If You Only Had Your TOAR

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January 21, 2019

I was sitting at the galley table having a safety meeting with my crew, when in walked our Port Captain. He greeted us and turned his attention to Darryl, my Training 2nd Mate. “Darryl, there’s a 2nd Mate job open two weeks from now. I’d like to put you in it.”  

I groaned at the same time Darryl did. He looked at me before responding, “I don’t have my TOAR finished yet,” he said to the Port Captain.

The Port Captain focused on me. “Why hasn’t he finished it, Cap?”  

I explained that all Darryl lacked was his maneuvering assessments, but things kept getting in the way. As many mariners know, demonstrating the competencies required in the maneuvering category aboard a working tug has challenges: scheduling, cost, risk of vessel damage, commercial pressures, waiting for the weather specified in the individual TOAR assessments, etc. All true; all legitimate reasons. Also true is that as the company’s sole Designated Examiner, there was pressure on me to help Darryl through his progression to a Mate of Towing license and get that 2nd Mate job he really wanted. He’d been on my crew as a trainee for 18 months already, and we just hadn’t been able to get his TOAR completed. Now it looked like, and not for the first time, Darryl was going to lose out on another 2nd Mate job.

Jackie, our newest crewmember, who joined the company a few months back as a 2nd Mate, spoke up when she realized Darryl was just going to let the job go without a fight. “Hey,” she said, “I completed my entire Near Coastal/Oceans TOAR in ONE DAY.“ Jackie explained that she, too, had been frustrated as a trainee by the delay in completing her TOAR, when someone mentioned she could get it done in one day … in a simulator.

“I did some research and sure enough, there is a company on the West Coast that can assess you during a single session using a simulator.” She went on to tell us that she went to Seattle and, working with Seattle TOAR Services, completed the TOAR in a full mission bridge simulator. Another attendee completed his entire Near Coastal/Oceans TOAR book during the same session. The relaxed atmosphere and the fact that one can’t bend steel in the simulator were just some of the advantages. “So, it was me, one other sailor, and the DE in the simulator,” Jackie explained. “We both had plenty of time to demonstrate our competencies. Boom, I was done before I knew it.”  

Darryl shook his head, looked around at us and said, “I can’t afford it.”

“You can’t afford not to,” I pointed out. “You’re making AB wages now. Your pay bump as Mate will quickly cover the cost.”

The Port Captain encouraged him: “Get to Seattle ASAP, get it done, and the job will be yours.”

Darryl emailed Seattle TOAR Services and within 24 hours, he had an appointment set up that would allow him to complete his assessment in plenty of time to take that 2nd Mate job. Fast forward a couple of weeks, he’s now sailing as a 2nd Mate, on his way up the career ladder.

Seattle TOAR Services provides a one-day program to assess mariners’ competencies for completion of the Near Coastal/Oceans TOAR. Sessions are available on weekends. Visit our website at www.seattletoar.com and find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeattleTOAR/ For information on pricing and booking, contact Seattle TOAR Services.

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