The Coast Guard has issued a final rule revising the training requirements for Merchant Mariner Credentials as master of towing vessels (limited) or mate (pilot) of towing vessels on inland waters (other than the Great Lakes) or Western Rivers routes.

The final rule gives mariners seeking these endorsements the option of taking a modified basic firefighting course that excludes training on equipment not required to be carried on towing vessels that operate on inland waters or the Western Rivers.

The modified basic firefighting course is limited to towing vessel endorsements for Western Rivers and inland waters other than the Great Lakes. Mariners that require towing vessel endorsements for other routes must complete a basic firefighting course.

The Coast Guard is delaying the effective date of this rule until April 1, 2024. The delay will allow time for training providers to develop a modified basic firefighting course, and for the Coast Guard to evaluate and approve the course. Training providers that waant to be approved for a modified basic firefighting course may submit their course for approval at any time before the effective date of this final rule.

The final rule is available in the October 3, 2023, Federal Register.

Information on course approvals can be found on the NMC Website or by contacting the National Maritime Center at (888) 427-5662 or [email protected].