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Old 21-02-2021, 10:47   #1
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USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

When I conduct my 100Ton USCG approved training class we have 9 practice tests.
These tests include some of the ways the official test may try to trick you.

For example Putting an almost correct answer first so the student will pick it.
Question: When a power driven vessel is not making way in the fog, what sound signal do they make?
a. 1 short blast
b. 2 long blasts
c. 2 prolong blasts
d. no sounds are required.

Some might pick b 2 long blasts but in the USCG regulations there is no such thing as a long blast.
The correct answer is c 2 prolong blasts.
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Old 21-02-2021, 11:00   #2
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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Originally Posted by Captain Graham View Post
When I conduct my 100Ton USCG approved training class we have 9 practice tests.
These tests include some of the ways the official test may try to trick you.

For example Putting an almost correct answer first so the student will pick it.
Question: When a power driven vessel is not making way in the fog, what sound signal do they make?
a. 1 short blast
b. 2 long blasts
c. 2 prolong blasts
d. no sounds are required.

Some might pick b 2 long blasts but in the USCG regulations there is no such thing as a long blast.
The correct answer is c 2 prolong blasts.

I remember this very question and Iíve had my ticket for 15-20 years!

They sure donít change much!!!

That long vs prolonged blast question has always been there.
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Old 21-02-2021, 11:08   #3
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
I remember this very question and I’ve had my ticket for 15-20 years!

They sure don’t change much!!!

That long vs prolonged blast question has always been there.
Sometimes they add the difference between whistle and horn.
Example
a. 1 short blast on your fog horn
b. 2 prolong blasts on your fog horn
c. 2 prolong blasts on you fog whistle
d. no sounds are required.

You do not have a horn on your boat you only have a whistle.
Horns are on land, like a lighthouse.
So the answer is c. 2 prolong blasts on you fog whistle.

Notice in both examples that put the almost correct answer first so if you do not read all the answers you will pick it.
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Old 23-02-2021, 07:54   #4
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

Another Trick question

In open water you are on a sailboat in a crossing situation with a tow boat towing astern a barge.
The tow boat and barge are on your starboard side. Who is the stand on vessel?

a. The Tow boat and barge because they are "Not Under command"
b. The Tow boat and barge because they are "Restricted in their ability to maneuver"
c. The Sailboat
d. Who every blasted their maneuvering signal first.

Try to answer it yourself.
Remember it is a trick question.
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Old 23-02-2021, 08:54   #5
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

Sort of a goofy semantics game. In the example of 'log vs. prolong' and 'horn vs whistle' you would consistently be doing the right thing despite the 'wrong' answer. If it said 'siffler' (French) or 'silbar' (Spanish) it would still be considered wrong even though both words mean Whistle, because the book says "Whistle".
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Old 23-02-2021, 09:00   #6
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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Sort of a goofy semantics game. In the example of 'log vs. prolong' and 'horn vs whistle' you would consistently be doing the right thing despite the 'wrong' answer. If it said 'siffler' (French) or 'silbar' (Spanish) it would still be considered wrong even though both words mean Whistle, because the book says "Whistle".
Yes on the USCG test they want you to use the legal words that are defined in the COLGRGS.
After all it is a test on the COLREGS.
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Old 23-02-2021, 09:20   #7
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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Originally Posted by Captain Graham View Post
When I conduct my 100Ton USCG approved training class we have 9 practice tests.
These tests include some of the ways the official test may try to trick you.

For example Putting an almost correct answer first so the student will pick it.
Question: When a power driven vessel is not making way in the fog, what sound signal do they make?
a. 1 short blast
b. 2 long blasts
c. 2 prolong blasts
d. no sounds are required.

Some might pick b 2 long blasts but in the USCG regulations there is no such thing as a long blast.
The correct answer is c 2 prolong blasts.
Captain that is not a "trick question, it is merely a test of one's command of the English language. The words "long" and "prolong" as used in the test questions are adjectives with distinctly different meanings. In order to know the COLREGs [sometimes referred to as "the rules of road"] one needs to have full command of the explicit language used in the regulations.

The difference between Long and Prolonged

When used as adjectives, long means having much distance from one terminating point on an object or an area to another terminating point , whereas prolonged means lengthy in duration.


Long is also noun with the meaning: a long vowel.

Long is also adverb with the meaning: over a great distance in space.

Long is also verb with the meaning: to take a long position in.

