All I can help with is what I did....
1. Actually attained my 720 days of documented time by teaching sailing, and doing charters for five years. I did not fake anything.
2. I thought with all that experience that I was pretty knowledgeable, but myself and our other instructors all signed up and took the U.S.C.G. Prepartory ( for the exam ) class. It was twice a week in the evenings, for several weeks.
3. Superb learning
experience, with an excellent instructor that made things much easier and retainable for life. The information was not just learned to take the exam, but to permanently use through out the long years of sailing and power boating
. And passing on those helpful learning
tips to my students for years to come.
4. In the U.S. we not only have to take the initial exam, which took me one full day for the written and the different categories or evolutions . If you do not pass one of the sections...each section is graded immediately after completion....if you did not pass it...you stopped. No more testing that day. You could return the next day and give it another go. If you failed again, you had to stop, do more study, and wait 30 days to retest and continue.
5. I passed all of sections, passsing varied from 90% on some sections to 70% on others.
6. After all that was passed in one day, I was bushed....and returned the following day for the NAVIGATION
section. 90% required to pass. I was successful...and they issued the 100 Ton Merchant Marine
7. But, you are not finished, you still need to put in additional sea time, and renew the license every 5 years. I have 5 renewals, ( 25 years worth ) the last one they boosted the 100 ton up to 500 tons near coastal.
8. To assemble the package for the U.S.C.G... I had the application, I think finger print card, sailing time, all of the different vessels, type, LOA
, etc, and recommendations, and other requirements. it was quite a package, and I had it well organized.
9. One other thing. I presented myself 15 minutes early to the U.S.C.G. officer at the testing offices. ( from the military you relieve the watch 15 minutes ahead ), I was clean shaven, nicely dressed in clean pants and a sweater, and had all of my paperwork in order.
In front of me, a applicant had come in late in relation to his appointment time, unshaven, dirty clothes, etc. Now , the U.S.C.G. is a military entity, with military bearing.
The U.S.C.G. officer, told that applicant , he was late and to call and make a new appointment. I was next, he looked at my paperwork, and at me, and said. " Do you want to test for your 100 ton ?" Of course I answered " Yes sir, that would be great. "
At this time, My fifth issue has expired, but I am no longer sailing or boating
for hire. But, we do continue to bare boat charter
sailing and motor
vessels through out the world, and with sending in my sailing resume, I include copies of the five issues of my captains licenses.
Suggest that you
1. Get your sea time verified
2. Find a qualified U.S.C.G. preparatory school in your area. Ask around or search the web. Read the reviews
on the school and instructors. There are some highly professional exam prep schools out there. They will help you with what you need .
3. Study hard, this is no wimp test . It took me all of one day, and 3 hrs the next day for just the navigation
So, there you have additional info on the U.S.C.G. Licensing plus all of the other help from the CW posters.