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Old 08-21-2013, 11:31 AM   #21
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Steering is the job of an autopilot or $8/hr helmsman. Sea time is valuable as long as you are paying attention...I had plenty of prospective captains with plenty of helm time and no brains. There are dozens of other important aspects of being a captain other than just time at the wheel...now time in the wheelhouse or knowing what's going on in there is certainly important. The USCG does look for that even though all time is not needed there.

Supposedly the USCG takes a look at the big picture and decides what in a persons package is worth anything or not....

I'm sure the USCG is aware that a shi#load of captains out there used a bunch of days at sea that were obtained loaded with alcohol, sleeping on someones engine hatch.
We must be talking about 2 different USCG's. I cant remember back to 1991 with accuracy but I do know that 'deck time' was important. This was mainly to exclude sea time as a purser or engineer. Most of the people that looked at the paper work and administered were not CG, they were civilians and just had guidelines to follow. When I applied for 100 ton Masters, all they wanted to know is that I had so many days on any boat with any motor on a navigable waterway or near coastal and had 90 days on a 100 Ton vessel as deck crew. There is no where, read anywhere. where they asked for wheel time.

The administration force at the USCG in New Orleans knew nothing about boats and could not answer any questions. Not even the people that gave the tests. The only questions they could answer were things like what books can I use for reference while taking the test.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:32 AM   #22
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Obtaining a license as an ego trip can put you into legal danger in the event of an accident. You could be held to a higher standard then the other boater.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:38 AM   #23
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Obtaining a license as an ego trip ......
Only someone with very low self esteem would think that to make themselves feel better.
Many of us with USCG licensing actually did work as commercial captains and actually made a living at it.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:44 AM   #24
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And. Some still do...
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:46 AM   #25
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Sea time

I don't know how much has changed since the early 1990's regarding sea time so I may be remembering this wrong.

Sea time on personal pleasure boats was credited as 1/2 day for every day you were on it. This is part of the 795 (I think) days requirements.

For commercial fishing boats you were credited 1 for 1 on your sea time.

For oil field boats in the Gulf of Mexico and some other areas you were credited with 1 1/2 days for each day worked. I believe that was because it was well documented and understood that you worked 12 hour shifts.

When I took my test, I believe 120 days on the vessel size for the license applied for was required. I only needed 90 because I was in the oil fields serving the oil companies.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:49 AM   #26
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[QUOTE=psneeld;174615]the only real difference is how sea time on a personal vessel may be accounted for...sea service forms do the same as the discharge book. [QUOTE]

I think thats a pretty significant difference. The Discharge Book also carries notations about skill levels and any other notations the Master feels appropriate. It's unlikely That a Master making his living on the water is going to "fudge" hours or skill levels in a Discharge Book that is a legal requirement of The Canada Shipping Act.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:07 PM   #27
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[QUOTE=psneeld;174615]the only real difference is how sea time on a personal vessel may be accounted for...sea service forms do the same as the discharge book. [QUOTE]

Sorry, forgot to mention that in the Canadian system there is no credit for non-commercial hours.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:26 PM   #28
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+1 for clearing up an old seaman's tale.

Agreed, the FAA would not hold me to a higher standard then any other passenger if the PIC (Pilot In Command) runs an aircraft off the runway with me aboard and with my pilots license in my pocket. Been there.

If I am not exercising my privilege (and unless I'm getting paid I'm not ) I would be just another passenger.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:41 PM   #29
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The Discharge Book also carries notations about skill levels and any other notations the Master feels appropriate........
Oil field work is its own little world. We did not have Discharge Books. All my paperwork from my company that was in my sea time letter just showed everyday that I worked, the name of the vessel, the tonnage and my duties "Deckhand". That's it.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:49 PM   #30
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Quite a few years ago, the USCG stopped administering the tests. Now the sea school itself administers the tests. When they advertise "Everybody Passes - Guaranteed" they really mean it. This would be hilarious if it was not true.

Kinda like hiring the wolf to guard the sheep.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:15 PM   #31
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Well ya got me Rck....don't have my old links but the USCG referenced several incidents where a USCG licensed Captain was reprimanded for the actions of a non-licensed owner aboard recreational vessels...whether it ever wound up preventing a renewal I can't say for sure.

When I was teaching...the USCG provided this information to the Captain's Schools and told us to remind the students that the USCG is following ta similar approach as CDLs...where infractions driving your own car still affected your CDL (atleast that's what my CDL friends say can happen)...the USCG wants (at least until recently) USCG licensed Captains to "help" their friends to a higher standard.

OK...it might all be a scare tactic...but it certainly is in the realm of possibility...and it sounds right up their alley based on my insider knowledge of the USCG and how it ticks.

I'll gladly admit that I can't put my finger on a specific case...it just all fits for where I have been and what I have heard directy from the USCG.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:19 PM   #32
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Quite a few years ago, the USCG stopped administering the tests. Now the sea school itself administers the tests. When they advertise "Everybody Passes - Guaranteed" they really mean it. This would be hilarious if it was not true.