Rather similar say to the distinction between further and farther.
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Old 23-02-2021, 09:26   #8
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

Many have 2 correct answers. The trick is to pick the most correct answer. Learned from many tests throughout my career.
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Old 23-02-2021, 09:29   #9
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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Originally Posted by Captain Graham View Post
Another Trick question

In open water you are on a sailboat in a crossing situation with a tow boat towing astern a barge.
The tow boat and barge are on your starboard side. Who is the stand on vessel?

a. The Tow boat and barge because they are "Not Under command"
b. The Tow boat and barge because they are "Restricted in their ability to maneuver"
c. The Sailboat
d. Who every blasted their maneuvering signal first.

Try to answer it yourself.
Remember it is a trick question.
Rule 15 for crossing situations applies only to power driven vessels. Therefore, your sailboat is under power and the othe boat is stand on since they are to starboard.
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Old 23-02-2021, 09:30   #10
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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Originally Posted by Captain Graham View Post
Another Trick question

In open water you are on a sailboat in a crossing situation with a tow boat towing astern a barge.
The tow boat and barge are on your starboard side. Who is the stand on vessel?

a. The Tow boat and barge because they are "Not Under command"
b. The Tow boat and barge because they are "Restricted in their ability to maneuver"
c. The Sailboat
d. Who every blasted their maneuvering signal first.

Try to answer it yourself.
Remember it is a trick question.
What's the trick?

And with the whistles, Rule 32 defines short and prolonged blasts - there is no definition of "long blast".
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Old 23-02-2021, 09:39   #11
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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What's the trick?

And with the whistles, Rule 32 defines short and prolonged blasts - there is no definition of "long blast".
You are right it is really not a trick because you are using the definitions that are spelled out in the COLREGs.

The tricky part is you do not uses normal English words and they will use normal English words in some of the answers before they use the correct words.

I try to explain to my students that the COLREGS have their own special defined terms and you need to use them.
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Old 23-02-2021, 09:46   #12
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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Originally Posted by Pandor View Post
Rule 15 for crossing situations applies only to power driven vessels. Therefore, your sailboat is under power and the othe boat is stand on since they are to starboard.
What about the pecking order?
The order is from top to bottom.
Overtaken
Not Under Command
Restricted in her ability to maneuver
Fishing
Sail
Power Driver
Sea Plane
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Old 23-02-2021, 10:14   #13
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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Rule 15 for crossing situations applies only to power driven vessels. Therefore, your sailboat is under power and the othe boat is stand on since they are to starboard.

You are correct.

The sailboat is correct for 2 reasons.
1. The sailboat is not under power.
2. Also the tow boat with a barge is just a power driven vessel and is not classified as a "Restricted in her ability to maneuver" vessel.
So the pecking order also would give you the sailboat as the answer.

Reference
A Tow boat is only classified as a "Restricted in her ability to maneuver" when the towing restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course.

The question does not say anything about not being able to deviate from their course.
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Old 23-02-2021, 10:27   #14
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

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You are right it is really not a trick because you are using the definitions that are spelled out in the COLREGs.

The tricky part is you do not uses normal English words and they will use normal English words in some of the answers before they use the correct words.

I try to explain to my students that the COLREGS have their own special defined terms and you need to use them.
When I asked "what's the trick?" I was referring to your sailboat/tug crossing. I think you meant to say Pandor was incorrect. Rule 18 makes it clear the sailboat would be stand-on - no trick there.

Arguably it's a little "tricky" making test questions about the minutiae or semantics of the rules, but this does in some way ensure a complete understanding of the rules rather than a cursory knowledge.
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Old 23-02-2021, 10:38   #15
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Re: USCG Exam Rules of the Road Trick Questions

I took my test a couple of years ago and I remember groaning at some of the ways the test writers tried to trick you up. The "prolonged" blast question was a good example. it's not the Coast Guards job to test your knowledge of Oxford English. In this example, 'long' and 'prolonged' have the exact same meaning, if one were to consider practical usage.

It seems to be a common method (mistake in my, and many others' opinions) of test writing, where if the test material is fairly easy, that they feel like they need to include tricks to make the test harder than the material they are testing. It happens all the time where the concepts are not complicated or difficult to grasp. I've seen examples in tests for Red Cross certification, safety at sea certs, and internet examples of EMT, medic, police written tests, etc. Most of the concepts are simple if you've studied the material at all. If you grasp it, one should ace that portion of the test. There's nothing wrong with having a good portion of your test takers ace a test that they've studied for. Still, people feel like if too many people ace a test, they've failed somehow in their test writing. What they should be weeding out is people that didn't study or grasp the concepts, rather then folks who appreciate the difference between 'prolonged' and 'long' in some 1920's version of the English language.

In the above example, if you replaced answer 'b' with "1 prolonged and 1 short blast" the question would be even more valid because if one didn't study, they would have an equal chance in choosing the wrong answer.
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