(a) The Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) has jurisdiction and determines within the range limitations specified in this section, the number of roundtrips required to qualify an applicant for a particular route, considering the following:
(1) The geographic configuration of the waterway.
(2) The type and size of vessels using the waterway.
(3) The abundance or absence of aids to navigation.
(4) The background lighting effects.
(5) The known hazards involved, including waterway obstructions or constrictions such as bridges, narrow channels, or sharp turns.
(6) Any other factors unique to the route that the OCMI deems appropriate.
(b) An applicant holding no other deck officer endorsement seeking an endorsement as first-class pilot must furnish evidence of having completed a minimum number of roundtrips, while serving as quartermaster, wheelsman, able seaman, apprentice pilot, or in an equivalent capacity, standing regular watches at the wheel or in the pilot house as part of routine duties, over the route sought. Evidence of having completed a minimum number of roundtrips while serving as an observer, properly certified by the master and/or pilot of the vessel, is also acceptable. The range of roundtrips for an endorsement is a minimum of 12 roundtrips and a maximum of 20 roundtrips. An applicant may have additional routes added to the first-class pilot endorsement by meeting the requirements in paragraph (c) of this section.
(c) An applicant who currently holds a deck officer license or MMC endorsement seeking an endorsement as first-class pilot for a particular route must furnish evidence of having completed the number of roundtrips over the route, specified by the OCMI, within the range limitations of this paragraph, for the particular grade of existing license or MMC endorsement held. The range of roundtrips for an endorsement is a minimum of eight roundtrips and a maximum of 15 roundtrips.
(d) Unless determined impracticable by the OCMI, 25 percent of the roundtrips required by the OCMI under this section must be made during the hours of darkness.
(e) One of the roundtrips required by the OCMI under this section must be made over the route within the 6 months immediately preceding the date of application.