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The Coast Gaurd published a final rule and policy letter today announcing revisions to its merchant mariner credentialing regulations on radar observer requirements.
The Coast Guard is revising its merchant mariner credentialing regulations to remove obsolete portions of the radar observer requirements and harmonize the radar observer endorsement with the merchant mariner credential. These revisions will reduce an unnecessary financial burden on mariners required to hold a radar observer endorsement.
The final rule will affect mariners who have served on radar-equipped vessels in a position that routinely uses radar for 1 year in the previous 5 years for navigation and collision avoidance purposes, and mariners who have taught a Coast Guard-approved or accepted radar course at least twice within the past 5 years. These mariners will no longer be required to complete a Coast Guard-approved or accepted radar refresher or re-certification course in order to renew their radar observer endorsements.
The Coast Guard is retaining the existing requirements for mariners seeking an original radar observer endorsement and for mariners who do not have 1 year of routine relevant sea service on board radar-equipped vessels in the previous 5 years or have not taught a Coast Guard-approved or accepted radar course at least twice within the past 5 years.
To accompany the final rule, the Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing published a policy letter to provide guidance for renewal of endorsements as Radar Observer Unlimited, Inland, & Rivers. The Coast Guard will use 46 CFR 11.480 and Policy Letter 03-19 as guidance when evaluating whether mariners have qualified to renew a radar observer endorsement.
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