Friday, February 22, 2008

Rule change for Master of Towing proposed

A friend in California sent me this newspaper story about the proposed changes in the seatime for a Master of Towing License. If you are interested, here is the text from the Federal Register [click here to read it all]

(3) Alternate progression: This proposed rule would add a new paragraph to 46 CFR 10.465 that would allow a master of steam or motor vessels of not more than 200 GRT to become a mate (pilot) of towing vessels under certain conditions. The paragraph would provide that the master of steam or motor vessels of not more than 200 GRT would need three years of service as Master of steam or motor vessels less than 200 GRT, completion of a Towing Officer Assessment Record, completion of the towing vessel license (apprentice mate) exam, and 30 days of training and observation on a towing vessel on the route being sought. In addition, the current regulatory language in 10.464(f) and 10.465(d) tries to describe a certain type of license, rather than using the actual endorsement title, which is unnecessarily confusing. This proposedrule would replace the descriptive terms ‘‘inspected, self-propelled vessels’’ with the actual endorsement title ‘‘master of steam or motor

As far as I can tell, this would mean many of use could get a Mate of Towing, not a Master of Towing, with as little as 30 days in the wheelhouse. Did I read it wrong? I guess I don't see what all the fuss is about. I suppose that this change would mean that a guy with only 30 days in the wheelhouse would be eligable to stand a wheel watch, all by himself. But, in my opinion, the real change that occured after the Amtrack accident was the radar endorsement requirement, not the days behind the wheel of a tug boat. Nothing in the proposed change would alter that, or any of the other training requirements put in place since that railroad accident.