AB Unlimited (and general AB questions)

Hello to the forum,

I’m new here, although I’ve been reading and searching the forum for awhile. It sure is a great resource. Thank you to all who contribute! :slight_smile:

I’ve recently received my MMD, and I’d like to start working with it. My previous experience is mostly on sailing vessels and small commercial vessels (36’), and working in the marine industry ashore.

Right now what is listed in my MMD is as follows:

Master, 50-ton, near coastal, including sail and commercial assisted towing
Ordinary Seaman
Wiper
FH

I also have my TWIC

As I understand it, I am also qualified for a Mate, 100-ton, near coastal, but I need to apply for the upgrade.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily mind working on a sailing vessel, I see myself as more of a “working boat” person. A research vessel really appeals to me, but I’m completely open to options. I’m more experienced in deck and navigation (and have more interest there) than I am in engineering. I would have no problem going offshore for extended periods of time.

What I’m trying to figure out is where I could (or should) go next in getting training and credentials to help me in getting started with a job. I have researched, called people, and etc. but I’m still a bit confused as I’m not sure everyone’s information agrees.

I think I’m pretty clear that taking Basic Safety Training and Lifeboatman would be useful, and that they are also things I have enough sea time/experience to qualify for.

Where I am confused is when it comes to AB.

I thought I understood that I wouldn’t be able to “be” an AB without at least 180 days of seatime on vessels of 100 gt and over, which I don’t have. In other words, I could take the classes, but unless I had that sea time within a year it would go to waste (and I have no job aboard at the present time).

However today I was talking to a school, in preparation for signing up for the BST and Lifeboatman class, and the counselor said that I could qualify for an AB Unlimited. She pointed me to the NMC Able Seaman checklist.

According to that list, an Unlimited AB only needs “1080 days of service on Oceans or Great Lakes,” which I do have [oops, edit, I don’t have that much time; probably more like 800 days]. But this doesn’t make sense to me, as a Limited AB needs to have “540 days of service on vessels 100 GRT or over, not exclusive to rivers & smaller inland lakes of the U.S.”

This seems to be corroborated by CFR 46 12-12.05, which says the following:

(1) Able Seaman—Any Waters, Unlimited. Three years service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans or the Great Lakes.
(2) Able Seaman—Limited. Eighteen months service on deck in vessels of 100 gross tons or over which operate in a service not exclusively confined to the rivers and smaller inland lakes of the United States.
(3) Able Seaman—Special. Twelve months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.
(4) Able Seaman—Special (OSV). Six months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.

But… why would an [I]Unlimited[/I] AB have “lower” requirements for tonnage (not days) than a [I]Limited[/I] AB? :confused: I feel like there must be a (logical) catch here, but the school representative said that this is correct.

What it boils down to is that I would like to take whatever classes I can in order to make myself as qualified as I can be in the MMD, considering my sea time/size of vessels. What I don’t want to do is spend money on a class and then find out I’m not actually qualified for the rating.

What I had understood before was that I could only (at most) get the RFPNW-Lookout Only, and someone I know who works on vessels (above an AB rating) said that that position was not commonly used anymore. So that throws in the additional question of which ratings are actually useful in the real world.

Okay, this is getting wordy; thank you to those who have got this far. To summarize:

  1. Are there AB variants which an OS can qualify for without having sea time on vessels of over 100 tons (I do have 1080 days of sea time, but not the tonnage).

  2. Of the classes/ratings I would qualify for currently, which ones are useful in the real world?

Thanks to anyone who can contribute. I’ve tried to do the research ahead of time so that I wouldn’t be asking an uninformed or obvious question; let’s hope I haven’t turned around and done that anyway. :cool:

Thanks again for the great forum

CD

[quote=C. Dennis;22761]Hello to the forum,

I’m new here, although I’ve been reading and searching the forum for awhile. It sure is a great resource. Thank you to all who contribute! :slight_smile:

I’ve recently received my MMD, and I’d like to start working with it. My previous experience is mostly on sailing vessels and small commercial vessels (36’), and working in the marine industry ashore.

