Letter To The Editor: 11th License Renewal
I am in the process of renewing my license as Master of Towing Vessels upon the Western Rivers. This will be my 11th issue, which covers a span of 55 years. I don’t know if this is close to a record or not.
I first got my license in 1967. The requirement then was to pass a written test and have signatures of two licensed pilots who confirmed that I could operate a boat. I’m not sure, but if there was a cost, it was very little.
I have navigated every Western River the full length except the Arkansas River. I have piloted over 50 boats from 250 hp. to 8,500 hp., and handled tows up to 46 barges.
Still, even with my experience, I have to jump through all the hoops as if it were my first issue. I’m not really complaining, but some of the requirements don’t quite make sense. I have to go to a radar refresher course even though I’ve been using radar for 40 years (as if I’ve forgotten how to use a radar).
I have to have 240 twelve-hour working days in the last five years (as if I’ve forgotten how to operate a boat). That part is a little hard as I’m retired and just occasionally do trip work. I did learn that I can count days fishing on my fishing boat and I do a lot of fishing since I have three boats.
I can understand the physical, because as you get older, your health might not be so good. The TWIC card is still a question mark in my mind. So all in all, this adds up to a cost nearing $500. Still, I’m renewing my license. It may be my last, but you never know.