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Old 07-22-2016, 09:45 PM   #1
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Maritime Training

I'm considering heading to a Maritime training school. While I have literally decades of experience afloat, in fact had my sea time consolidated some 15 years ago for a license. My window of opportunity is expiring and I'd prefer to have something for my efforts than not.

I found the CG changes to recency requirements to extend them to 7 years for prior military would enable me to obtain a license with out having to duplicate the hard earned sea time. Thinking something less than working for MSC, which I have done in various capacities in the past.

So...where to go? I've heard good things about Crawfords in Seattle, others that anyone might recommend?
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Old 07-22-2016, 09:58 PM   #2
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That's nice that the CG changed the recency requirements. When last I had a license it was 6 months! But that was for commercial time, not mil. I went to a school in Seattle in the early 80's for a tugboat license but I don't even remember the name of it, probably long gone.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:04 PM   #3
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I've looked at a lot of places for a variety of classes ranging from an initial 100 ton inland license, upgrade to 200 ton near coastal, radar certification, and now STCW compliance. The CG licensing has recently been brought into alignment with international standards which has triggered a bunch of new training and certification for anyone wishing to operate outside the US on the license. The old rules still apply for a domestic-only license, but it will be restricted for international use. That's what the STCW stuff is all about.

If all you want is an entry level masters license, there are lots of places that offer classes. A smaller group of them are also authorized to do testing which is convenient. You take the class then take the test and walk away with a certificate. If the school isn't certified to test then you need to go take the tests at a CG testing center.

Once you move beyond the basic entry level license, the training becomes more specialized and the number of places offering it drops off very rapidly. There are one or two in Seattle, a place in Houston, and MPT in Florida. Maybe a couple of others, but those are the big ones. From what I've seen, MPT has by far the largest range and frequency of classes, and I always end up back there. A lot of places list classes, but when you call you find that they farm it out to a bigger school, or that the class will only run if they get enough people signed up, and they usually don't.

I'm in the process of renewing and upgrading my license and will probably take the STCW basic safety class locally since it is one of the widely taught classes, but will go back to MPT for a couple/few weeks for the more complicated stuff.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:32 PM   #4
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If you are located in Seattle check out Pacific Maritime Institute and Compass Courses. They along with Crafword's are good. I've studied at all three. Think about why you want the credential and what you'll do with it then talk to all three. Each serves a different group of mariners.
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Old 07-23-2016, 12:02 AM   #5
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I attended MPT in Fort Lauderdale initially in the late 90's, followed by some radar observer and ARPA classes in subsequent years. I always had good experiences there and their staff in particular was well qualified.

I recently took a renewal course in my area, and I will not recommend the provider.
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Old 07-23-2016, 03:00 AM   #6
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If you are located in Seattle check out Pacific Maritime Institute and Compass Courses. They along with Crafword's are good. I've studied at all three. Think about why you want the credential and what you'll do with it then talk to all three. Each serves a different group of mariners.
Another bump for PMI. I've never been to that one myself, but they're one of two schools that my union works with. I've been to the Baltimore branch several times, and have always had a positive experience.

What sort of license are you looking to get?
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Old 07-23-2016, 05:14 AM   #7
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Not sure how relative my experience will be as it was a long time ago. Did initial courses with Houston Marine which is now part of Falck Safety Services. In the early 1980s they had a school in Annapolis where I did my training. Thought they were quite good. In the early 1990s did a renewal / raise in grade course with Sea School. Received a piece of paper which was what I needed. Wasn't impressed.

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Old 07-23-2016, 07:42 AM   #8
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Where do you live and what are you looking to get?
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:55 AM   #9
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Where do you live and what are you looking to get?
What he asked? There are many excellent schools throughout the country and then some bad ones that are simply about pushing people through. We're spoiled by being in Fort Lauderdale and have had all training through MPT.
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:17 AM   #10
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My past experience would tend to steer me towards any ocean unlimited, or I guess International these days, but I've done enough multi-month deployments to have a pretty good handle on that program. So I'm thinking something that has a bit more consistency and home time, wherever home may be.

