10 Coast Guard Engineer, 6 years Seatime, Need Advice

I am about to complete my MMD process and was given the QMED rating but really don’t understand the testing process that I am looking forward to at the Coast Guard REC. My experiance was primarily as CAt master mechanic, Engineering officer of the watch inport/at sea as well as AUX team leader (boilers, pumps, A/C’s, Reefers ect…) What tests should I take as endorsements on my QMED and what areas should I study? I have very little electrical experience and no formal Ac/R training rather hands on. Also, are there many job’s available to me with MSC? Anyone answering some of these questions will be most appreciated. I haven’t been to sea since 2004 but have spent most of my adult life at sea. Thanks in advance for your knowledge and assistance.

There are jobs for QMEDs at MSC, 3 of them are open for hiring now: http://www.sealiftcommand.com/resources/now-hiring

Thanks for the reply. Any additional information in regards to my posted questions will be greatly appreciated.

You gotta have a TWIC (probably already do, right?)
Take STCW BST (Basic Safety Training)
Advanced Firefighting
Get some seatime (sounds like you only need 90 days recency)
Get your RFPEW (Rating Forming Part of an Engineering Watch) signed off
Learn to find information in the CFR’s. (46 CFR 11.501 has the Engineering license structure)
Take a basic electricity course and a refrigeration theory course

Check out AmericanTrainco.com

Sit for DDE exam. Don’t bother with additional QMED ratings.

If you know your shit, all Coast Guard exams are easy as pie.

SeaDog, THX. I heard from a friend that is the way to go and only 150 questions for DDE. Will that rating/endorsement cover any HP or size of ship? Also, taking the designated duty engineer test?, is that a hard test or at least what should I study? I appreciate you reply and look forward to others. Fair Winds and Following Seas.


How many trys on a module are you allowed. I am going to take SeaDogs advice on the DDE, but, do I go for unlimited or 4000/HP? It looks like the 4000/HP is 150 questions and does not cover elect. so I should be ok, but, to get on with MSL, will that cut it or should I go ahead and seek a basic elect./refer course and take my chances? Anyway it goes, if I am allowed multiple trys without having to pay multiple times then I should be ok as I could teach myself overnight what was on test, or I think I can. Any help here is greatly appreciated and never forgotten. I am a salty dog myself, 4 or (sort of) 4 years Navy during Operation Desert Storm , then reentered in 1998 serving addistional 6 years a (yeah) a puddle jumper, but great duty and much more exciting. THX to SeaDog for your suggestion, I had heard this before but getting a second opinion reassures me this is the way to go. Read the thread and help if you can. THX guys.

Don’t get ahead of yourself…

Get your TWIC/MMD/BST and a QMED job with MSC.
Get RFPEW signed off while you’re at sea.
Learn to read the CFR’s while you’re at sea.

When you get home, take LB and AFF.

The test is a long ways off. Yes, there is elec. and reefer and steam and hydraulics and safety and pollution and blueprints and hand tools and machining and first aid and survival [U]and[/U] [U]and[/U] [U]and[/U] on the test.
There’s a whole bunch of stuff under “General”.

If you’re ready it’s easy.

2 trys on the test, then wait 6 months before trying again.

DDE 1000, 4000 or ANY Horsepower is up to the coasties based on experience…learn to read the CFR’s. The license only covers some boats and no ships, but it’s your starting point.

Don’t try and learn all the pollution regs (oil in the water=BAD).
Learn how to look them up in the CFR’s.
Same with the safety stuff, you don’t need to memorize how many fire extinguishers are required as spares aboard each type of vessel, on each route, engaged in each type of service, you need to know how to look it up.

Electrical and reefer theory are hard subjects to teach yourself, not impossible, but hard.
When you’re at sea with MSC, study, ask questions, read.
If your not getting it, take the courses.

Learn to read the CFR’s.


This is great study material. Well worth the money.
CFR 33 and 46 are available online, learn how to look stuff up. It’s like a code or puzzle… once you figure it out you can find what you’re looking for.