taking a course if you provide documentation of Two transfers of Dangerous Liquids within the last 5 years while holding a valid Tankerman PIC Barge Dangerous Liquids. Service and transfers on OSV’s will count and are acceptable for renewal.


If you do not meet both of the requirements above, you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Dangerous Liquids Course.


How to Renew Your Tankerman PIC Barge Endorsement Liquefied Gases


You can renew your Tankerman PIC Barge Liquefied Gases without taking a course if you provide documentation of Two transfers of Liquefied Gases within the last 5 years while holding a valid Tankerman PIC Barge Liquefied Gases. Service and transfers on OSV’s will count and are acceptable for renewal.


If you do not meet both of the requirements above, you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Liquefied Gases Course.


How to Renew Your Tankerman Assistant / Engineer Endorsement Dangerous Liquids


You can renew your Tankerman Tankerman Assistant / Engineer Dangerous Liquids without taking a course if you have documentation for 90 days onboard tank vessels performing duties associated with Tankerman Tankerman Assistant / Engineer Dangerous Liquids during the preceding 5 years.


If you do not meet the requirement above, you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Dangerous Liquids Course.


How to Renew Your Tankerman Assistant / Engineer Endorsement Liquefied Gases


You can renew your Tankerman Tankerman Assistant / Engineer Liquefied Gases without taking a course if you have documentation for 90 days onboard tank vessels performing duties associated with Tankerman Tankerman Assistant / Engineer Liquefied Gases during the preceding 5 years.


If you do not meet the requirement above, you are going to need to take a USCG approved Tankerman Liquefied Gases Course.


MM-SEAS Will Help Renew Your Master of Towing, Mate (Pilot) of Towing or Tankerman endorsements


We understand that getting, upgrading and renewing your merchant mariner credential can be a frustrating experience.


This is why my team and I built MM-SEAS (www.mmseas.com). MM-SEAS makes the complicated licensing process for Captains, Deckhands, Mates and Engineers simple with an easy to use software that handles the entire USCG licensing process for your first license, renewals and upgrades for you, stores your paperwork, and tracks your sea days.


Visit the MM-SEAS team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube for more tips on license renewals and upgrades.


We built MM-SEAS to be with you every step of the way! The software makes the merchant mariner credentialing process simple.


We’re on your side--and trust us--you got this!!!!


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