STCW Actions Required

The long-awaited OSV STCW NVICs are now available:

NVIC 03-17 Master or Chief Mate OSV,

NVIC 01-17 Mate and OICNW OSV,

NVIC 02-17 Chief Engineer OSV, and

NVIC 04-17 Assistant Engineer and OICEW OSV

Use of the process outlined in each NVIC allows a mariner to obtain an STCW endorsement limited to service on an OSV without doing irrelevant formal training courses or assessments that can't be performed on an OSV.

Also, here is the OSV STCW policy letter that was extended by these NVICs until December 31, 2017, NMC Policy Letter 7-00.

What is the bottom line? First, until December 31, 2017, mariners with any sea service or training creditable toward the credential being applied for gained before March 24, 2014, may continue to use the regulations and policy in place before 2017, including NMC policy letter 7-00, the USCG-approved OMSA OSV STCW assessment programs, or the grandfathering methods listed in each NVIC above.  Secondly, the USCG heard most of our suggestions to reduce the required formal training for an OSV limited credential versus the full STCW training required for an unrestricted STCW officer endorsement. This is your last chance to get your STCW endorsement at lower cost in assessments and training than the STCW amendments of 2010 would otherwise require.


Gap-Closing Training: To be able to serve as an officer on a vessel after July 1, 2017, where an STCW endorsement is required, the following new gap closing training is required to be completed and submitted to the NMC:

Management Level (Master, Chief Mate - II/2, II/3)


• Leadership and Managerial Skills
• ECDIS (To be valid on vessels equipped with ECDIS)1




Management Level (Chief Engineer, Second Engineer Officer - III/2, III/3)


• Leadership and Managerial Skills
• Engine room Resource Management (ERM)
• Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment


Operational Level (OICNW - II/1, II/3)


• Leadership and Teamwork Skills (Course or Assessments)
• ECDIS (To be valid on vessels equipped with ECDIS)1


Operational Level (OICEW - III/1)


• Leadership and Teamwork Skills (Course or Assessments)2


1 Holders of Deck Officer endorsements (Master or Mate) will also need to complete a new STCW training course in ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display & Information System) - if your vessel is ECDIS equipped or to remove the "not valid on ECDIS equipped vessels" notation on the STCW


2 A training course is one way to, “meet the standards of competence in Leadership & Teamworking Skills” for Operational level officers, but not the only way. It can be accomplished by a shipboard assessment to the satisfaction of a Qualified Assessor. The recently published NVICs for OICNW (12-14) and OICEW (17-14) include the assessments for Leadership and Teamworking Skills. Mariners that must demonstrate competency in Leadership and Teamworking Skills may do so by completing the OICNW assessments 18.1 – 18.5 or OICEW assessments 16.1 – 16.4. An officer with both Managerial and Operational level STCW endorsements may complete only the Leadership and Managerial Skills course to meet both the Managerial and Operational training requirements.


What happens if an officer misses the July 31, 2017, deadline? Their STCW is no longer valid and that officer cannot sail as an officer where an officer with an STCW endorsement is required. Translation, you are demoted or laid off! 


A small number of officers who received their STCW before the STCW rule changes were published (2012-2013) do not have the phrase "Not valid for service after 12/31/16" on their STCW and may continue to serve on their STCW. But, at the first renewal of the STCW after 2016, the gap closing courses must be submitted or the STCW will become invalid.


Other STCW Actions

The important steps for all boat operators to take today are:

Verify all holders of AB, QMED, Master/Mate, and Engineer Officer STCW endorsements have either applied for or received the new STCW Able Seafarer (deck or engine as appropriate) endorsement. If not, they will not be able to serve as an Able Seafarer (AB/QMED) on most offshore vessels and will need to do significantly more assessments to get this endorsement at their next credential transaction.

Official USCG answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the STCW final rules are available at: To ask your own questions, send an email to: with your specific question.