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Old 22-04-2009, 01:31   #1
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Six-Pack w/o the Class

Hi all. I would like to get my 6 pack lic. but my schedule does not allow me to get into a review class. I live in So. CA. and understand there is a USCG licensing facility in Long Beach, but I am not quite sure how to go about scheduling the test. Also wonder if there is a definitive study guide or if anyone has had a good experience with an online course?

Thanks in advance for all your input!
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Old 22-04-2009, 05:03   #2
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When I saw the title, I thought you were talking about Iron City beer.

Might be best just to give them a call and ask how they might be able to help you out. (562) 495-1480
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Old 22-04-2009, 07:18   #3
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Mariners School

I took the class from the Mariners School but they also offer it online as well. You only have to show up for the test. The advantage of taking a course and test from a school rather than just studying and taking the test from the Coast Guard is the that the bank of questions the test is developed from is reduced significantly. Mariners School Website

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Old 13-09-2009, 18:40   #4
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Why don't you check out the Coast Guard website regarding the credentials.

USCG National Maritime Center
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Old 14-09-2009, 15:19   #5
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Far simpler to take the time to attend a class. Most seem to offer weekend classes where you may only loose a day work. The passing rate is very high for class attendees and from what I understand from the examiners, much lower for the book only group who show up at the CG test sites. Besides the classes are fun and you meet a wide group of people, some are alone worth the cost and effort of the class.
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Old 22-09-2009, 19:57   #6
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And besides the bookwork and examination you must demonstrate a history of sufficient on-water experience to qualify to even take the test. Schools can work with you preparing the filling out the qualifications forms better than trying to do it yourself. You cannot just fly in for Iowa and sign up for the test. You must have the required on water experience -
OUPV Inland License - Requires at least 360 days experience in the operation of vessels. 90 of the 360 days must be in the last 3 years.
OUPV Near Coastal - This license also requires at least 360 days experience in the operation of vessels, 90 of which must be gained outside the Boundary Lines.
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Old 23-09-2009, 03:00   #7
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
And besides the bookwork and examination you must demonstrate a history of sufficient on-water experience to qualify to even take the test. Schools can work with you preparing the filling out the qualifications forms better than trying to do it yourself. You cannot just fly in for Iowa and sign up for the test. You must have the required on water experience -
OUPV Inland License - Requires at least 360 days experience in the operation of vessels. 90 of the 360 days must be in the last 3 years.
OUPV Near Coastal - This license also requires at least 360 days experience in the operation of vessels, 90 of which must be gained outside the Boundary Lines.
Please clarify this for me. How does having a class help you with documenting the sea time? I would do this for the same reason that I have always filed my own taxes.: Most of the tax preparation work is in gathering the documentation, and a tax preparer, no matter how good, can only work with the documentation that I provide. (Well, an honest one at any rate.)

Isn't documenting your sea time a pretty straightforward process?

Personally, I would attempt to prepare for the exam on my own, because of my frugality. (I do not have the sea time, so it is a moot point for me.)

I would think that preparing for the exam on your own actually takes more time than doing it through a class, There is a book written to prepare for the test, written by Charlie Wing. But most of the book consists of the test questions, which are all available on-line. The book does organize the questions by topic. It also provides very brief chapter outlines that might be good for review.
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Old 23-09-2009, 06:04   #8
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- - A certified school for a USCG license can assist you in recalling and sorting out your history of "days at sea" and then placing the information in the proper areas of the required USCG form. If it has been 10 or 20 or 30 years since you have started sailing or operating vessels they provide one on one assistance recalling and classifying the information. I cannot say more than that. The certified schools are worth the money they charge. I would never consider a non-certified school unless I already had a basic USCG license and only wanted to upgrade.
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Old 23-09-2009, 13:35   #9
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Okay, paying for the one-on one help to tease the info out of your brain may be worthwhile! I had thought that the "help" was just navigating through the paperwork.
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Old 25-09-2009, 15:32   #10
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In the back of my mind I've always wanted to get the OUPV/Master's certification. One, it would just make me a better sailor. And two, it would be nice to have in my back pocket as a possible source of income if my current business ever goes belly-up.

But I live up in the mountains and nowhere near any of the places the OUPV courses are taught. I know there are some online courses, but they seem expensive. I'd prefer to learn it from books if I could. Does anyone know if there's a good printed study guide for the test? How about memorizing Chapman's Piloting?
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Old 25-09-2009, 23:09   #11
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I know that I have no experience with either the Captain's license exam, nor the schools who help with certification. But I have a very strong DIY bent, and I am proficient at test-taking.