I'm in the midwest so western rivers and tugs or push boats seem interesting from my current perspective.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:31 PM   #11
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My past experience would tend to steer me towards any ocean unlimited, or I guess International these days, but I've done enough multi-month deployments to have a pretty good handle on that program. So I'm thinking something that has a bit more consistency and home time, wherever home may be.

I'm in the midwest so western rivers and tugs or push boats seem interesting from my current perspective.
USCG unlimited HP/tonnage licenses are a much different animal than tugs. Do you have a lot of time on ships? I left that world a long time ago, but it took me 4 years at Maritime Academy, and then 4 - 8 hour days of USCG testing to obtain a 3rd Asst. Lic.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:59 PM   #12
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27 years active Navy SWO. Last afloat job was XO.

So yep, lots of time on ships. Literally thousands of hours of training in all facets of ship operations, navigation, maintenance and repair.

The interest in river/coastal work is an idea to keep me home more often than not. Running international routes in the unlimited world would probably be ok-ish but likely involve a great deal of travel which I'd prefer to limit if possible.
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:23 PM   #13
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27 years active Navy SWO. Last afloat job was XO.

So yep, lots of time on ships. Literally thousands of hours of training in all facets of ship operations, navigation, maintenance and repair.

The interest in river/coastal work is an idea to keep me home more often than not. Running international routes in the unlimited world would probably be ok-ish but likely involve a great deal of travel which I'd prefer to limit if possible.
You're now talking two issues. First is legally being licensed for the job you want. Second is being attractive to and meeting the requirements of the potential employer. I would suggest talking to some potential employers now and finding out what they are looking for as both minimum and as desired as well as who you will be competing against for job consideration. Will a maritime school make you likely to get hired or do you really need a four year maritime college to have a good chance for a job?
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Old 07-23-2016, 03:37 PM   #14
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Thank you for your service. 27 years on naval ships is an amazing accomplishment.

I am not sure how your Naval Sea time will cross over to The merchant side, so I will shut up now.

There are others on the site who I believe are on ships, tugs, And other vessels so maybe they can chime in.

One site You may find interesting is G captain. I am sure there are also plenty of other resources out there to help you as well.
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Old 07-23-2016, 04:23 PM   #15
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You may have to backpeddle a bit for the towing licensces.
Master of tow is a hard one to get without experience towing...

It changes a lot over the last 15 years so I would have to dig up all the requirements to see if any Navy time would count for towing.
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Old 07-23-2016, 04:41 PM   #16
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The Lakes might also be something to consider. It certainly fits the 'close to home' criteria. It's part of the reason I like it. Business is a bit slow this season, so I don't know if you'll be able to find much, but it's a thought.

The gulf is another option for shorter rotations. Never worked down there, myself. The Lakes are hot enough for me.

I don't know how your Naval service will translate over to USCG sailing time, but it should count for a lot.

I'd recommend you get ahold of a chap called Chuck Kakuska. He's a former Coastie who now runs a licensing service. He'd be able to answer any questions about what counts and what doesn't and what you'll need to do to get where you want to be. My company keeps him on retainer, so I don't know what his prices are, but he's been extremely helpful to me for the last ten years. I can't recommend him highly enough.

Sea K's Maritime Licensing Service

My guess is, if you have the sea time, you probably have the skills to just take the test. You may not need to spend the time taking classes if you don't want to.
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Old 07-23-2016, 05:26 PM   #17
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Somewhat like you, I had 40 years of sailing experience, including an Atlantic crossing, when I decided to get a license. After looking at many options, I chose the Chapman School of Seamanship in Stuart, FL. I did the OUPV and 100 Ton Masters upgrade, as well as Assistance Towing Endorsement and Marine Radio Operators License in eleven days. I chose to stay in their onsite lodging (one bedroom efficiencies) which I found convenient. I passed everything on the first try and was impressed by their professionalism. They have a wide menu of classes available. While I can't vouch for the other classes, I can say that I learned a whole lot of new information, in a hurry. I'm very happy with my choice of schools.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:48 PM   #18
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Maritime Institute in San Diego, CA. Besides recreational and merchant marine, they also train Federal and state law enforcement, etc. The owners are friends of mine, and are ex-Navy. They've been doing it a long time and have a stellar reputation.
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