What is a TOAR?
If you have a US Coast Guard license, an endorsement is required to operate Towing Vessels. NVIC 4-01 stipulates that a mariner may operate a towing vessel if, on or after May 21, 2006, and after any license transaction following any license upgrade or renewal, an officer operating towing vessels must hold any of the following licenses or endorsements:

  • Master of towing vessels.
  • Master of inspected self-propelled vessels greater than 200 GRT with a completed TOAR.
  • Mate (pilot) of towing vessels.
  • Mate of inspected self-propelled vessels greater than 200 GRT with a completed TOAR (limited to serving in the capacity of mate (pilot) of towing vessels).
  • Apprentice mate (steersman) (under the direct supervision of a licensed officer).

Or, for a visual description, follow this flow chart:

NVIC Flow Chart

Look and sound confusing? That’s why we’re here.

One of the best methods to obtain this endorsement for those mariner’s who already possess a mate or masters license, is completion of a TOAR. The Towing Officers Assessment Records (TOAR) is a document that lists tasks to be performed or explained (as appropriate), in the presence of a designated examiner. It is a means to document proficiency of an apprentice mate (steersman) or when required for change of route or license crossover.

These documented tasks are normally practical demonstrations of proficiency either on board a towing vessel (or at a shore-side training facility) before a designated examiner.

Sample TOARs can be found here:
TOAR – Western Rivers TOAR
TOAR – NC – Oceans TOAR
TOAR – Limited TOAR
TOAR – Inland TOAR

Checklists to determine qualifications can be found here:
Mate (Pilot) of Towing Vessels Checklist
Master of Towing Vessels Checklist
Grandfathering Master & Mate of Towing

DIAMOND MARINE SERVICES has access to towing vessels and designated examiners that can help you with your advancement to Mate (Pilot) of Towing or Master of Towing. Since 2009, we have helped many mariners by providing a platform to complete both the maneuvering requirements as well as discussion based assessments in the Towing Officer Assessment Record. We use a working tug and barge with a full crew in the presence of a USCG approved designated examiner to give candidates a chance to complete all assessments.

Do I qualify to take the TOAR Class?

Our class is reserved for experienced mariners. Mariners holding an OICNW endorsed license (STCW II/1 or II/3) can complete all the assessments in the TOAR with our program. If you do not hold an OICNW endorsement, you may be able to join us but we may not be able to complete the TOAR in its entirety. In addition, the extra sea service needed to upgrade to a mate or master of towing from a lower level license is often a surprise to many. For these reasons, we request to open a line of communication so we can better assess your needs. Mariners holding licenses LESS THAN 500 GRT (master or mate) or those without an OICNW endorsement are accepted into the class on a case by case basis. For more information about this, please feel free to email or call us.

How do I sign up?

The first step to participating in our program is to fill out the contact inquiry form (button below).

Click here to submit an inquiry form to Diamond Marine Services.
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