There is a study guide written by Charlie Wing, Get your Captain's License, Fourth edition. If you look the listing on Amazon, and search for "Kotsch," you will be sent to a list of recommended readings for the exam. This will give you an idea of the texts that might be useful.

I am not sure if I feel that the book is worthwhile purchasing. This is because the bulk of the book is the test questions, which are available on-line at the National Maritime Center. There is a short summary at the beginning of each chapter and the questions are organized by various topics, which may be useful for review.

My public library owns the third edition. If money were not tight with me, and if I was seriously preparing for the exam, over the next few months, then I might purchase the book.

But in any case, I would buy a copy of Bowditch, Dutton's,and Chapman before purchasing this book, because these are valuable reference books that I want in my permanent library.

I am using this reading list to build a strong marine library. I have started a thread on this book list in the forum under the books topic, but there hasn't been any activity.

Also, many of the recommended references are available online as pdf files, so you needn't buy them to become familiar with the content.

Good Luck!
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Old 26-09-2009, 06:21   #12
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Thank you, that's great info! I like your approach: cheap, practical, DIY but do it right. . . .

Also, I didn't know that sample test questions were available online. That's a huge help.
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Old 26-09-2009, 11:29   #13
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Aloha PL,
I organized a study group for six guys here about 8 years ago. All were enthusiastic to get their Captain's license. We all had study guides including Charlie Wing's and we studied enthusiastically for months. The end result was that none of us carried through and took the USCG's exams and to this day none of us have their license.
If I'd spent the time and cash on an official course I'd have had it immediately.
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Old 26-09-2009, 13:05   #14
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Thanks SkiprJohn,

Please do not read my response as sarcastic. It is not meant to be. It is really meant to learn more about your experience in your study group.

Would you say that the time you put in for self-study was a waste?
Was the money for the materials a waste?
When you studied, did you spend all of your time studying, or did you periodically check your progress by simulating the exam conditions, and evaluating the likely outcome of the exam?

It would be nice to hear the experiences of folks who have tried it both ways. Maybe the other posters did try it both ways, and merely didn't say so.

I know that I do not have the drive to study mathematics without the incentive of earning course credits. It is just too much dang work. And the incentive of having staked a significant financial investment into a course of study is also a HUGE motivator.

But I HAVE earned college credit for Spanish, and many other college classes with an investment of a fraction of the time and effort I would have invested in a class.

I am guessing that mental intensity of the Captain's exam is somewhere between studying for a multiple choice exam in Spanish, and studying a 300 level (junior year) undergraduate course in Real Analysis.

I have also gotten stuck on a simple concept more than once in my self-study of celestial navigation, despite a BA with majors in math and science, and familiarity with the use of mathematical tables. And I was too embarrassed to ask around my local club to see if anyone could clarify this for me. (I was once criticized me for saying "Oh look, I think that's Venus!" (It was dusk, and in the Western sky, and of the correct brightness.) So I have learned to be quiet about my "book larnin' " in my local sailing community.

Based on my other experience in test taking, and your previous preparation, I encourage you to:set aside a day, and simulate the exam conditions as closely as possible. Answer the questions as you would in the exam room. Guess if there is no penalty for guessing. How close do you come to a passing exam score?

Shucks, this is what I would do, right now, if I were to learn that I could sit for test without the sea time!

(Gosh, It would be great, if I could barter time coaching (NOT INSTRUCTING) someone for the exam, with sea-time!)

PL

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about my "past life." I used to work in life insurance, and passed a number of the tests for the Society of Actuaries, but I was just shy of becoming an ASA when I became disabled, and was fired.
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Old 27-09-2009, 12:52   #15
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I won't take your comments as criticism but will consider it a little test. The time and effort was not a waste. We didn't spend much money except to copy pages of the study guides for each of the students. We learned a lot but none of us continued on to reach the goal of gaining the certification. The classes you will take and pay for through an organized school are designed around the questions that the Coast Guard asks on the exams. Their goal is to get you certified not to teach you everything there is to know about sailing and seamanship. You can learn much more by independent study.

I think we had a pretty good study group. I used to be a military instructor and wrote curriculum for many different kinds of classes. I too have a BA gained off campus (while at sea on ships) through a lot of self study and challanging courses. I've taught sailing since the mid 70s and have taught celestial navigation. Although there could be an argument about my sanity I am an American Mensan so my intelligence has been tested. We simulated exams. I've taken many qualification exams both military and civilian. We did not go to the Coast Guard and talk with them about requirements.

Good luck in your pursuit. I'll stand by my explanation of how it didn't work for us 8 guys as a recommendation to take the classes even though they are expensive if your true goal is to get your license.

Regards,
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