In the past, like many of us, I sat for my radar renewal and then submitted the certificate with my license renewal application. I did this always knowing that my license and radar endorsement expiration dates would be out of sync. That being the case, when renewal time approached I would have expected to renew radar first and then submit my license renewal package as I always did.
But this time, when I upgraded my present license in the middle of my current radar endorsement’s term, I was granted the one-time 2 year extension of the radar endorsement which allowed me to synchronize it with my new license’s expiration date. They now expire on the same day.
I don’t wish to beat the subject to death, but this pissing match between the REC’s and the Maritime Center is getting ridiculous. In trying to get a definitive answer to the endorsement question for myself and others all I’ve come up against is contradictory information left and right.
This is an excerpt from my note to the National Maritime Center:
“Please clarify the policy that is in effect regarding radar endorsements being printed on the license. The final rule published in September of 2008 was clear there would no longer be a radar endorsement printed on the license. What has changed and why? This has put me in the position of possibly delaying the processing of my credentials since I can’t sit for the radar renewal until March 6th 2009, I hold a current endorsement that expires at the end of my present license’s term in late May of this year. I started my renewal process on Jan. 15th, my fingerprints have been received by the REC Boston and I thought my file had been sent to the National Maritime Center. Has there been a change made in the published rule? When was the change made? Will this be a problem for my renewal time frame?”
The National Maritime Center’s response (almost verbatim from the final rule):
“The expiration date for the radar-observer endorsement may be different from the expiration date of the license itself, causing confusion as to the validity of the license. A license is valid for a five-year period from the date it is issued by the Coast Guard. A radar-observer endorsement is also valid for five years, but that period begins after the month in which the certificate of training is issued.
Mariners will still be required to keep their radar-observer training current, but the expiration date will not appear on the license. You will still be required to hold current radar training certificates to man vessels equipped with radar, as specified in 46 CFR 15.815, and will have up to 48 hours to produce a copy of your certificate upon request of the Coast Guard.
To answer your questions regarding whether you need to provide a current radar certification; the answer is no. Since you applied for your renewal before your expiration and the radar endorsement is current they will not request the radar re-certification. If your radar endorsement was already expired at the time you submitted your application you would be required to submit the radar re-certification.”
I don’t think it can be much clearer, but that just makes too much sense. If you’re coming up against the same issue I am it would be to your benefit to get the facts straight regarding your status well before you’ll need to submit your renewal application.
Allowing local REC’s the latitude to assist the new Maritime Center is a good idea. But when they start disseminating contrary and confusing policy statements in direct opposition to a published final rule, it’s a bad idea. If so much supervisory talent is available the REC’s should be sending those folks down to West Virginia to help with the mess, not start a turf battle that puts mariners in the middle. The Center was supposed to make things better, not worse. Did these guys miss the memo?
When I’ll be holding my freshly renewed credential is unknown, but I can always hope it’ll be soon.
Capt. Bill Brucato
ATB Nicole L. Reinauer Master of Towing Vessels – Oceans Master ≤1,600 GRT – Oceans T/V Designated Examiner