Kinda like hiring the wolf to guard the sheep.
Pretty sure the USCG still gives exams...

NMC Regional Examination Centers Page

2. Do I need an appointment to visit my local REC or can I just walk-in?
Most RECs accept walk-ins for application drop off. However, if testing, an appointment must
be made. All walk-ins will be handled on an “as available” basis.
If going to REC Charleston, an appointment must be made in order to be seen.

Appointments should be made 3 days in advance.

If testing in REC Boston or REC New York and unable to begin your testing on Monday,
you must contact them directly in order to set up your appointment.



and not everyone passes...but certainly too many do....I have had failures...

The gurantee is that you can keep taking the course and test till you pass...but that's not guaranteed as the test questions and the tests themselves are tightly controlled by the USCG and classes are monitored for compliance.
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:30 PM   #33
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Pretty sure the USCG still gives exams...

and not everyone passes...but certainly too many do....I have had failures...

The gurantee is that you can keep taking the course and test till you pass...but that's not guaranteed as the test questions and the tests themselves are tightly controlled by the USCG and classes are monitored for compliance.
Psneeld

In the old days, most people I knew failed and eventually gave up. The offshore boat companies were really desperate for captains. These days just about nobody fails with these offshore boat companies. Instructors just happen to be looking the other way while the prospect gets help from his neighbors.


Frm-Home page read several lines down from the top "We give you the course and we give you the test".

BTW, I didn't know the CG still gave the tests. thanks for the info. I was just going by what I heard. I was amazed when I heard that the sea schools were also administering the tests.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:31 PM   #34
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Psneeld


In the old days, most people I knew failed and eventually gave up. The offshore boat companies were really desperate for captains. These days just about nobody fails with these offshore boat companies. Instructors just happen to be looking the other way while the prospect gets help from his neighbors.


Frm-Home page read several lines down from the top "We give you the course and we give you the test".

BTW, I didn't know the CG still gave the tests. thanks for the info. I was just going by what I heard. I was amazed when I heard that the sea schools were also administering the tests.
The tests are hard (they are made up from the same questions the USCG uses and the tests are reviewed. They are also closed book unlike the USCG where only NAVRULES is closed book)...hard enough that most people taking the course would never pass them either without taking the course...yes the course does teach to the test but it's no dead giveaway.

Many of the charter captains that did go through my course and actually use the license forget so much afterwards it's embarrassing...and the guys that took it the old fashion way are the same...they forget the same too...cause ya just don't use 90% of the stuff they require you to know.

Being a good captain always boils down to dedication...whether licensed or not, whether licensed the old way or not...and the process doesn't really take that into account from what I can see.....
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:39 PM   #35
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You can get a 10% discount on most insurances with a captain license.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:40 PM   #36
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Regional Exam Centers (REC's) are alive and well. Some of the entry level licenses are administered at the prep centers. Once you get above 100 ton, it gets very difficult to fudge things. The requirements for "sitting" for a license or renewing require an investment in STCW school (5 day), Radar school (3day), Medical care provider school (3 day), fire fighting school (3 or 5 day depending) etc etc. These classes are from several hundred, to several thousand dollars each, plus travel and lodging. Not many recreational operators are going to spend the time or money necessary to obtain and keep these credentials just for there egos.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:40 PM   #37
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The tests are hard (they are made up from the same questions the USCG uses and the tests are reviewed. They are also closed book unlike the USCG where only NAVRULES is closed book)...hard enough that most people taking the course would never pass them either without taking the course...yes the course does teach to the test but it's no dead giveaway.

Many of the charter captains that did go through my course and actually use the license forget so much afterwards it's embarrassing...and the guys that took it the old fashion way are the same...they forget the same too...cause ya just don't use 90% of the stuff they require you to know.

Being a good captain always boils down to dedication...whether licensed or not, whether licensed the old way or not...and the process doesn't really take that into account from what I can see.....
Same with a Florida contractors license.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:45 PM   #38
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You can get a 10% discount on most insurances with a captain license.
When I insured my last vessel...prior to getting my captains license...the insurance company said with my years of experience and a diesel boat and I was maxed out for discounts.

I'm sure it's always good to ask and shop around different companies...there seems to be no standardization with insurance companies.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:50 PM   #39
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You can get a 10% discount on most insurances with a captain license.
Not with my insurance company.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:13 AM   #40
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Back in '84 I received my first licence (Master inland, UPV Ocean). While I had the sea time, I felt I needed to take a prep course for all the exam questions that I had no real world experience for (what lights does a submarine display at night on the surface while making way). The class was 2 weeks in the evenings from 5 to 11pm. First class the instructor started by talking about "aids to navigation" specifically buoys and nuns. He stopped after about a minute with a look on his face. Turning around, it became clear that 20% of the class had no idea what he was talking about. 2 weeks later everybody had passed the class; a week after that 28 out of 30 of us had gotten are license on the first try. I'd be willing to bet the instructor could have taught someone to pass the license who had never set foot on a boat. All they would need was someone to fudge the sea time for them. Hard to have much respect for a licensing process that requires no practical test from an independent entity or the licensing authority.

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