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July 1, 2011: NMC Announces a New Hawsepiper Route to OICNW

In effect, the new policy allows mariners to study subjects on their own, tailor their own education with or without formal STCW classes. Perhaps this will lead us back to basics…learning on board.
See Policy Letter:
11-07 (

Policy Letter 11–07 (in effect as of 1 July, 2011) provides national guidance on the appropriate qualifications for STCW endorsement as Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch (OICNW) on vessels of 200 GRT (500 GT) or more. The amendments apply to those applicants qualifying for OICNW through in-service experience (i.e. the hawespipe) rather than by completing a comprehensive, Coast Guard-approved program such as that offered at a maritime training facility.

Under Federal Code, applicants for certain officer endorsements on a merchant mariner credential (MMC) must comply with competency standards set forth in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and
Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW). Until now, National Maritime Center policy letters 01–02 and 16–02 set out methods for mariners to demonstrate their compliance with those standards, and thus qualify for an
STCW endorsement for OICNW. With Policy Letter 11-07, which replaces policy letters 1-02 and 16-02, the Coast Guard has amended the policy for qualifying for an OICNW endorsement. Most notably, the amendment addresses alternatives to formal training for demonstrating competence rather than relying solely on completion of formal training. Policy Letter 11-07 will cancel NMC Policy Letter 01–02 and 16–02

Source: AWO Newsletter


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