Right now what is listed in my MMD is as follows:

Master, 50-ton, near coastal, including sail and commercial assisted towing
Ordinary Seaman
Wiper
FH

I also have my TWIC

As I understand it, I am also qualified for a Mate, 100-ton, near coastal, but I need to apply for the upgrade.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily mind working on a sailing vessel, I see myself as more of a “working boat” person. A research vessel really appeals to me, but I’m completely open to options. I’m more experienced in deck and navigation (and have more interest there) than I am in engineering. I would have no problem going offshore for extended periods of time.

What I’m trying to figure out is where I could (or should) go next in getting training and credentials to help me in getting started with a job. I have researched, called people, and etc. but I’m still a bit confused as I’m not sure everyone’s information agrees.

I think I’m pretty clear that taking Basic Safety Training and Lifeboatman would be useful, and that they are also things I have enough sea time/experience to qualify for.

Where I am confused is when it comes to AB.

I thought I understood that I wouldn’t be able to “be” an AB without at least 180 days of seatime on vessels of 100 gt and over, which I don’t have. In other words, I could take the classes, but unless I had that sea time within a year it would go to waste (and I have no job aboard at the present time).

However today I was talking to a school, in preparation for signing up for the BST and Lifeboatman class, and the counselor said that I could qualify for an AB Unlimited. She pointed me to the NMC Able Seaman checklist.

According to that list, an Unlimited AB only needs “1080 days of service on Oceans or Great Lakes,” which I do have. But this doesn’t make sense to me, as a Limited AB needs to have “540 days of service on vessels 100 GRT or over, not exclusive to rivers & smaller inland lakes of the U.S.”

This seems to be corroborated by CFR 46 12-12.05, which says the following:

(1) Able Seaman—Any Waters, Unlimited. Three years service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans or the Great Lakes.
(2) Able Seaman—Limited. Eighteen months service on deck in vessels of 100 gross tons or over which operate in a service not exclusively confined to the rivers and smaller inland lakes of the United States.
(3) Able Seaman—Special. Twelve months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.
(4) Able Seaman—Special (OSV). Six months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.

But… why would an [I]Unlimited[/I] AB have “lower” requirements for tonnage (not days) than a [I]Limited[/I] AB? :confused: I feel like there must be a (logical) catch here, but the school representative said that this is correct.

What it boils down to is that I would like to take whatever classes I can in order to make myself as qualified as I can be in the MMD, considering my sea time/size of vessels. What I don’t want to do is spend money on a class and then find out I’m not actually qualified for the rating.

What I had understood before was that I could only (at most) get the RFPNW-Lookout Only, and someone I know who works on vessels (above an AB rating) said that that position was not commonly used anymore. So that throws in the additional question of which ratings are actually useful in the real world.

Okay, this is getting wordy; thank you to those who have got this far. To summarize:

  1. Are there AB variants which an OS can qualify for without having sea time on vessels of over 100 tons (I do have 1080 days of sea time, but not the tonnage).

  2. Of the classes/ratings I would qualify for currently, which ones are useful in the real world?

Thanks to anyone who can contribute. I’ve tried to do the research ahead of time so that I wouldn’t be asking an uninformed or obvious question; let’s hope I haven’t turned around and done that anyway. :cool:

Thanks again for the great forum

CD[/quote]

First off Welcome to the forum,

I have no idea why the CFR’s state that for AB unlim, you need 1080 days on deck, oceans/GL while AB limited has a tonnage requirement…It never made sense to me either …But I have learned to just move on, there are lots of things that don’t make perfect sense…Don’t let them bog you down…

As for what you need…You will need to take BST, an AB class and ( lifeboatman PSC)

As for RFPNW, the lookout portion is easy, it’s a one day course, in most cases…The thing is it doesn’t do much for you…The rest of it is you need 180 days of navigational watch standing under supervision…This isn’t watch standing on your sailboat either…50% has to be done on vessels over 200 tons and the helm portion has to be done on vessels greater than 100 tons…It also has to meet a few other specifications as well, like a gyro…Their are 21 pages of assessments that have to be signed off by a qualified person…Here is a link that explains it all…or rather it was supposed to…lol
http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/marpers/pag/14-02.pdf

Shellback,

Thanks for the response.

