U.S. Coast Guard Loosens Radar Renewal Requirements for Experienced Mariners

Ship Radar ECDIS Console
Photo credit: Shutterstock/High Voltage

The U.S. Coast Guard has published a final rule amending the requirements for renewal of a radar observer endorsement, making refresher courses no longer required for mariners who meet certain criteria. 

The final rule, titled “Amendments to the Marine Radar Observer Refresher Training Regulations”, amends the requirements for renewal of a radar observer endorsement for mariners who “have served on radar-equipped vessels in a position that routinely uses radar for one year (360 days) in the previous five years for navigation and collision avoidance purposes,” as well as mariners who “have taught a Coast Guard-approved or accepted radar course at least twice within the past five years”.

The rule is intended to remove obsolete portions of the radar observer requirements and harmonize the radar observer endorsement with the merchant mariner credential. It will also reduce the “unnecessary financial burden” on mariners required to hold a radar observer endorsement.

The final rule is effective July 22, 2019.

A summary of the final rule posted to Regulations.gov is below:

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. This 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 recertification course in order to renew their radar observer endorsements. We are 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. This final rule adopts, with modification, the notice of proposed rulemaking published on June 11, 2018.

The final rule can be found HERE.