Types of Training


Class Name

Class Description

Call for Information for cost of training

Deckhand Basic Training

This 7-day course is designed to acquaint the prospective entry-level deckhand with life on the river and to assist the deckhand in obtaining a job on a commercial towboat. Safety training and hands-on skills are emphasized.



This 10-day course prepares the experienced deckhand to obtain a license as a Steersman of Towing Vessels on Western Rivers from the U.S. Coast Guard. This is the first license on the path to becoming a Master of Towing Vessels. Classroom subjects include Deck Safety, General Deck and Environmental Subjects, Navigation, and Rules of the Road. 

Prerequisite: 18 months experience as a deckhand.






This 5-day class prepares the licensed towboat officer to expand the scope of his or her license from the limited Western Rivers route to the Inland Waters route. Navigation and Rules of the Road are stressed.

Prerequisite: License as Master, Pilot, or Steersman (Apprentice Mate) of Towing Vessels on Western Rivers.


Radar Observer

The Inland Waterways Academy offers a number of U.S. Coast Guard approved Radar Observer and Radar Observer Recertification courses for Western Rivers and Inland Waters. The cost varies depending on the nature of the course.



This 40-hour course is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and is designed for the boatman (licensed or unlicensed) who will be transferring liquid dangerous cargoes in bulk.

Prerequisite: The U.S. Coast Guard requires observation of a number of transfer of liquid dangerous cargoes prior to issuance of the endorsement. Also, Tank Barge Firefighting is required.


Tank Barge Firefighting

This class is required by the US Coast Guard prior to issuance of an endorsement as Takerman - Person in Charge. The class familiarizes the prospective tankerman with the theory and science of firefighting and provides hands-on experience in extinguishing large fires.


Basic and Advanced Firefighting

This is a U.S. Coast Guard approved comprehensive 4--hour course in the theory and practice of marine firefighting. The course includes both classroom instruction and hands-on training in exterior and interior firefighting. This course is required for all candidates for an Engineering license and for all Deck licenses over 200 tons. The course is also approved by the U.S. Coast Guard for international operations under the STCW code.


Crew Endurance Management Coach

This U.S. Coast Guard approved 2-day course familiarizes the student with the Crew Endurance Management System and certifies the student as a CEMS Coach.


Standard First Aid CPR and AED - Adult

This is the American Red Cross 8-hour course in Standard First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, and Automated Electronic Defibrillators. This class also meets the First Aid requirements of Basics Safety Training under the STCW Code.


First Aid for the Boatman

This course is the American Red Cross Wilderness First Aid Basic program with additional materials that apply to the maritime environment. Not limited to wilderness situations, this is a comprehensive first aid course for remote locations, rural areas, the marine environment, or any other place where help may be delayed. CPR/AED training is not included in this course.


Emergency Response

This 34-hour course is the American Red Cross training course for First Responders. It is a comprehensive course in first aid and emergency treatment of the sick and injured.


Designated Examiner

This one-day Train the Trainer course is for the experienced mariner who desires to become certified as a Designated Examiner by the U.S. Coast Guard. A  Designated Examiner certifies the competency of persons working in the maritime environment who are advancing their licenses or certifications.


Piloting and Navigation

Designed for the boatman who wishes to obtain a license from the U.S. Coast Guard or who wishes to raise the grade of an existing license, or for the person who desires to know more about near shore and river navigation, this course covers the art and science of determining one's position and finding one's way on the water.