I’m sorry but even after reading the letter you linked to (in addition to other reading), I’m still confused. And believe it or not, I’m usually competent :wink:

But let me see if I can clarify my confusion (lol) and make it easier for you or other readers to help me.

  1. RFPNW

a) So… if I understand correctly, an RFPNW Lookout only is not that practical in the real world, even though I could technically get one now, with a completed class. So probably not a priority?

b) And for the “full” RFPNW, a person needs the 180 days of navigational watchstanding (which I understand I don’t technically have because sailboat watchstanding is not the same thing). So okay, it sounds like it’s not logical for me to go for that in a class, since there’s a good chance I would not get that qualifying watchstanding within the one year limit. This sounds like something to complete [I]after[/I] I’ve been working aboard for a while.

  1. BST
    This sounds like a worthy pursuit for me now.

  2. Lifeboatman
    This sounds worthwhile as well.

Now, do the BST and Lifeboatman together gain me an STCW-95 certification (or credential or etc.)?

Also, I’m still not clear on the AB rating. If I have the 1080 days, can I then take a class and get an AB Unlimited? Or does the lack of ability to get the RFPNW (full version) keep me from realizing that?

I would [I]really[/I] like to use my MMD and get to work aboard ship, and since I realize that things are tight right now, I want to be as officially qualified as I can be. I’m unemployed at the moment, so one thing I can do is take any classes that make reasonable sense.

But after months of trying to figure this out, and never quite grasping it (or thinking I do but then someone points out another angle), I’m getting a bit frustrated. :confused:

I did finally get through the process of getting the Master’s License, which was no mean feat! :eek: Note to self: Don’t apply just as the RECs are switching over to the NMC in WV :rolleyes:

Thank you for your time,

CD

[quote=C. Dennis;22771]Shellback,

Thanks for the response.

I’m sorry but even after reading the letter you linked to (in addition to other reading), I’m still confused. And believe it or not, I’m usually competent :wink:

Confused? then you have come to the right place…This is where we try to sort it all out…

But let me see if I can clarify my confusion (lol) and make it easier for you or other readers to help me.

  1. RFPNW

a) So… if I understand correctly, an RFPNW Lookout only is not that practical in the real world, even though I could technically get one now, with a completed class. So probably not a priority?

In my opinion, it’s a waste of money…I can say this as I paid for the class and employers could care less…You can get the same thing once you get on a ship and work your way up…

b) And for the “full” RFPNW, a person needs the 180 days of navigational watchstanding (which I understand I don’t technically have because sailboat watchstanding is not the same thing). So okay, it sounds like it’s not logical for me to go for that in a class, since there’s a good chance I would not get that qualifying watchstanding within the one year limit. This sounds like something to complete [I]after[/I] I’ve been working aboard for a while.

you have a year to submit the certificate to the NMC…I submitted mine a tad late as I still didn’t have all of the watch standing completed…Also just so you are clear, in that policy letter I linked,it says the CG considers a day of watch standing, as 2, four hour watches…So technically,if you end up on a boat as a deck hand you may only get 1 watch a day, which would make this endorsement even tougher to get…Something to keep in mind…

  1. BST
    This sounds like a worthy pursuit for me now.

This is your next step…period

  1. Lifeboatman
    This sounds worthwhile as well.

To get an AB you will need this class…

Now, do the BST and Lifeboatman together gain me an STCW-95 certification (or credential or etc.)?

You need them both, on one of the pages in your MMC it will say Lifeboatman,wiper,able seaman-anywaters,unlimited,stewards dept(FH) Thats word for word, how mine reads…BST is not listed as it’s implied that you have it, as it’s a requirement to get the AB…

Also, I’m still not clear on the AB rating. If I have the 1080 days, can I then take a class and get an AB Unlimited? Or does the lack of ability to get the RFPNW (full version) keep me from realizing that?

No, the RFPNW is an endorsement…With you current sea time and the addition of those other classes,you will have an MMC listing you as AB unlimited…with an endorsement as Lifeboatman

I would [I]really[/I] like to use my MMD and get to work aboard ship, and since I realize that things are tight right now, I want to be as officially qualified as I can be. I’m unemployed at the moment, so one thing I can do is take any classes that make reasonable sense.

