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Old 06-15-2016, 03:45 AM   #1
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Training...

So my wife and I are new to boating. I used to own a 21' Stingray many years ago in the Midwest. However, now we are looking to get into offshore cruising in Southern California. Being a pilot as a profession I am used to a fairly structured training environment. However, I am not able to find much information on getting some training for this new adventure. I would like a complete training course that includes everything from maneuvering the boat/docking, rules, etiquette, open water cruising, navigation, etc. Being proficient is hugely important to me if I am going to load my family up on a boat and head out into the ocean.

Are there any courses available for what I am looking for? I eventually want to get my OUPV license but I do not have 360 days of operation.

Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:01 AM   #2
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In Passagemaker mag you'll find quite a few ads relating to training in the charter section in the back of the mag.
I'd probably charter a Nordy 40 or a Grand Banks or similar with a Captain for a week.In that time you should pick up most of what you need to know.
We have used the Police boat crew trainers where we live.At least you know they are usually good.
Chartering is also good to see if your going to enjoy the lifestyle,not to mention trying different type of boats,it's cheap way to find out what you do and don't like before splashing the big bucks.
Hope you enjoy the boat hunt.
Craig.
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:20 AM   #3
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As with flying, there is a fair amount to learn. Proficiency comes from days of doing and in the case of boating experiencing many different conditions and areas. The captain's license requires these days at sea to make sure the operator has significant experience. If you're not planning it as a profession, this experience should take 5+ years.

You may find the structure of the United States Power Squadron to your liking for instruction.

usps.org

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Old 06-15-2016, 09:04 AM   #4
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The captain's license requires these days at sea to make sure the operator has significant experience. If you're not planning it as a profession, this experience should take 5+ years.
To qualify for a US captains license there is no requirement to show you have done anything other having been aboard a vessel. While you can go back 7 years to show you have enough days on board a vessel or vessels to qualify, you could compile the necessary days in less in a lot less than 5+ years.

And there is no requirement to show that you can actually "captain" a vessel, as in dock and handle one, to get the license.

The lower tonnage US captains licenses are in many cases meaningless pieces of paper that only prove the holder can pass a written test.
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by IFlyEm View Post
So my wife and I are new to boating. I used to own a 21' Stingray many years ago in the Midwest. However, now we are looking to get into offshore cruising in Southern California. Being a pilot as a profession I am used to a fairly structured training environment. However, I am not able to find much information on getting some training for this new adventure. I would like a complete training course that includes everything from maneuvering the boat/docking, rules, etiquette, open water cruising, navigation, etc. Being proficient is hugely important to me if I am going to load my family up on a boat and head out into the ocean.

Are there any courses available for what I am looking for? I eventually want to get my OUPV license but I do not have 360 days of operation.

Thanks!

Chapman School of Seamanship - Learn at the Helm
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:58 AM   #6
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Charter with a captain instructor is very similar to initial pilot training. There are many sources for book and classroom part of learning.


Chapmans book and the rules of the road are a good start on the book side.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:51 AM   #7
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You may find the structure of the United States Power Squadron to your liking for instruction.
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Agree
I think USPS is the best bargain in boating education... they offer everything from basic boating intro to celestial nav, engine maintenance, piloting etc. and many squadron are now offering on-the-water courses in addition to the classroom. You also make a whole new network of people w/ similar interests.

Even if you do a week long course I bet there are USPS courses that will help fill in the gaps.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:56 AM   #8
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To qualify for a US captains license there is no requirement to show you have done anything other having been aboard a vessel. While you can go back 7 years to show you have enough days on board a vessel or vessels to qualify, you could compile the necessary days in less in a lot less than 5+ years.

And there is no requirement to show that you can actually "captain" a vessel, as in dock and handle one, to get the license.

The lower tonnage US captains licenses are in many cases meaningless pieces of paper that only prove the holder can pass a written test.
All licenses of any sorts can be meaningless pieces of paper, if not approached seriously. However, earning Captain's licenses through meaningful sea time, actually being taught at sea, and through good courses can give a solid basis. It doesn't mean all captains are competent anymore than all pilots are or all doctors are. It does mean you've completed certain training.

Just because we have larger tonnage licenses I'm not going to dismiss the lower tonnage licenses. There are many who have worked hard to get six-packs even and absorbed the classroom training as well as the time on boats. We have friends who take their training very seriously, but they work and don't have the time to get the sea time for greater licenses. A master less than 100 Tons requires 720 days of service. To get that in five years would require 140 days a year. Most people not pursuing it professionally do not have that time. As to greater tonnage it requires greater seatime, more courses, and experience aboard larger boats.

