The Licensed Officers of the Steamers
of the Great Lakes
Source: The Lake Pilots' Handbook, compiled by Capt. George Trimble, 1907
Masters, Mates, Pilots and Engineers
All officers of American steamers must be American citizens.
An applicant for a license to act as an officer on an American lake steamer shall be examined by the local board of inspectors of steam vessels for the district in which he resides.
Inspectors will not issue licenses to pilots who cannot read and write.
Inspectors will not issue or renew licenses to officers who cannot properly hear the bell and whistle signals.
Applicants for license as master, mate or pilot, must have the certificate of a surgeon of a Marine Hospital Service to show that they are free from color blindness.
Any applicant for license who has been examined and refused may be re-examined after one year has expired.
An applicant for license must make a written application upon the blank form authorized by the board of supervising inspectors.
An applicant for pilots license must have the written endorsement of the master and engineer of a vessel upon which he has served, and of one licensed pilot, as to his qualifications.
An applicant for an original engineers license must have the endorsement of the master and engineer of a vessel upon which he has served, together with the endorsement of one other licensed engineer.
An officer's license is good for five years service, but if an examination is passed before the original license has expired, entitling him to a raise of grade, a new license of a higher grade will be given him by the inspectors.
The grade of no license can be raised unless the applicant can show one year's actual service on his former license.
If an officer loses his license the inspector will issue him a certificate that shall have the authority of the lost license for the unexpired term.
Whenever an officer shall apply for a renewal of his license at the expiration of the five years, the presentation of the old certificate shall be considered sufficient evidence of his title to a renewal, provided that it is presented within twelve months after the date of its expiration.
But no actual service is allowed on an expired license.
The local inspectors can revoke or suspend an officers licenses for reason and the license must be surrendered to them.
A fair trial is given all such accused.
No officer can serve aboard a steamer in his official capacity while his license is suspended or revoked.
The inspectors have the authority to determine the term of the duration of a suspension, except that such suspension cannot extend beyond the time for which the license was issued.
Applicants for original license as pilots must have had at least three years experience as a sailor aboard a steam vessel, sail vessel, or barge consort.
The examination for pilot shall be in regard to his knowledge of lights,, lighthouses, channels, buoys, obstructions, courses, distances, etc., over the waters asked for in his application. He shall also be examined as to his knowledge of the rules and regulations for the government of steam vessels, the running and anchor lights, fog signals, the use of the lead line, signal bells between the engine room and pilot house, etc. etc.
The navigation of every steamer above 100 gross tons shall be under the control of a first class pilot.
A second class pilot may take charge of a watch, provided his license shows the endorsement of the inspectors to that effect.
A second class pilot may take charge of a steamer not exceeding 100 gross tons.
Any person holding a license as first class pilot of lake steamers may have his license endorsed to act as chief mate of coastwise steamers.
No license as master of lake steamers will be issued to any person who has not served one year as first class pilot or chief mate on lake steamers.
Or three years as master of sail vessels.
Or three years as master of barge or consorts while holding a first class pilot's license.
Any person having had three years actual experience as master of lake steam vessels of 1,000 gross tons or over may be examined for license as chief mate of ocean steamers, and after having had one years' actual experience as chief mate of ocean steamers of 1,000 tons or over may be examined as master of ocean steamers.
The following line of examination shall be given applicants for license as masters of lake steam vessels.
As to his general knowledge of the duties of master of steam vessels.
As to the knowledge of his duties and proper method of procedure in case of fire of his vessel.
As to his knowledge of proper management of vessel and crew in case of collision and sinking.
As to his executive ability generally to manage officers and crew.
As to his knowledge and ability to navigate steamers with safety to live and property.
As to his knowledge and ability to navigate steamers with safety to life and property.
As to his knowledge of pilot rules governing the navigation of lake steamers.
As to his knowledge of signals between the pilot house and engine room.
As to his knowledge of signal lights and their proper position on steam and all other vessels.
As to his duties of a master in case of fog or stormy weather and on such other subjects in connection with the navigation of lake vessels as the inspectors may deem proper and necessary.
No person shall receive an original license as engineer or assistant engineer who has not served at least three years in the engineers department of a steam vessel, a portion of which experience must have been obtained within the three years next preceding the application.
But any persons may be licensed to serve as an engineer of steam vessels after having had one year's experience in the engine department of steam vessels, provided he has served three years as apprentice to the machine trade in a marine, stationary, or locomotive engine works, or has served for not less than three years as a locomotive or stationary engineer, or has graduated as a mechanical engineer from duly recognized school of technology.
No original license shall be granted to any engineer or assistant engineer who cannot read and write and does not understand the plain rules of arithmetic.
Engineers of all classifications may be allowed to pursue their profession upon all waters of the United States in the class for which they are licensed.
Any person holding chief engineer's license shall be permitted to act as first assistant on any steamer of double the tonnage of same class named in the said chief's license.
Engineers of lake steamers who have actually performed the duties of engineer for a period of three years, shall be entitled to examination for engineer of ocean steamers.
Any assistant of ocean steamers of 1,500 gross tons or over, having had actual service in that position for one year may have his license indorsed to act as chief engineer of lake steamers of 750 gross tons or under.
Any persons having had a first assistant engineer's license for two years and having had two years experience as second assistant engineer, shall be eligible or examination for chief engineer's license.
Any person having had a second assistant engineer's license for two years, and having had two years experience as third assistant engineer, shall be eligible for examination for first assistant engineer's license.
First, second and third assistant engineers may act as such on any steamer of the grade of which they hold license, or as such assistant engineer on any steamer of a lower grade than these to which they hold a license.
Any person having a third assistant engineer's license for two years, and having had two years experience as oiler or water tender since receiving said license, shall be eligible for examination for second assistant engineer's license.
Any assistant engineer may act as engineer in charge of a steamer of 100 tons and under.
Any person holding a license as engineer of steam vessels, desiring to act as engineer of motor vessels, must be examined by the local inspectors as to his knowledge of the machinery of a motor vessel, and if found qualified shall be licensed as engineer of motor vessels.