Bowditch for USCG Exams

The resale value of that 1981 Bowditch you’ve been hoarding may have just plummeted.


Aw man now all of those cheat codes won’t work anymore!!


How is it difficult to obtain?

So why not keep the old ones in the room and just add the 2019 version

Print on Demand.

So…not very hard.

Maybe not, but what year is the Bowditch you might use on the job? Probably some time after the year you were born. Maybe it isn’t a good look to be handing a 21 year old applicant a book that was published 20 years before they were born and trying to argue it’s still relevant.

NMC reviewed their questions and any questions that needed the 1981 version and could not be answered with 2019 were retired. So maybe a 3 year old pub is better than one 41 years old.

Also, maybe the Fed govt paying a private vendor for an outdated government document might be a bad look…[paging John Stossel…]

So make me an offer for the 1981 edition I bought as a cadet. Any offer over 10 cents will be considered. A stamp from my academy issued ID stamp is an added bonus (added bonus, it’s the same as my gCap ID…) That alone adds 4 or 5 cents value…


11 cents.

I’ll bump up to a quarter if you gift wrap it, nicely.

A whole Kennedy $0.50 piece. But only if you ship it.

How much with an autograph?

My understanding is that the RECs have removed the old 1981 versions and have now only the 2019 Volume II available as a reference in the test room.

I have a test coming up and I’m trying to get my head around what this means. One particular question is about the sailings. It appears that the chapter on sailings has moved from Volume II to Volume I in the 2019 version. Is this correct and how do you cope with remembering all the equations if so?

Never mind. It looks like the sailing equations are also included in Chapter 4 of V2.

I wonder if they did that on purpose for CG exams?

Sailing are there but for example Mercator sailing . There’s not example problem like in the 81 bowditch

I have to say, it boggles my mind that they only allow Volume II. I mean I’ve never been anywhere else except an REC where V2 was available for reference but not V1.

I’m thinking it may have been a cost cutting reason back in the day. The old V2 was printed in 1981 while its partner V1 was released in 1984. Maybe CG just didn’t want to pay for 2 volumes?

I mean I understand that a competent officer won’t necessarily need to refer back to anything in V1 on a regular basis. But how much advantage on the test would you get by having both volumes for reference. It isn’t like you can walk into the REC cold and use Bowditch to teach yourself piloting or celnav during the 3.5 hour blocks.

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It’s not there as a reference. It’s there for the tables.

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The tests are written to approximate the questions that a navigator may reasonably need to solve in the course of his work. The tables were the method that this was accomplished prior to the advent of computers. However, it can reasonably be assumed that if the tables of V2 are available in the chart room of a ship, then V1 would also be available.

Therefore, if the test is structured to approximate the way a navigator goes about his work to solve problems aboard a ship, it only makes sense when supplying V2 as a reference, that also supplying V1 would make the test more realistic.

And furthermore, as technologies have evolved on the bridge, the current CG tests are becoming less and less linked to knowledge that a navigator needs to know or any competencies required to actually navigate. The test preparation has become only a means to pass the test itself, and many of the skills will serve no purpose at all to the modern navigator.

Some things will inevitably need to change. Why are officers still expected to solve tide and current problems using tables from 1983 when NOS stopped printing these tables in 2020? What is CG going to do about paper charting now that paper charts are going to be completely phased out in the next few years?

Yes, the RECs can continue to print old training charts from the 1990s or could modernize them by printing paper copies of vector charts. But what is the point of testing someone in this manner when that is not how anyone actually navigates today?

It’s my understanding that they’re going to restart issuing paper charts but using a different data system than currently. I’m surprised they are phasing out the old ones before launching the new ones though.