AB to Mate Program Going Strong


April 2017


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The AB to Mate program at the union-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education (PHC) is currently accepting mariners who wish to take their careers to the next level.


The school is accepting applications from the general membership for its AB to Mate program – an intensive series of courses that offer ABs the ability to reach the position of third mate. In previous years, the AB to Mate program was only open to mariners who were sponsored by their respective companies.


Officials describe the program as part of the SIU’s overall goal of providing members as many opportunities for career advancement as possible. It’s a win-win situation – mariners can advance their careers, while companies have a greater pool of highly trained workers.


“It’s another platform on which to advance,” said Stacey McNeely, curriculum development coordinator at the southern Maryland campus. “The more training they have, the better a resource they are for the company or the vessel.”


Under the program, ABs must complete a series of training modules at the PHC that cover everything from advanced firefighting and electronic navigation to shiphandling and meteorology.


“It’s a lot more in-depth than other classes I’ve taken at the Paul Hall Center,” said AB Saleh Mohamed Mothana, who was enrolled in the program at press time. Saleh continued, “The instructors are great; it’s really important to be learning from former captains. More mariners should take these classes, just based on what it can do for your career, and what it would cost to get this level of training elsewhere.”


While the modules must be completed in a certain order, mariners are not required to complete them back-to-back. That means mariners can carve separate periods of training out of their schedules over an extended period.


“What we’re trying to do is put together modules of classes so they can take a set of classes around their shipping schedules,” McNeely said. “Doing it over a period of time allows them to not only use what they are learning in class, it also makes sure they’re not overwhelmed during one particular stretch.”


AB Jason Hardy, who also was taking one of the sessions last month, said that the program saved him nearly $20,000 in tuition if he were to get this training elsewhere. “It’s a great opportunity to advance my career, and the fact that I can take it at the Seafarers’ school saves me time, money, and gives me a place to stay while I study,” he stated.


“Our goal is to provide the member with support through bridge simulation, computer labs and the experienced instructors who will replicate real shipboard experience,” PHC Director of Training Priscilla Labanowski said. “This career track is currently the most difficult series of courses at the school.”


In order to qualify for the program, mariners must have: 125 days sailing in the previous calendar year; 1,080 days seatime in the deck department, with 180 days holding AB-Limited or Unlimited rating; current Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (RFPNW) and Able Seafarer-Deck or AB-Limited rating; three reference letters from Masters within the last two years; and pass an aptitude test developed by the Lundeberg Maryland Seamanship School (LMSS). Members are encouraged to apply for the course through the admissions office. For more information, call (301) 994-0010.


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Important Points to Remember


- Anyone attending the program must take full course
and assessments from LMSS and can’t use assessments
from other training facilities along with courses taken at
- If a member fails a course within the module they
must discontinue from whatever module they are taking
and will be sent home at their own expense.
- Before returning to take any additional modules
they must show proof of getting academic assistance from
- If a member has taken a course at another training
facility they must submit the course certificate and assessments
prior to arriving to LMSS to be sure their course
meets LMSS standards.
- Modules must be taken in their entirety and can’t be
broken up.
- Modules 1-2 are interchangeable.
- Modules 3-5 must be taken in order.
- Module 6 is for oceans endorsements only.

- All Modules are reimbursable, provided the member
passes all classes within the module.