Even with STCW and standards of competency, it doesn't ultimately mean you're good at it or take it seriously. Still I do value the resumes of those who go to the trouble to pursue the knowledge, learn what they can, complete the courses.

I know licensed pilots I wouldn't dare board a plane with them flying it and licensed drivers I don't want to ride with, licensed lawyers I'd sure not trust with my life.

Now, I think the fastest route to captains knowledge is to both complete the coursework and to engage a training captain to do serious and challenging training, not just ride along instruction.
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Old 06-15-2016, 12:08 PM   #9
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I think if the sea time requirement was a bit more stringent than just being aboard in any state of conciousness (or not) and signed off by you, family or a friend......it might make a bigger, better difference.

But for now, getting up through masters of 100 ton , inland (lowered if no recency on bigger than 50 ton) is pretty easy .....with a spoon fed course and signed off but unverified or woth a dang sea time.....only the paper is definitely worthy of further digging.

But like all professions...there are bottom feeders and superheroes......no matter how they got there.

An even bigger issue in my mind is staying at the top of your game no matter how long in the business. No one hires the person that is obviously inexperienced, even with a license, or.....they won't last long.

I see the guy driving big boys or tugs or boring routes....or whatever that becomes so mundane that they lose the edge or worse.....start drinking/drugs.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:10 PM   #10
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I think if the sea time requirement was a bit more stringent than just being aboard in any state of conciousness (or not) and signed off by you, family or a friend......it might make a bigger, better difference.

But like all professions...there are bottom feeders and superheroes......no matter how they got there.

An even bigger issue in my mind is staying at the top of your game no matter how long in the business. No one hires the person that is obviously inexperienced, even with a license, or.....they won't last long.

I see the guy driving big boys or tugs or boring routes....or whatever that becomes so mundane that they lose the edge or worse.....start drinking/drugs.
I think you're right on the nature of the sea time and I'm sure for many it's just being on the boat. We've taken ours seriously. People have questioned that we didn't have more faster and we've said that we only count real time. I know people counting time at marinas and anchored and we don't and wouldn't.

The second group you refer to is like any profession of those who decide they know it all and don't need to know anymore. I know a 40 year experienced 100 Ton captain who thought he knew it all because he'd run 60' Hatteras on top of years of local tour boats. He was the one who didn't even know his autopilot had adjustments for it's sensitivity and he'd been captaining that boat for two years. He had electrical problems at every marina and blamed them all on everyone but himself, yet he had basically the same set up one member here had with no issues.

Anytime we think we know it all, we stop learning. It's impossible to stay static. If you're not continuing to move forward then you're moving backwards.
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:30 PM   #11
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Start by asking around marinas and yacht clubs for an experienced delivery Captain, then make a deal for both dockside and underway instruction. Find some crusty old bugger that will teach you etiquette and customs, you will never regret it!
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Old 06-15-2016, 03:17 PM   #12
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I have to disagree about the old salt thing to a point.....

Some guys have been boating 70 years and still can't correctly make fast to a cleat.

Also...there are great boat handlers and captains unto themselves...but stink at instructing....

They are out there...but make sure you get what you are paying for.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IFlyEm View Post
So my wife and I are new to boating. I used to own a 21' Stingray many years ago in the Midwest. However, now we are looking to get into offshore cruising in Southern California. Being a pilot as a profession I am used to a fairly structured training environment. However, I am not able to find much information on getting some training for this new adventure. I would like a complete training course that includes everything from maneuvering the boat/docking, rules, etiquette, open water cruising, navigation, etc. Being proficient is hugely important to me if I am going to load my family up on a boat and head out into the ocean.

Are there any courses available for what I am looking for? I eventually want to get my OUPV license but I do not have 360 days of operation.

Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
As with flying, there is a fair amount to learn. Proficiency comes from days of doing and in the case of boating experiencing many different conditions and areas. The captain's license requires these days at sea to make sure the operator has significant experience. If you're not planning it as a profession, this experience should take 5+ years.

You may find the structure of the United States Power Squadron to your liking for instruction.

usps.org

Ted
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
To qualify for a US captains license there is no requirement to show you have done anything other having been aboard a vessel. While you can go back 7 years to show you have enough days on board a vessel or vessels to qualify, you could compile the necessary days in less in a lot less than 5+ years.

And there is no requirement to show that you can actually "captain" a vessel, as in dock and handle one, to get the license.

The lower tonnage US captains licenses are in many cases meaningless pieces of paper that only prove the holder can pass a written test.
Spent 36 years of my life teaching. When teaching to different age levels and maturity/ professional levels, a good instructor tailors the program to his class. Clearly one can read the OP's question and determine his level of commitment to his hobbies and profession. My comments were tailored to him.

Ted
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