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Old 04-11-2008, 13:15   #1
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captain's license reading material

I am working on getting my Captains License but have along way to go before taking the test. I would rather not pay the $170 in fees for books right now. Does anyone know what the reading material is for getting your 6/pack? I know COLREGS is one of them but am curious what the others are.

If anyone has taken a captains course and their books are taking up space I would be happy to help them out.
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Old 04-11-2008, 14:07   #2
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Just a few would include:

Light Lists and Coast Pilot
Chart No. 1 Nautical Chart Symbols
Tide Tables
Radio Navigational Aids

You should read up on Marine Weather, First Aid, Shiphandling and Stability

Practice you chart practical work, Plotting

Look at CFRs 33 and 46

Regarding the test and licensing

Your license will be determined by your documented experience.
Studying for the test, specifically how you study in my opinion depends on how well you retain information.

If you don't have enough documented time to sit for the exam now I recommend starting with some of the easier subjects first such as plotting. You can practice often and chances are you will retain the most important aspects long from now.
I wouldn't spend a lot of time on some of the less common subjects until about a few weeks before you are ready to test.
Tide and currents really aren't complicated once you see how to do it. An occasional problem will probably be enough to help you pass.

Look online for practice tests

Just a thought or two
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Old 04-11-2008, 15:33   #3
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Thanks a lot S.O. I am sort of figuring that I will be cramming a bunch before the test but was also thinking that retaining as much of that information - as in long term memory - wouldn't hurt me too much either. After I posted that thread I went and looked on Amazon and found... Amazon.com: Get Your Captain's License, Fourth Edition (Get Your Captain's License): Charlie Wing: Books ... and thought that might be what people use in the class. Does anyone know anything about it? I also found ... Netflix Online Movie Rentals - Rent DVDs, Classic Films to DVD New Releases ... does anyone have any experience watching that?
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Old 04-11-2008, 15:33   #4
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Pay for one of the courses. They teach you the answers to the questions they will ask on the exams and you will pass the test. The plotting is the most difficult part of the test and the part that most people fail. You won't learn anymore than that so don't think you will be ready to captain the Queen but you will have your papers.
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Old 04-11-2008, 16:38   #5
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CHAPMANS... covers everything
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Old 04-11-2008, 17:04   #6
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Originally Posted by speciald@ocens. View Post
Pay for one of the courses. They teach you the answers to the questions they will ask on the exams and you will pass the test.
I will. I just can't take it yet because i don't have the hours logged. I am just looking to obtain the knowledge ahead of time. I own Chapmans and will slog through it. So confusing though!
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:03   #7
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I'd 2nd the course work recommendation. The do (at least mine did) teach the subjects you will be tested on. But, at least in my course it went into more than just teaching answers. In the class room environment we had a wide range of experience. A couple had allowed they license to expire and were starting from scratch but knew enough to teach a class on their own. We had real life experiences that drove in some of the class room material and made if far easier to remember.

The Map work is generally the most difficult and don't be too surprised if some are a bit tricky. In our school they had 4 different test for each section. As I recall they had 4 total sections: Rules of the Road (90% to pass) Deck General (70% to pass) Nav General (70% to pass) and Chart Navigation (70% to pass) Each section has a different number of questions about 50 for the first and I think about 35 for each of the others except the Chart Nav which is 10 questions about half or more are actually plot questions and bet one is a set/ drift in reverse of what you would normally do.

You also have to pass the physical & eye exams, Complete and pass a USCG approved First Aid and CPR class and be drug free and be on a certified random retest program.

All this would be difficult for someone on their own to get accomplished effectively. A school will generally have everything set up.

And the School was FUN.... we has old salts, new para- flyer boat owner operators, Husband and wives, Father and sons and a Mom, her son and her boy friend, Mom and a knockout daughter, Commercial deck hands moving up to skipper status, and a few guys and women who just wanted some additional training and to see what it was all about.

Sea Service time is the critical issue for most non commercial people as most of us never documented our time on the water ever well. A min of 4 hours a day is needed to count as a day... but working 16 hours is still just a day. You may want to get copies of the CG-7195 form and start pulling your data together as you do it. More info is required if your sea time is on a boat not owned by you.

Good luck, I'm sure you will enjoy the trip to obtaining your license... I have. I'll be doing my 100 Ton next spring when I return from the islands.
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:23   #8
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Rules of the Road is the most difficult part of the test because you must get a 90%. The other sections of the test only require a 75% to pass. Buy a book that explains the rules, which is different from the rule book itself.

I don't see any way of realistically studying for the exam for free. Your going to have to spend money to even sit for the exam anyways. I would just go ahead and buy a book on getting your license. There are a number of them out there. You can probably buy a used one for cheap on Amazon.
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Old 05-11-2008, 12:41   #9
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Keep taking the prep tests till you pass

USCG License Prep Quiz
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Old 05-11-2008, 13:05   #10
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Buy "Getting your Captain's License" by Wing. It was the most valuable when I home studied for my license. I would also strongly advise you to take a class rather than doing it on your own. There is just too much material to cover, and taking the tests at the CG is a big hassle. Rules of road is the toughest because of the 90% req. so start on that now.

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Old 06-11-2008, 08:36   #11
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While the passing grade is highest for the Rules of the Road at 90% it is not typically the most difficult portion of the test. Most people already know most of the answers if they have spent much time at all involved in boating on large bodies of water. The only clarification most need is the difference between the inland rules and International rules, and possibly less frequently observed lights. (many have never ran across a Sub on surface at night) Of course everyone learns differently but flash cards can nail it for most people. In my class of about 30 people only one made 90% and most Aced that portion of the test in far less than half the time allocated.

By far the most difficult portion of the test for the average person is the map plots and the set/ drift scenarios that few of us use in our day to day boating. You may want to get the Block Island area test map and get familiar with it. It is an old edition and used by every school I have run across as the test mapping location. I think it is also the one now in use by the CG.

I do agree that testing with a school is FAR better than setting for the CG exam in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar tools and references books on the area. It is like being at "home" vs being at the doctors office... different mental state which can effect your test score/ testing ability.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:24   #12
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Charlie Wing's book is 90% USCG License Prep Quiz which is on the website that Don sent two posts above.
I too recommend taking a course. I once organized a study group and we went through all the reading material and exercises we could find and of the 6 people in the group not one of us followed through and took the exam. If you are going to do it then the courses will get you through it and you'll have your license.
Just my opinion.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:31   #13
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Thanks for the great tips guys.
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Old 06-11-2008, 14:48   #14
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Respectfully have to disagree about Wing's book. Of all the study materials that I accumulated it was the one I ended up using the most. IIRC it also comes with a CD so you can take practice tests in the different sections of study which were invaluable (maybe these are on the website mentioned above?). It by no means is a stand alone reference, you still need Bowditch and all the CG books, Coast Pilot, etc. It's probably different in a class rather than home study like I did though, and definitely less time consuming. I was told that only about 10% of home study people pass and I can understand why.

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Old 06-11-2008, 19:04   #15
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Ok, Ok. I am a sailor and sometimes I am a bit prone to exaggerate. I do apologize. I just checked it out and in all fairness to Charlie Wing the book is only 50% questions and answers from the USCG License Prep Quiz. I have the '98 version and another old study guide from '95 if anyone wants to purchase them. Email me if you are interested.
Kind regards,
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