If You Only Had Your TOAR

By Doug Pine

So I’m sitting at the galley table having a meeting with my crew, when in walks the Port Captain. He focused right away on Bill, my Training 2nd Mate. “Bill, there’s a 2nd Mate job open a week from now. I’d like to put you in it, he said.  

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

Of course the Port Captain focused on me. “Why hasn’t he finished, Cap?” 

I explained that all Bill lacked was his maneuvering assessments, but things kept getting in the way. As most mariners know, demonstrating the competencies required in the Maneuvering category in the real world has disadvantages: scheduling, cost, risk of vessel damage, commercial pressures, waiting for the weather specified in the individual TOAR assessments, etc. All true; all legitimate reasons. But, also true is that as the company’s sole DE, it was on me to help Bill 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, Bill 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 Bill was just going to let the job go without a fight. “Hey,” she said, “I was able to finish up my maneuvering assessments and get signed off in ONE DAY. Jackie explained that she, too, had been frustrated as a trainee by the obstacles to complete her maneuvering assessments, when someone mentioned she could get them done in one day in a simulator.

“I did some research and sure enough, there is a company here on the West Coast that can assess you during a single session in a simulator.”  She went on to tell us that she went to Seattle and, working with Seattle TOAR Services, completed the maneuvering assessments in a full mission bridge simulator and still had time left to complete the ones she lacked in the Rules of the Road category. 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 and one other sailor and the DE in the Sim,” Jackie explained. “We both had plenty of time to demonstrate our competencies, and the DE who performed the assessments devoted his full attention to the task at hand. Boom, I was done before I knew it.”  

Bill 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 will quickly cover the cost.”

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

Bill 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. Having completed his TOAR and now sailing now as a 2nd Mate, he’s on his way up the career ladder.

Seattle TOAR Services has developed a one-day program designed to assess mariners’ competencies in the Maneuvering category of the Near Coastal/Oceans TOAR. Time permitting, other competencies (Navigation and Piloting; Watchstanding; Rules of the Road; Safety and Emergency Response; Environmental Protection) can be assessed during the session. Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeattleTOAR/; visit our website at www.seattletoar.com. For information on pricing options and booking, contact Seattle TOAR Services.