But after months of trying to figure this out, and never quite grasping it (or thinking I do but then someone points out another angle), I’m getting a bit frustrated. :confused:

I did finally get through the process of getting the Master’s License, which was no mean feat! :eek: Note to self: Don’t apply just as the RECs are switching over to the NMC in WV :rolleyes:

Thank you for your time,

CD[/quote]

Dennis, there are some really good threads in here on the RFPNW subject…My advice is to read that policy letter several times and find some of the old threads…

You may have to work as an OS or deckhand for awhile, but coming from small vessels, like I did, it’s a good thing…Gives you time to learn the things that an AB needs to know…

CD Check your private email

Thanks again to both of you. It’s becoming a bit more clear.

I will forge ahead with the BST and Lifeboatman.

One more question though (they [I]are[/I] getting more specific :)): I probably don’t have 1080 days of sea time right now (will have to calculate, but I’m thinking I have around 800 days). So in that case, what happens after I take the BST and Lifeboatman, since I won’t “automatically” get the AB Unlimited until I do have the 1080 days (which will be some months down the line).

I understand it’s still useful, but does it just kind of hang there until I get the additional sea time? Does it show up on my MMD even sans AB?

I have been doing quite a bit of reading on the forum, but it seems like usually people posting either have higher ratings (3rd Mate or etc.) or (maybe?) less sea time (but their sea time is generally on larger vessels). I have gleaned some good information, but I’m not always able to apply it to my exact situation, so that’s why I’m posting.

Sure am glad this forum is here! It was very helpful to me as I was going through the process to get the Masters license, as there were a few glitches along the way.

CD

If you don’t have the 1080 days on deck, then you would qualify for AB Special…I believe it reads 360 days on deck…After you acquire the rest of the sea time, you can then move up to the unlimited rating…

" You need them both, on one of the pages in your MMC it will say Lifeboatman,wiper,able seaman-anywaters,unlimited,stewards dept(FH) Thats word for word, how mine reads…BST is not listed as it’s implied that you have it, as it’s a requirement to get the AB…"

This is not completely correct. You do not need the BST to get an AB but you will need it to get STCW. No matter what, you will eventually need to get it and it will be good for 5 years so my advice is to go ahead and take the course.

[quote=Azimuth;22815]" You need them both, on one of the pages in your MMC it will say Lifeboatman,wiper,able seaman-anywaters,unlimited,stewards dept(FH) Thats word for word, how mine reads…BST is not listed as it’s implied that you have it, as it’s a requirement to get the AB…"

This is not completely correct. You do not need the BST to get an AB but you will need it to get STCW. No matter what, you will eventually need to get it and it will be good for 5 years so my advice is to go ahead and take the course.[/quote]

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=fa922df37e32cb41bae14abe6eb6e817&rgn=div5&view=text&node=46:1.0.1.2.12&idno=46#46:1.0.1.2.12.4

Thank you Azmuth, for the correction…CD ,is in a similar situation as I was in and I knew he/she would need it for offshore work…

This is great information, and exactly what I need. Now I have a better idea how to proceed. Thanks!

(And of course more comments are welcome - I’m not meaning to “close” the thread if others have something they’d like to add.)

CD

PS: Actually, now I’ve come up with two new questions, but they are getting very specific, which just goes to show how useful this thread has been:

  1. On the topic of taking the AB now (or soon):
    Let’s say I take the BST and Lifeboat [I]and[/I] AB classes now. Regarding the AB, I understand that the class is “good for” one year. So say I take the class and qualify for my AB Special now, but then it is 16 months before I have enough sea time to qualify for the AB Unlimited. Do I then have to take another AB class since my year is up? Or does the one class keep on counting towards any future AB upgrade, even if it has been more than a year (assuming I applied for, and received, the initial AB Special endorsement within the first year).

  2. On the choice of classes if I am only going to take two now, and the third later:
    I’m understanding that BST would be the first logical choice. But then if I were going to take one more class now, and the third one at some later date, would it be more useful for the other “now” class to be Lifeboat or AB?

Thanks again,
CD

[QUOTE=C. Dennis;22819]This is great information, and exactly what I need. Now I have a better idea how to proceed. Thanks!

(And of course more comments are welcome - I’m not meaning to “close” the thread if others have something they’d like to add.)

