Captain Andy Hammond Weighs in on New Coast Guard Radar Observer Endorsement Rules

On October 14th the Coast Guard published a Final Rule doing away with the regulation to hold a valid Radar Observer Endorsement on your merchant mariner's license. In a move that resembles some form of common sense, the new regulation no longer requires those mariners, who are required to be trained in the use and theory of radar, to pay an extra $45 to simply have them issue an endorsement.

Who does this effect? This effects any mariner that holds a license ABOVE 200 gross tons or a Towing Vessel license. Vessels over 300 gross register tons and all Towing Vessels, that are equipped with Radar, are required to be under control by a mariner who has been trained in its use. That means you are required to complete a Coast Guard approved Radar Observer course. Mariners that apply for a license over 200 gross register tons or Mate (Pilot) or Master of Towing Vessels are required to complete this 40 hour training course before being issued the new license.

Radar Observer training is valid for 5 years and must be "renewed" by completing an 8 hour renewal course. Prior to this ruling, mariners would then have to take that renewal certificate to the Coast Guard to have their license endorsed. This would often cause confusion with respect to expiration dates and the validity of the entire license. Not to mention the hassle of making the trip to an REC!! Under this new ruling, mariners will simply need to be in possession of their original training certificate or a notarized copy. This seemingly small amendment to the rules will have a profound effect on thousands of mariners and will reduce the workload on the Coast Guard!! This is a good thing!

About Capt. Andrew Hammond

For almost 10 years, Andy served as an Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch (OICNW) on several large merchant vessels in the in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Andy then joined the Coast Guard as a civilian Marine Inspector in Boston Marine Safety Office for four years. Subsequently, Andy assumed the position of Chief, Regional Exam Center. In this position, Andy was responsible for the certification of all mariners in the New England region, from the entry level maritime employee to the seasoned Unlimited Master Mariner. As Principal of Maritime Consulting LLC, Andy will assist you with any issues or challenges you may face during the Coast Guard certification process, from document review to training/examination training to problem resolution to physical competency review, Andy has the expertise and connections to guide you smoothly through the process.

Maritime Consulting LLC on the WEB: http://www.hammondmaritime.com