Flashing Light or Visual Signaling Certification

What are the currently easiest, fastest and cheapest schools for Flashing Light Certification. Lots of schools are approved for Flashing Light or Visual Signaling, but it seems that very few schools are actually offering it these days. I’d like to minimize the amount of time and money that I have to waste on this archaic and useless requirement.

MITAGS and PMI offer this assessment on-demand and the cost $155. You’ll need to have Morse code memorized before coming in and we recommend that you study with a flashing light software prior to coming in.

I’m unaware of any school offering an actual class.

What’s it required for anymore? I haven’t taken it for my last 2 upgrades.

Tug’s Took mine last December at Chesapeake Maritime Training in Hayes Va. ( just north of Yorktown ) , $ 100 flat fee. down load a PDF copy of Pub 102 , study meanings of international flags. like; Yankee = dragging anchor ect.
There is a thing on youtube for flashing light , I think it is 12 words a min . Not able to access it at the present time. Will try and find it later. Assessment is not that bad with CMTI . Email me for further info if you want.

It is now only a one time requirement.

First STCW endorsement as Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch. One-time only. The course can now be just “SOS” and single letters, 4 wpm.

James D. Cavo
U.S. Coast Guard
Mariner Credentialing Program
Policy Division (CG-MMC-2)


$100-$155 for an “SOS” test? CQD!

1 Like

When I did it a few years ago I bought a study cd from hawsepipe.net
I then took the test at the maritime institute in san diego. Out the door it ran me around $200 with the cd.
It definately is an archaic requirement…Useless? Not so sure about that. I said it before I’ll say it again, you never know when you may have to warn your convoy of a u-boat in the area or seek medical advice from the nearest MSO for the chief’s flaring hemorrhoids.

1 Like

The last time I did it was during the instructors lunch break at MITAGS. I took the whole exam in ~20 minutes and it cost $150. That’s complete fucking bullshit for them just giving the exam. Let people test at the rec for a $45 exam fee.

The REC would have to set up a computer with a blinking light then. That would be added cost at the expense of the mariner.

He’ll, they could use the MITAGS software on a laptop. Big deal.

Or they could limit how much the schools can charge for a 30 minute test. I can’t imagine how is with $300 per hour per person to administer this exam. At least now it’s only a one time requirement…

1 Like

Or just remove the requirement all together…if we’re down to using flags for medical advice we’ve got much bigger problems.


Haha. So true.

But seriously, it’s an STCW requirement so they can’t get rid of it completely. Why not make the test an integral part of one of the required classes?

1 Like

Yea it’d only take up like 10 minutes of the class…

I did it at sea school in 20 min, just walked in and they did it with a half ass flashlight that had dead batteries. 150 bucks I think.

STCW Code Section A-II/1 -
Requirement for Visual signalling:

[quote]Ability to use the International Code of Signals.
Ability to transmit and receive, by Morse light, distress signal SOS as specified in Annex IV of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended, and appendix 1 of the International Code of Signals, and visual signalling of single-letter signals as also specified in the International Code of Signals.[/quote]

Shouldn’t take much to learn how to send and receive S… O— S… by Morse Code.

The “International Code of Signals” should be posted on the bridge of any vessel over 500 GT in international trade.

The test, at least used to, involve receiving light signals then using the international coffee of signals to translate what you just received. That was more involved than just “sending and receiving SOS”, but thanks for your condescending input.

It was changed, see my post above. It now matches the cited STCW Code Table A–II/1 standard. Only “SOS” and single letters need be sent by flashing light. The ability to use the International Code of Signals has to be included in the course, but it does not have to be assessed by receiving coded groups by flashing light. It would be acceptable to ask students to look up signals on a written exam. See also the entry for “Visual Communications” in Enclosure 3 to NVIC 3-14.

These are the minimum standards for Coast Guard approval of a course. It is possible that some schools continue to offer the course in the old format, either because they have decided to exceed the minimum standard, ort because they are unaware that they can change the course to the new standard. Courses in the older format are also acceptable.

1 Like

Little known #maritimefact Norwegians invented flashing lights. They are the only ones properly trained to use state of the art lights that flash.

1 Like