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Old 17-12-2013, 09:49   #16
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Re: Captains License

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Where is the evidence of that. This is just Internet rumour. No doubt a court will look at your respective experience including your qualifications. I would have thought you are more likely to be punished of you undertook an activity , where you were not qualified , then in one where you where and something went wrong

Dave
It is true to a point... There are some things where part of the issue will be if the captain "knew or should have known" something related to safe operation. With a license it is harder to argue ignorance. However the idea that the standard is different is just wrong. And the KOSHK standard is based on an experienced sailor, there is no discount here for being new.

I held a 100tonn offshore license for a while and gave it up because of the drug testing. When I stopped using the license commercially it became a pain to deal with paying to join the USCG testing program.
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Old 17-12-2013, 10:16   #17
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Re: Captains License

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Correct. The testing part is the same. Both your tonnage and navigation range are determined by your sea time. I guess my point was that there is a huge difference between a 25 ton Inland Masters and a 100 ton Oceans Master. Yet both are commonly called a Masters-100.

Some people poo-poo the USCG licenses as being too easy to get and not really signifying competence. For the lowest grade Masters, that is arguably true, but for the higher grades it takes some serious sea time on serious boats to qualify.
Compared to a lot of the international stuff I've seen, the US is light years ahead of everyone else. It seems a little easy to poo-poo pretty much any maritime licensing scheme, but like you said the upper-tonnage stuff really is no joke and there are no "paper captains" with ocean-unlimited endorsements.

But here's a picture I snapped of a tour boat in Mazatlan going out past the breakwaters last year. Imagine what the "captain" of this vessel has for formal training and you can see the safety equipment employed.

The safety rating for US commercial stuff, including run by "100 ton" captains is pretty high. There really are boats sinking all over the world getting pushed around by skippers who a year before were digging ditches somewhere and their brother got them the gig in the wheelhouse.

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Old 17-12-2013, 10:18   #18
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Re: Captains License

The license exam is in several parts, dealing with different subjects.

Chart navigation 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 counts. Houston 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.
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Old 17-12-2013, 12:54   #19
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Re: Captains License

Ok so what I can gather from this input, which I greatly appreciate is that unless I am being paid as a Captain I don't need a license. Ok, but I have read on this forum that some countries will not allow you to leave port if do not have proof of competency ie: Captains lic./ or I think the term helmsmans lic. was used I just don't want to be THAT guy who was caught off guard and now unable to leave a foreign port. I live on the West Coast and I only plan on upgrading from my 26' to a 38' and unless I fall into a really lucky situation there are far more qualified Captains for chartar companys. I will mainly be sailing for pleasure(surf) and I hold a CDL for the road so the drug testing and medical aspect of aquiring an advanced operators lic. is no problem. Thanks for all of the feed back.
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:04   #20
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Re: Captains License

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I just took a look at the sailing school's web site. None of their courses prep or qualify you for a USCG license. It looks like they just made up a bunch "levels" and have course to get you there. I could write you up a certificate that would be just as meaningful. If you are looking for a USCG license, you will need to look elsewhere. As an example of the difference, the Sailing School will qualify you as a "Captain" with 50 days of sea time. A USCG license requires 360 days.

If you want to get USCG license, here are some things to consider about courses:

- Lots of people offer course, and some are online. But 99% of them can't administer the final exam. You need to go to the CG to take the test after your course work is complete.

- As of a few years ago there were some exceptions for the tests. The CG had certified a small number of training facilities to both train and administer the exams, providing one-stop shopping. However, the restriction was that the course time had to be face to face with minimum number of hours. I think the CG site has a list of certified instructors, and as of a few years ago it was a pretty short list. So, if you are going to take a course, find out how the final exam process works before you sign up. One place that can do it all is Confident Captain in Newport, RI. I highly recommend them.

- There is a book by Charlie Wing geared towards prep for the exam. It includes a program that drills you on questions. It was an integral part of the course that I took. If you have the self discipline, you could prep using the book and program and go take the test at the USCG. That would be the cheapest way to do it.

- But before you go running off to take a course, make sure you check all the other requirements to be sure you qualify. Sea time is a big one, plus little things like being a US citizen, drug testing, medical qualifications, etc.
I conclude the USCG is the way to go .....but I think the way I read the site was the 50hrs only got you a skippers certification to operate a vessel 28' and under.
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:10   #21
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Re: Captains License

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Compared to a lot of the international stuff I've seen, the US is light years ahead of everyone else. It seems a little easy to poo-poo pretty much any maritime licensing scheme, but like you said the upper-tonnage stuff really is no joke and there are no "paper captains" with ocean-unlimited endorsements.

But here's a picture I snapped of a tour boat in Mazatlan going out past the breakwaters last year. Imagine what the "captain" of this vessel has for formal training and you can see the safety equipment employed.

The safety rating for US commercial stuff, including run by "100 ton" captains is pretty high. There really are boats sinking all over the world getting pushed around by skippers who a year before were digging ditches somewhere and their brother got them the gig in the wheelhouse.


