Tug and Barge Courses

In addition to the Workboat Mate Program, MITAGS-PMI has developed a comprehensive training matrix specifically for the tugboat and barge industry.  Many of these courses may be customized and/or taught at offsite locations.  The table below provides links to tugboat and barge related courses.  The MITAGS-PMI Tug Training Matrix may also be downloaded in a print friendly format. 

For more information, please contact Admissions at MITAGS or PMI.

Questions? Contact a School Advisor

Course List: 

Levels of Tugboat Operator Training

We offer tugboat operator training for the following levels or roles within the tugboat and barge industry:

  • Able Seaman (AB)
  • Person-In-Charge of Tanker or Barge Operations
  • Mate of Towing Vessels
  • Master of Towing Vessels

Many of our courses, such as Z-Drive/ASD Tug Training, include tugboat simulator training to provide you with the necessary skills to advance in your career, such as progressing from a mate of towing vessels to a master of towing vessels, also known as a tugboat captain. Whether you intend to become a master of towing vessels or an AB, you can find a complete training program for tugboat operators at our center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Questions? Contact a School Advisor

How to Become a Tugboat Captain

Joining a training program for tugboat captains requires that you meet the following pre-requisites:

  • Age 21 years or older
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Valid Merchant Marine Licensing and Documentation (MMLD) Medical Certificate
  • Valid MMLD with "Y" designation for Safety and Security Evaluation Branch (SSEB) screening
  • Approved drug test within the last six months

You must also possess a Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) endorsement if your towing vessel partakes in the following voyages:

  • Ocean voyages beyond near-coastal waters
  • International tours
  • Domestic and near-coastal voyages on a towing vessel of 200 Gross Register Tonnage (GRT) or more

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) also mandates that you provide proof of 90 days of service in the last three years, as well as meet these additional sea service requirements:

  • Mate of towing vessels for 540 days
  • Mate of towing vessels on a single route for 90 days

Validate your service time and ensure it is compliant with the requirements of a tug master course in the United States by reviewing the following:

  • Service on the Great Lakes receives a day-for-day credit
  • Service on inland waters qualifies for up to 50 percent of your required service

To complete your tugboat captain license training, you will also need to provide an endorsed Towing Officer Assessment Record (TOAR) for oceans or near-coastal areas. A designated examiner of the National Maritime Center (NMC) is responsible for conducting these assessments. If you are seeking endorsement for Western Rivers on a towing vessel of 200 GRT or more, you will need to undergo 90 days of observation and training, plus an additional TOAR.

After undergoing your tugboat operating training in Maryland, you may file your application with the USCG to update your Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).

Find a Tugboat Captain License Training Course Near You

At MITAGS-PMI, we offer a comprehensive training program for tugboat operators. Our non-profit vocational training center focuses on providing you with the skills, experience and knowledge to not only expand your career opportunities but also grow your confidence as a mariner, whether as an AB or Master of Towing. Through our in-depth tugboat license training courses, as well as our more than 40-year relationship with regional and national maritime employers, we will give you the opportunity to join leading teams in the industry.

Learn more about our training courses for obtaining a tugboat captain license or endorsement by browsing our course list or contacting us today.