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Old 02-05-2016, 10:29 AM   #21
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I also believe the USCG National license difference vs. STCW will diminish over the next few years and within 5 years or so there may no longer be a difference.

As to HELM, first note there are several different leadership courses but this one as taught at MPT is definitely not the same course a business school would teach. I can't speak as to other schools.

I would say it's at attempt to teach some skills that have been shown to be greatly lacking in some major situations around the world. It's not how to run a profitable boat which would be the business school emphasis, but issues that definitely impact safety at sea. It's also to address many of the issues widely seen in the management of commercial and recreational boats, areas in which Captains, Mates, Engineers and Stews have not been trained formally in the past. The objective is to achieve good communication, enhance decision making on board, teach recognition and adjustment to situations, plan and allocate resources, operate in a way to both be effective and follow applicable rules, and learn to assign duties and direct others in an effective way.

I think it's a recognition that there is more to being a Master than knowing how to operate a boat. You depend on others and your ability to lead them. It is a management and leadership job and for many who take this course, it's the first management and leadership training they've ever received. The larger the boat, larger the crew, the more your performance is dependent on the performance of those who work for you, under you, not on just what you do.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:39 AM   #22
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I find I get the best, most up to date answers from the USCG. I note the date and name of the person who gave me the answers.

While I like the folks at MOT and have taken many courses there, and will again, you have to remember they are in the business of selling courses so I and others have found that they can sometimes end up "suggesting" more course then you might actually need to meet the minimum requirements for what every license you are going for or renewing.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:56 AM   #23
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I find I get the best, most up to date answers from the USCG. I note the date and name of the person who gave me the answers.

While I like the folks at MOT and have taken many courses there, and will again, you have to remember they are in the business of selling courses so I and others have found that they can sometimes end up "suggesting" more course then you might actually need to meet the minimum requirements for what every license you are going for or renewing.
Actually I have known captains who have gone there and sat down and gotten the facts and discussed their situations and based on the information from MPT decided not to go STCW. I think they or at least some of them are doing a pretty good job assisting those who ask in deciding what they need and I've known several who then decided that a National license was enough for them.

Now, I'd recommend using at least two sources, so USCG and one or more schools, that way you're not as likely to be misled by one individual. In both situations it is not the entire organization speaking to you but just a single individual who can be wrong. With either entity the quality of information varies widely based on who you talk to. If local and getting it from MPT or ICT, I strongly recommend in person and not over the phone.

We also use the USCG checklists as I like written over verbal.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:00 AM   #24
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I find I get the best, most up to date answers from the USCG. I note the date and name of the person who gave me the answers.
Agreed. In fact, called them yesterday to verify how to report testing in lieu of sea service on the CG_719B I'm submitting today. I had a "receipt" from Capt. Rodriguez (BitterEnd Blog guy and head of training for Zenith) from the renewal course I did last April - they checked and it was indeed in the system, and told me I should just print that "receipt" message from him and include it in my packet. The gal I talked to took the extra time to tell me about sending copies rather than originals, and went through how I should handle the TWIC non-renewal. Easy peasy.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:08 PM   #25
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A lot of the problem stems from the introduction of STCW and how that muddles things up. Some of the 'license renewal application' specialists won't even handle STCW holders for even renewal.

The 'centralized' NMC has actually helped remove a lot of the ambiguities in responses. But the whole divide on worldwide standards (brought to us by Filipinos and Pakistanis in the Maritime world makes me puke).

And discussing the 'El Faro' is quite appropo. Similar to the mariner licensing standards/ It is just those hull inspection standards that were skirted regardless of who the regulatory authority is/was.
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Old 02-05-2016, 07:18 PM   #26
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I personally have no problem with license renewal and harmonizing standards internationally. Many other civilized nations view the USCG licensing as a joke compared to what's required elsewhere. The National license relies heavily on sea time, and much less on training. So if you haven't gotten yourself killed, you are good to go. I'm all in favor of more training, in fact I think people should have to re-test for a driver's license renewal, and training should be much more rigorous. The majority of drivers don't seem to know basic rules of the road, or at least don't practice them.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:26 PM   #27
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The STCW parts are not optional for me. We regularly go Foreign and have the hardest time with Canada transits. Since my company owns a shipyard in Erie, Pa we have to transit the St Lawrence Seaway and submit to Canadian Seaway inspections. Part of the requirement for crew members is no DWI and other offenses for the last 10 years. This is always a scramble as a couple of the regular crew have had DWI arrests, some 15-18 years ago. 1 of the deckhands has a clearance letter from the Canadian Gov't but was still denied entry to TRANSIT Canadian waters enroute to the US side of Lake Erie. We were sent to Valley Field (west of Montreal) to load the Antenna section for the World trade center and had crew issues that were very expensive to resolve. Canadian made parts loaded on a US flagged barge, to be towed by a US flag tug. I believe its a money grab only. All crew had required STCW and other required documentation for foreign transit.
These issues never come up in other countries
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