I guess we are far from agreement.
I want prompt competent in-person service at an REC in my home state (or at least an adjacent state). I’m willing to pay whatever it costs the USCG to provide this service.
No. No more NMC. It has failed. The solution is not to run two separate licensing programs with the RECs processing the small party boat licenses, and the NMC doing everything else. The solution is to close the NMC and save the USCG and taxpayers a ton of money, and US Mariners tons of aggravation. There are only two Senators and one Congressmen committed to keeping NMC open in West Virginia, but many more Congressmen and Senators that would like to see some of those jobs moved to RECs in their home states. NMC cannot be fixed; it has to go. It is possible to get this done.
The forum shopping that some mariners did by going from one REC to another with their seatime and asking “what will you give me” and then picking the most generous REC was never a serious problem. New Orleans was the only REC that was routinely too generous. That kind of forum shopping could be stopped, by requiring an online “notice of application” that would be visible to all RECS, and adopting a rule that once you apply at one REC, that first REC must complete that application.
Now, the NMC is an understaffed, inexperienced, brain-dead, luck of the draw — where you may get an incompetent evaluator that hands out Unlimited master’s licenses to just about anyone with no exam, or you may get an incompetent evaluator that will take six months without doing anything at all, or you may get an incompetent evaluator who cannot read and so denies your application because it supposedly does not contain something that is right there in black and white. There is less consistency at the NMC today, than there was at the RECs 10 years ago. This is the real problem.
I am open to turning over maritime licensing to a new non-military agency, or to the RECs, that will provide in-person evaluations, but not to continuing with the failed NMC.