CD

PS: Actually, now I’ve come up with two new questions, but they are getting very specific, which just goes to show how useful this thread has been:

  1. On the topic of taking the AB now (or soon):
    Let’s say I take the BST and Lifeboat [I]and[/I] AB classes now. Regarding the AB, I understand that the class is “good for” one year. So say I take the class and qualify for my AB Special now, but then it is 16 months before I have enough sea time to qualify for the AB Unlimited. Do I then have to take another AB class since my year is up? Or does the one class keep on counting towards any future AB upgrade, even if it has been more than a year (assuming I applied for, and received, the initial AB Special endorsement within the first year).

  2. On the choice of classes if I am only going to take two now, and the third later:
    I’m understanding that BST would be the first logical choice. But then if I were going to take one more class now, and the third one at some later date, would it be more useful for the other “now” class to be Lifeboat or AB?

Thanks again,
CD[/QUOTE]

Howdy Mr. Dennis,

  1. Nope, no retesting, no more classes, etc. You can upgrade your AB simply by fulfilling the sea service requirements and paying Uncle Sam some of your hard earned money for the new application.

  2. Hmmm, if you can only take two now, I would take BST and AB, provided I knew for sure that I would have enough sea service for AB Special in at least a year. If not, then I would take BST and Advanced Firefighting, but I’m a total fire geek and I’d hope I could get a school to cut me a deal if I took AB and Lifeboatman (PSC) back to back.

By the way, on behalf of the entire forum, thanks for actually doing research before your original post, asking closed-ended questions, and then thanking folks for helping you out. Wish more sailors had your situational awareness! Welcome aboard!!

Hi Fran,

Thank you for the welcome and for the information. Thanks to you and everyone else who has responded, the snow in the ball is slowly settling, and the scene is becoming much clearer :slight_smile:

I do have enough time for the AB special already, so that looks like it’s a logical go and I will plan to take the class.


Back on the topic of the Unlimited AB, I think perhaps I have detected the (or a) “catch,” but I’m not sure. I notice that although it does not specify a tonnage, it does say “Three years service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans or the Great Lakes.”

I do not have a definition of “oceans” to hand, but I wonder, does that disallow inland and/or near coastal time? In other words, would all 1080 days have to be either in the Great Lakes or more than 200 miles offshore? That would make it a whole 'nother ball game.

In comparison, the AB Limited says “Eighteen months service on deck in vessels … which operate in a service not exclusively confined to the rivers and smaller inland lakes of the United States.”

The latter sounds like it leaves the door open to counting (some) inland and also near coastal time.

The AB Special says "Twelve months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes.

That sounds pretty open in terms of where the time is earned.

Or am I reading too much into the use of the word “oceans”? It’s not critical to me either way right now as, when I thought about it again, I realized that I probably only have 800-some days of sea time. I’m just curious.

By the way, I guess I should mention that I’m female. I didn’t want to come in making a point of gender one way or the other, but on the other hand it feels a little dishonest to just go not saying anything when people are calling me “Mr.” :cool: :smiley:

CD

[quote=C. Dennis;22969]
By the way, I guess I should mention that I’m female. I didn’t want to come in making a point of gender one way or the other, but on the other hand it feels a little dishonest to just go not saying anything when people are calling me “Mr.” :cool: :smiley:

CD[/quote]

:eek: Not really.

It truly makes no difference to most, and I would hope all of us. But it may be part of the reason why your posts were so coherent and directed from the beginning.

Welcome again.

[QUOTE=CaptAndrew;22987]:eek: Not really.

It truly makes no difference to most, and I would hope all of us. But it may be part of the reason why your posts were so coherent and directed from the beginning.

Welcome again.[/QUOTE]

Coherent and directed, ya no kidding…

As far as gender goes, we don’t really care, we take everybody…There is a rumored cross dresser amongst us and a guy who puts his finger through his nose…Lets see another forum top that!:smiley:

Thanks all! (Shellback: :D)

I’m traveling this week and next, which I’m mentioning so it doesn’t seem like I popped in, started one thread, and then left. This forum has a lot to offer – even when I just pop in for a minute, there’s always something that makes me want to start taking notes.

