Yes folks you heard it here first! According to Coast Guard Policy Letter 11-07 dated July 1, 2011, most “formal” classes required for “hawsepiper” applications for third mate licenses (3rd Mate) are no longer required.
Talk about dropping a bomb right before the holiday weekend!
Once called “the end of hawsepipers as we know it”, strict licensing rules put in place in 2002 mandated that individuals seeking licensure as a 3rd mate (and various other limited licenses) needed to spend upwards of $15,000 to $20,000 (plus travel, lodging, and lost wages) attending professional classes that would normally be covered as part of a “formal” maritime academy curriculum.
Although there is no indication of how long this new policy will be in effect (some say it is only temporary while a new policy is being written). Effective immediately, the only classes that are required as part of a normal third mate application packet include:
Basic Safety Training
Advanced Fire Fighting
Bridge Team Work (Bridge Resource Management)
ARPA (to work on vessels equipped with ARPA)
GMDSS (to work on vessels equipped with GMDSS)
Applicants are still required to complete a series of assessments as required under the previous application process and some of the mariners I’ve spoken with are still more than happy to attend the formal classes as they feel it will better prepare them for the third mate exam (granted the mariners I’ve spoken with get paid to attend these classes).
Additionally, applicants for unlimited chief mate licenses are still required to complete the prescribed “upper level management” classes as they were under the previous licensing scheme.
So, what to you think of the Coast Guard’s decision to cancel these training requirements for mariners seeking advancement to third mate? Share your comments in the the spaces below!