(a) The minimum service required to qualify an applicant for the various categories of endorsement as able seaman are listed in this paragraph.
(1) Able Seaman—Any Waters, Unlimited. Three years service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans or the Great Lakes.
(2) Able Seaman—Limited. Eighteen months service on deck in vessels of 100 gross tons or over which operate in a service not exclusively confined to the rivers and smaller inland lakes of the United States.
(3) Able Seaman—Special. Twelve months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.
(4) Able Seaman—Special (OSV). Six months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.
(5) After July 31, 1998, to receive an STCW endorsement for service as a “rating forming part of a navigational watch” on a seagoing ship of 500 GT or more, the applicant's seagoing service must include training and experience associated with navigational watchkeeping and involve the performance of duties carried out under the direct supervision of the master, the officer in charge of the navigational watch, or a qualified rating forming part of a navigational watch. The training and experience must be sufficient to establish that the candidate has achieved the standard of competence prescribed in table A-II/4 of the STCW Code (incorporated by reference in § 12.01-3), in accordance with the methods of demonstrating competence and the criteria for evaluating competence specified in that table.
Employment considerations for the various categories of able seaman are contained in § 157.20-15 of this chapter.
(b) Training programs approved by the National Maritime Center, may be substituted for the required periods of service on deck as follows:
(1) A graduate of a school ship may be rated as able seaman upon satisfactory completion of the course of instruction. For this purpose, school ship is interpreted to mean an institution which offers a complete course of instruction, including a period of at sea training, in the skills appropriate to the rating of able seaman.
(2) Training programs, other than those classified as a school ship, may be substituted for up to one third of the required service on deck. The service/training ratio for each program is determined by the Commanding Officer, National Maritime Center, who may allow a maximum of three days on deck service credit for each day of instruction.