Hey, but they have a life raft, so they should be good to go, right? Looks like it will hold at least 6 people
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:25   #22
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Re: Captains License

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Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
--- I guess my point was that there is a huge difference between a 25 ton Inland Masters and a 100 ton Oceans Master. Yet both are commonly called a Masters-100.
----
I never heard my 50 ton license called anything other than a 50 ton license.
Especially when I was arguing with my ex, who held a 100 ton license lol.
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Old 17-12-2013, 16:24   #23
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Re: Captains License

ST, After 65,000nms and over 30 countries, I have never been asked to show my Masters License to be able to leave a country. I'm pretty sure most cruisers don't have one.

I've met many cruisers that try to Home-School and get tripped up (fail) on Rules of the Road. You need a 90+% to pass. Paying the price to take a course is the quick way to get it done.

Good luck
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Old 17-12-2013, 17:26   #24
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Re: Captains License

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Originally Posted by Surftrip View Post
I conclude the USCG is the way to go .....but I think the way I read the site was the 50hrs only got you a skippers certification to operate a vessel 28' and under.
Just to be clear, there are a wide variety of sailing "certifications".

The only one in the USA that provides you the legal right to do something is a US Coast Guard certification. That is what most people here are referring to.

There are a few more courses that a widely recognized and may offer you some benefits such as a discount on your insurance. These are the Power Squadron courses and the ASA courses. Power Squadron courses are run by volunteers in classrooms so are free or cheap. If you do not need a coast guard license, but just want to learn the art of seamanship, this is one of the best ways to go. The ASA courses are on the water, and much more expensive, but really teach you how to use your boat. The paper from the ASA courses might help you if you want to charter a boat and have no experience.

The NauticEd courses are theory courses. They will teach you information about seamanship similar to the Power Squadron courses, but are not as widely recognized. If you take them, it should be to get the information in the courses, not to get the certification, which is mostly meaningless. Taking these courses is the equivalent of reading a book. I can offer you a certificate that says you read your Chapman's, but nobody really cares. You read it for the content.
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Old 17-12-2013, 17:49   #25
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Re: Captains License

I would like to chime in Houston Marine in New Orleans is great. I took all my classes there, and had a great experience. They also have a lady who helps walk the paperwork thru every week, which significantly decreases the time it takes to get the paperwork in order.
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Old 17-12-2013, 17:52   #26
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Re: Captains License

Houstan Marine used to sell a book with all of the requirments for all levels of licensing. It was worth studying to find out the best way to increase your license. I think the basic license is worth getting, just for the knowledge , and maybe for better insurance rates. I started out with a 25 ton Masters, and worked my way up to a 200 ton Masters/500ton Mate and depended on the Houstan book to know when I was able to take the next exam, and the best way to log sea time. I gained most of my tonnage increases by working on large motor yachts or doing deliveries on larger sailboats than what I owned. Buy one of the guide books , rather than trying to figure out the CG information, which could confuse anyone. I think you will find it worth while. _____Grant.
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Old 17-12-2013, 18:01   #27
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Re: Captains License

As crowded as the Florida waterways can be, we believe that everyone operating a vessel on Fl. waterways, should have a USCG issued license. Still don't understand why that's not done.

We thought we knew it all until we took the class and USGC test. The Rules of Road are at the very least everyone should know even if you're not tested or licensed.
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Old 17-12-2013, 19:37   #28
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Re: Captains License

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As crowded as the Florida waterways can be, we believe that everyone operating a vessel on Fl. waterways, should have a USCG issued license. Still don't understand why that's not done.

We thought we knew it all until we took the class and USGC test. The Rules of Road are at the very least everyone should know even if you're not tested or licensed.
Coast Guard license seems a little extreme, but it would be great if the power squadron courses turned into a template for volunteer certification much like the VEC is for a HAM radio license.
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Old 18-12-2013, 05:23   #29
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Re: Captains License

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Coast Guard license seems a little extreme, but it would be great if the power squadron courses turned into a template for volunteer certification much like the VEC is for a HAM radio license.
Some sort of recreational license would be great. Perhaps something with the same book-learning as a 6-pack, but without the sea time and all the other requirements like TWIC cards, medical, references, etc. etc. I'd be all in favor of that.
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Old 18-12-2013, 08:05   #30
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Re: Captains License

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Some sort of recreational license would be great. Perhaps something with the same book-learning as a 6-pack, but without the sea time and all the other requirements like TWIC cards, medical, references, etc. etc. I'd be all in favor of that.
Same for me. As soon as I finished my 100 ton class the first thing I thought was "man I wish everyone had to do that."

The biggest opponents of mandatory testing, even silly online-only testing consisting of an easy batch of ten questions, is the boating industry. Any obstacle to the purchasing of a boat is dismissed as heavy handed government trying to break our pioneer spirit.

The boat industry wants you to buy new boats, refit old ones, and pay for your slip fees. They have little desire for raising the bar in anyway towards the operation of acquisition of a vessel.
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