I’ve signed up for the BST and Lifeboat classes between now and March. Will take the AB as soon as I can swing it. I’m working a temporary job for my former employer January through April, so while I’ll keep looking through that time period, I expect to really get cracking in May. I hope the license additions go through a bit faster than getting the initial one did.

Thanks again for the welcome :slight_smile:

CD

Hello Ms. CD, welcome! Looks like you still had a few unanswered questions.

I do not have a definition of “oceans” to hand, but I wonder, does that disallow inland and/or near coastal time? In other words, would all 1080 days have to be either in the Great Lakes or more than 200 miles offshore? That would make it a whole 'nother ball game.

Yes, for an AB Unlimited, all 1080 days needs to be on vessels that operate on oceans. Of course, the USCG doesn’t look at your sea time and subtract days that you were entering/leaving near coastal waters while on an ocean voyage. All of the days on a Seattle to Singapore trip is an ocean voyage.
Beyond that, I haven’t dug into the Marine Safety Manual to double check this, but I am not aware of any loopholes here. Shellback, have you seen anything?

In comparison, the AB Limited says "Eighteen months service on deck in vessels … which operate in a service not exclusively confined to the rivers and smaller inland lakes of the United States."
The latter sounds like it leaves the door open to counting (some) inland and also near coastal time.

You are correct. If the vessel is over 100 tons and isn’t [I]exclusively confined[/I] to a river or inland lake, you can use that time towards an AB Limited. For example, I sailed on a vessel that made port calls on the Columbia River, but we spent most of our time near coastal. That time would still count towards AB-Limited.

It’s not critical to me either way right now as, when I thought about it again, I realized that I probably only have 800-some days of sea time.

You can get your AB Special now and then upgrade (without testing) as you accumulate more seatime. An AB Special is a damn fine credential, and most unlimited vessels that are required to carry ABs don’t have to carry 100% Unlimited ABs. Does that make sense? Before I upgraded, I sailed on an unlimited tonnage ship on ocean routes as an AB while holding an AB-Limited.

  • Jill

[quote=danzante;23198]Hello Ms. CD, welcome! Looks like you still had a few unanswered questions.

Yes, for an AB Unlimited, all 1080 days needs to be on vessels that operate on oceans. Of course, the USCG doesn’t look at your sea time and subtract days that you were entering/leaving near coastal waters while on an ocean voyage. All of the days on a Seattle to Singapore trip is an ocean voyage.
Beyond that, I haven’t dug into the Marine Safety Manual to double check this, but I am not aware of any loopholes here. Shellback, have you seen anything?

You are correct. If the vessel is over 100 tons and isn’t [I]exclusively confined[/I] to a river or inland lake, you can use that time towards an AB Limited. For example, I sailed on a vessel that made port calls on the Columbia River, but we spent most of our time near coastal. That time would still count towards AB-Limited.

You can get your AB Special now and then upgrade (without testing) as you accumulate more seatime. An AB Special is a damn fine credential, and most unlimited vessels that are required to carry ABs don’t have to carry 100% Unlimited ABs. Does that make sense? Before I upgraded, I sailed on an unlimited tonnage ship on ocean routes as an AB while holding an AB-Limited.

  • Jill[/quote]

I took a quick glance and nothing really stood out…The link for the MSM is below and it’s worth getting familar with it as most of you already know…CD, chapter 16 will be of interest to you…
http://www.uscg.mil/directives/cim/16000-16999/CIM_16000_8B.pdf

Thank you Ms. CD for a wonderful question, and all the great responses and information it elicited. I had the very same question, but was unable to put it as eloquently as you did.

I wish you well in your pursuits, and wish to extend “thanks” to all of the folks who provided great information.

here is another way to get ab unlimited as i did, sit for your 100-ton master license, this will get you ab unlimited without the 1080 days, BUT you still have to do your RFPNW to be an ab in international waters, you do not ned to be an AB Unlimited to work on an unlimited tonnage vessel, only an AB

WHEN YOU PUT IN FOR YOUR AB PUT IN FOR YOUR AB UNLIMITED, let NMC tell you if you are qualified or not for the unlimited

[QUOTE=danzante;23198]…An AB Special is a damn fine credential…[/QUOTE]

I second this…