American Commercial Lines Inc. (ACL) announced that it will offer the nation's first Inland River Pre-License Steersman training program in partnership with Northeast Maritime Institute of Fairhaven
On August 31, 2006, the United States Coast Guard approved the new Inland River Pre-Steersman training program. This program can shorten the total time of license eligibility for Apprentice Mate (the first stage in the licensing process of a professional mariner) by approximately 50%. The\ program includes classroom, simulator and sea time. The new program will initially be offered only to ACL employees.
ACL and Northeast Maritime Institute are currently working on the next phase of the program which may further shorten the remaining licensing period. The end result will be that a person who is new to the industry could achieve the rank of Full Mate in approximately 30-36 months, a 50% reduction in the current five to six year licensing period.