DDE 4000 to Unlimited

So I was having a conversation with another eningeer and he mentioned that if you test for the DDE 4,000 and pass, if you upgrade to the unlimited within a year than you only have to test the electrical by itself and not have to test each module again. Is this something anyone has done or heard of? Thanks!

Never heard of that one.

When i went 4k to unlimited a few years ago, i did it as soon as i had the required time. Full exam for me.

That was the old examinations, and you have it backwards. If you applied for 3rd AE and DDE on the same application and tested at the same time, there was no additional test for DDE.

I tested for 3A/E steam and motor and DDE unlimited at the same time in 2015, and had to take separate exams for each license. It made for a long week.

You shouldn’t have had to. You were testing under the old rules and and old exams. The policy I noted above was applicable

Same thing for me, except no steam. It might have been policy but I don’t think anyone was aware of it back then. IIRC it was 5 modules 3A/E 4 DDE. We should get bonuses.

IMO, I hope you & all other USCG licensed engineers aspire to become a type of engineer who can pass a DDE exam any day of the week. You shouldn’t sweat taking the Unlimited DDE exam which is pretty much the 4000hp exam a year later. I took the 4000hp exam when I was 21 years old in '98, was studying for the DDE Unlimited a few months later & passed it when I had the required seatime. All that studying & test taking helped me immensely. The last test I studied for was for 1A/E & each time it was easier than the last. Don’t stress over DDE tests, or at least don’t tell anyone you are. Hopefully the material on those tests will be a cake walk for you soon enough if you continue studying. BTW, I get the USCG Proceedings Magazine & one of my favorite parts is the USCG licenses question section. I mostly pass those questions because of my years of studying & engineer reasoning skills developed with all those silly tests. Don’t stop studying after passing a simple DDE 4000 test.


When did the DDE license originate? I am old enough that my unlimited 3AE steam and motor was sufficient to sail chief on tugs as long as the company would hire me. Of course I did have to prove myself. . . . In reality, I think that it is a good thing, though.

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One of the things that KP did (and may still do) was to have most classes test in the USCG multiple choice type question format. It goes miles in giving an advantage when taking a license exam.

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I tested for 3rd A/E Unlimited & DDE Any horsepower in 2018 and it was 9 tests if i remember correctly.To me it just seemed like i was retaking the tests i previously took with a few different questions.

Thanks for the reply guys.

DDE unlimited or 3AE unlimited?

He was talking about going dde 4k to dde unlimited within a year.

That was what I thought but a number of replies sounded like they were replying to going from DDE to 3AE.

Yeah not sure why it was going in that direction.
Example of my question. If I pass my 4k in January and then want to upgrade to Unlimited 6mo later, do I have to take the whole test over again or JUST the electrical? The 4k doesn’t have electrical but unlimited does. Same test just with electrical.

The dde 4000 is only 3 modules 50 questions each.
Dde unlimited is 4 modules 70 questions each. I think the rationale is, since the dde unlimited is unlimited hp and an oceans route, more questions with a sole electricity module.

Mr Cavo mentioned in the past that a 3rd assistant could get a dde unlimited w/no further testing, unless im mistaken.

Q3Su5 think something similair to this happened during the course of discussion.

What would you say is the better route? I don’t ever plan on sailing oceans. Not my cup of tea. Been harbour for 8 years, do near coastal sailing quite a bit but no “ocean” sailing.

If you have the time to test for dde unlimited, do it.
If you have a raise pending getting dde 4000, do that first.
Even though you have no desire to go offshore, having the bigger license can make the difference between getting hired and not. Some companies want more not less even for harbor work. Crowley would be a good example of that. Dde unlimited minimum to chief one of their ship assist boats.

My thoughts too. I knew some guys who sailed ATB’s with a 4k with Kirby that were getting $700 a day starting. Tried to do some research with Crowley but couldn’t get any reliable info. I was seeing $800 a day with unlimited on ATB. No idea for ship assist though.