3rd mate unlimited NC or OC?

Hello all! I’m currently studying for a 3rd mate unlimited nc license , I realize the only difference is you have to take a 15 question cel nav test, but I’m studying at home and dont feel like trying to learn cel nav at the moment haha. But, whenever I take practice tests for nc exam, on captain joes or upgrade u, they throw cel nav questions in on nav gen? Do you need to know celestial for the nc exam or do they omit the cel nav questions from everything ? Thanks for the help!

I went this same route and used captain joes to study for my 3M NC. What type of question are you talking about?

Hey there, its asking me questions about sextants, celestial equators,venus questions, max current you could expect with moons ,other various questions about celestial bodies. Dont see an option to just study on any of these aps for nc, they always group nc and oc together. Thanks !

You’ll only have celestial questions on the exam if you put celestial on the app. There’s a nav gen MC and a nav gen oceans. I studied them and learned them anyhow because I will be adding oceans at some point

Got it. I didn’t have anything like that on my NC exam for Nav gen. Not sure why capt joes isn’t filtering those out for you because it did for me.

I went back and tested for oceans later. It made it a lot easier to focus on just cel nav stuff. Best of luck.

Thanks for the info! Ya thats what my plan is , get the nc then just study celestial after to upgrade, thanks for the help!

Just be aware that there are a couple of celestial-like things even on the NC exams. Primarily compass correction by azimuth and amplitude to name a couple.


If i would have had my shit together, i would have done the celestial course before my upgrade. Would have made my life SO much easier doing the terrestrial module.
I self studied for my near coastal license. In hindsight i couldn’t imagine self studying for the celestial. I know for a thirds license you have to test at the coast guard regardless but the course will help, if you have the means.

Apparently not anymore. There are some courses approved to substitute for the exam for 2nd and 3rd mate now.

I’ve seen the approved courses to upgrade from NC to OCEAN, but not sure there are courses that allow you to skip the trip to the REC for the initial mate’s exam.

I’m fairly certain he was just talking about the ocean upgrade exams, not the whole 3rd mate exam. It used to be that ANY unlimited exam had to be done at the REC, only 1,600 ton and down could upgrade to oceans with just a course.

It seems that more license exams keep getting farmed out to the schools for the convenience of the USCG. The schools make sure people pass. It’s becoming a farce.

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Having just returned from a REC, I get the sense that they aren’t going to be there at all in a year or two. Stand by for some changes.

Could you elaborate on that? I haven’t been to a REC in quite some time…

The RECs are so worthless they might as well close them down and farm the exams out to a college testing service.

Skeletal civilian staffing and the ones left are getting ready to retire. There are no longer any blue suiters left there. I spent a few days there and was almost the only customer.

That all sounds like Nav Gen not Cel Nav.
All of that info is in Bowditch.