The license exam is in several parts
, dealing with different subjects.
is the one where you have to be proficient at a skill to pass. Most of the others are multiple choice questions where to pass you just have to know the right answer to the question.
The entire question pool is online and can be downloaded, and if you record
it in pieces on an MP3 player, and listen while you work at things, you will soon know the answers. One particular recording method works best, so PM me if you want detail. Even if you take a course, prepping with the question pool will give you a head
start, and you will know what questions to ask the instructor in your course.
The Coast guard randomly selects a number of questions from each subject pool for each exam to prevent cheating. Several exams are given in the same room to prevent cheating, and for applicants for various licenses.. Knowing the answer is not always enough in the navigation section. The Coast Guard wants you to work the problem the "right" way. Courses help here.
For higher licenses, the CG used to refuse admission to people not suitably and respectfully attired. Dress with shirt and tie, or the female equivalent. Even if not the rule
any more, they appreciate the respect. Your respect will gain their respect, important if you need clarifications during the exam.
Various Coast Guard offices evaluate letters of time different ways, so get an evaluation from the office where you will test and obtain your license. I know people rejected in one office who were accepted in another. The New Orleans
licensing office sets the national standard in reality, if not officially. They process so many licenses that they are very proficient at it.
Charlie wing's excellent book will get you through the exam, and there is a CD that gives practice exams. Marine
Education Textbooks have excellent study guides, used in many classroom courses. They are specific for each license.
Some schools are authorized to test, and their students have a high test success rate. I have found Sea School
worthwhile, and a good value. Employers have paid me to go to Houston Marine
in New Orleans
If you are thinking employment
, test for an Able Seaman's license at the same test as your Master's (Captains) license. The time requirements are similar, but not the same, particularly in regards to tonnage. There are lots of AB jobs, and they pay well. Large inspected vessels' certificates require a specific number of ABs. Holding a captains license alone will NOT get you a job. Working as an AB you can get the experience that employers look for.
Getting a sailing endorsement and a towing endorsement are wise as well, and just one exam segment more. There is a lifeboat practical exam for ABs. To work, you will also need various courses to qualify, like lifeboating, first aid, social responsibility (Me?), and a TWIC, MMD, and an STCW, and a whole deck
of company, port, and other ID cards. It is best to take prep courses for all of them at the same time. Also a physical and a drug test, and entered in a random testing program. Also clean criminal record
, especially drug and alcohol related violations.
If you are thinking employment
, the school
Marine is wired into the Maritime industry. Young Memorial in Morgan
City is too. Many storefront schools gain less respect.The main employment sectors are oil
field work, ships, pleasure boating
, commercial fishing
, and tug and towing. Each has special needs. They are a world of their own, and you will do well to have an experienced guide to gain entry.
Check out the Seafarer's International Union. Their schools are free to members, and they WILL PLACE you in a job.
Big companies like Edison Choest pay for schooling to upgrade good employees. That is a good path for those seeking a maritime career.
I worked most of my life on the sea. I retired about 6 years ago, so some of my information is dated. Please point out where I might have erred. If I can be of any more help, send me a private message.