After a fourth school
gave me a less than clear answer, I called the National Maritime Center and got good clear advice from someone that was not trying to sell me a course. Sea Time never runs out and to renew, I dont have to have currency if I retest. That means I dont have to build up my license
starting from the bottom, as one of the schools told me. Two of the schools told me I had to have recent time. My original hesitation towards calling the CG was a mistake. I have to get a TWIC card before I can apply, and take (and pass) a 200 ton Masters course, and I assume a physical and CPR course. I have decided that I wont bother renewing the 500 ton Mates , and I will do the Oceans (Celestial) at a later date. Even though I had done a lot of Celestial, the CG exam for Oceans was the hardest exam I took from them, so I dont want to study for both at the same time. ___Thanks for all of the links and info._____Grant.