March 26, 2009
Alaska Maritime Newsletter
Making Maritime Connections Across Alaska
In This Issue
TWIC Mobile Appointments
Consolidated Merchant Marine Credentials
USCG 5-Star Program
Juneau Able Seaman Course
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I apologize for the "Spam" by sending two newsletters in the same day, but I just realized I forgot to mention Wrangell's mobile visit in the article below.  This is a corrected version.
TWIC Mobile Appointments  
 
In an effort to support Lockheed Martin's mobile enrollment/activation visits, and to ensure these visits are as efficient as possible, the Marine Exchange will be managing appointments for most of the upcoming visits.  If you are located in the below communities (except for Nome & Ketchikan), please call 907-463-3142 to make an appointment.  Walk-ins will be accomodated as possible, but those with appointments will take priority.  The above phone number is attended 24hrs, 7 days a week.
 
Ketchikan: ENROLLMENTS & ACTIVATIONS, March 23-27, Ketchikan Harbor Office. Hours: 10:00a-2:00p and 3:00p-7:00p.  Call 907-831-0400 for an appointment (leave your name and number if you receive a message).
 
Wrangell: ACTIVATIONS ONLY, April 14, Wrangell Harbor Office.  Hours: 4:00p-6:00p.  If you enrolled in Wrangell or Juneau and would like to activate your card during this visit, please call 907-463-3142 to make an activation appointment.
   
Petersburg: ACTIVATIONS ONLY, April 16, Petersburg Harbor Office. Hours: 2:00p-7:00p.  If you enrolled in Petersburg or Juneau and would like to activate your card during this visit, please call 907-463-3142 to make an activation appointment.
 
Sitka: ENROLLMENTS & ACTIVATIONS, April 7-9, Harrigan Centennial Hall. Hours: 9:00a-1:00p and 3:00p-7:00p.  If you enrolled in Sitka or Juneau and would like to activate your card during this visit, please call 907-463-3142 to make an appointment.
 
Skagway: ENROLLMENTS & ACTIVATIONS, April 13 & 14, White Pass & Yukon Route office. Hours: 10:00a-2:00p and 3:00p-7:00p.  If you enrolled in Skagway or Juneau and would like to activate your card during this visit, please call 907-463-3142 to make an appointment.  
 
Dutch Harbor: ENROLLMENTS & ACTIVATIONS, April 27 - May 1, Unalaska Public Library.  Hours: 9:00a-1:00p and 2:00p-6:00p.  If you enrolled in Dutch Harbor or Anchorage and would like to activate during this visit, please call 907-463-3142 to make an appointment.
Nome:  ACTIVATIONS ONLY, May 5-6, Nome Harbor Office.  Hours: TBD.  The Marine Exchange is not coordinating appointments for this visit, these will be coordinated by the Nome Harbormaster.  If you enrolled during the March visit, Joy Baker will be contacting you or your company representative to set-up appointments.  If you will be traveling during this week, I'd encourage you to contact me so your card can be available in Anchorage (otherwise it will be sent to Nome for the activation visit).  This will allow you to activate the card as you pass through Anchorage. (Email me or call 907-463-4640).
 
Kodiak: There are currently no solid plans for a return visit to Kodiak, but it looks promising for a May visit.  Those of you who have received notification that your card is ready (which means it's in Anchorage) are highly encouraged to activate your card at the Anchorage fixed center if your travels take you through there.  Otherwise, I'll keep everyone updated via this newsletter as dates are firmed up.
New "Consolidated" Merchant Marine Credential 
 
CG StripeOn March 16, 2009, the Coast Guard issued a final rule for the issuance of the new Merchant Marine Credential (MMC), a single document combining  the USCG Merchant Mariner License (MML), USCG Merchant Mariner's Document (MMD), Certificate of Registry (COR) and STCW Endorsement into one document or credential. The Coast Guard's final rule takes effect on 15 April 2009. These new documents have some advantages for the mariner: One advantage is that there is just one fee for the credential instead of paying individual fees for each of the components of the credential. Another advantage is that the security checks required for each credential are harmonized with Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC). This should limit the necessity of visiting a Regional Examination Center (REC) for renewals, etc. Click Here for a complete text of the final rule, a  sample credential, and other pertinant information.
USCG 5-Star Program 
 
5-Star
Many readers of this newsletter are operators of uninspected passenger vessels (UPVs).  This is the time of the year when you folks are digging out and getting the boats ready for the upcoming season.  Here's something to seriously consider during this annual ritual:
 
The 17th Coast District sponsors an Alaska-specific safety program for UPVs called the "5-Star Program."  This voluntary program was designed by the USCG and the small passenger vessel industry to help manage the special risks associated with operating small vessels in Alaska.  The foundation of the program is the ability to request a dockside examination of your vessel to ensure you are in compliance with the various regulations which apply to UPVs.  This examination goes beyond simply checking your PFDs and running lights, and even includes requirements such as the federally-mandated Drug & Alcohol Testing Program, etc.  I can assure you of two things:
 
1) Some of these federal requirements are fairly confusing/in-depth (e.g. the drug & alcohol testing regulations), and
 
2) It is far better to find out you are not in compliance before the season begins, rather than once you are all booked up and operating this season - and much SAFER for your passengers as well.
 
The theory behind "5-Stars" is that you will earn a decal with up to 5-Stars on it, based on the results of the examination and the specific equipment/programs you have onboard the vessel.  In a nutshell, you will receive a "1-Star" rating for simply complying with the requirements for UPVs (and having a safety training program).  Then you will receive additional stars for exceeding the minimum requirements (i.e. if you have an EPIRB or life raft, etc).
 
In addition to the benefit of knowing you are in full compliance with the regulations, all participants in this program will be listed on the "5-Star Website" with links to your company websites (if applicable).  Being a charter operator on the side, I can tell you I've received at least one booking in the past from someone who found us on the 5-Star website and was looking for the "safest of the safe."
 
This program is available to UPV operators throughout Alaska.  For additional program info, examination request, and a list of current participants please visit the "5-Star Website."
 
Juneau "Able Seaman" Course 
 
UAS LogoThe University of Alaska, Southeast is offering an "Able Seaman" course in Juneau on April 6-10.  This will be the only AB course offered in SEAK this spring.  Click here or call 888-550-6177 for additional information.
 

Brett Farrell
Marine Exchange of Alaska
Marine Exchange of Alaska | 1000 Harbor Way | Suite 204 | Juneau | AK | 99801