The Armed forces is not the best way to become a tug Master, or Mate, because the Coast Guard doesn't always recognize all of your sea time. You need to be licensed, hold a seamans document, have STCW95, and complete a Towing Officer Assessment Record(TOAR). The best way to accomplish this is to go to a maritime college. Upon graduating, you will recieve along with your degree, a license and all the documentation to go with it, except the TOAR. The TOAR is a Training tool specifically for tugs, and allows you to get an additional license for mate or master of towing vessels, that is required for tugs. It is basically a check list that says that you have completeted a number of tasks and are competent to be a tug officer, and is done on the job. To operate a tug you first have to start on deck, and learn all you can, then the Master(if he is a designated examiner) can begin to train you to steer. As you train, the Master fills out your TOAR, and when it is completed you can sit for the Towing License. Plan on being a Deckhand for at least a year, that is the norm nowadays, but can be quicker. If you chose not to go the college route, it is very difficult, and time consuming. You start out with an Ordinary Seamans document, and accrue sea time, upgrading as you go, from ordinary to AB, and going to small schools for license, and documentation while not at work. If you are with a decent company, they will reimburse the cost. Here is a list of maritime colleges: Massachusetts Maritime Academy, SUNY Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime, Kings Point Federal Merchant Marine Academy(Free if appointed), Texas A+M, California Maritime. If the college is in your state it is cheaper. As for limited license schools(six week courses, night courses etc.): Houston Marine, Sea School, North East Maritime, New England Maritime, There are many and are all online. I went to Massachusetts Maritime Academy, did a year on deck, and fell in with the right Captains that would train me, although at the time, there was no TOAR required so I was grandfathered, and automatically given a Master of towing license upon renewal of my original license. I am now Master of an ocean going tug. On top of the towing license, most companies want you to have at least a 500GT License.
Answered By: nytugcapt - 1/6/2007