Ft. Lauderdale, FL - ( Chief Mate / Master Course Info )

Myself and Anchorman are going to be in advanced ship handling and RTM Star Center starting next Monday for 10 days. Any must see places or restaurants to go to? Any must do activities while there? Have any of you taken the class there and if so what should I expect?


Here is a comprehensive guide for your needs Capt.Lee.

LOL!! That was just wrong, but you got it about right…you hit the nail on the head, or would that be the nail with the nail.LOL!!

Sorry guys, I deleted (partly accidental) the anonymous guest link anchorman is referring to.

Star Center is a good place for training, I always run into a few friendly faces there. Not much in the way of… well anything nearby so you’ll have to head into Lauderdale. Plenty to do there. Otherwise you can head south to miami which is about 40 minutes away.

Say hello to Dave Greenhouse for me, if he’s still instructing the class.

We just got word that the STAR Center is closing its doors to non-Union members come Jan 1st. You’ll have to sign up for classes at MPT ( http://www.mptusa.com/ ) if you want to take that future no-cost FL winter vacation.


I left AMO a few years and never looked back. The STAR center is a quality school but the rest of the Union is a total joke and hurts all U.S. mariners in the wallet.


Yes AMO is terrible but there have been changes made since the Federal Indictments. Can any union guys fill us in on the details since the union leaders were arrested?

CMJeff, I agree that StarCenter is making it more difficult for non-union students, but they’re not closing the doors.The rules have changed; If you sign up for a class, it can’t be confirmed until 2 weeks prior to class start. If the class fills up early (with AMO members), the standby list will be used as a means to create a new class (night class), or something similar. I questioned this new rule and have been added to my last two classes after the first of the year. According to the school, I have nothing to worry about. I have no reason to doubt them.

http://www.mptusa.com/ doesn’t seem to be an option as they’re not approved for CM/Master classes according to the USCG website. Mitags is the only other viable option.

I have many friends who are AMO members and I think part of the motivation for the changes is the union’s desire to step-up to the plate on member issues. One issue was that dues-paying members were being denied classes and some had the perception that, since active members take classes free of charge, the school was catering to non-members in order to make more money… at the expense of the membership.

It is too bad that their are so few options for future C/M’s. It is also very difficult for those of us based on the West coast to get training since [PMI (seattle based training affiliate of [URL=http://gcaptain.com/maritime/forum/bridgedeck.org" title="MM&P Union]MM&P Union) stopped offering C/M upgrade courses early last year.

Anchorman, their are other options for these classes. MEBA’s [URL=http://www.mebaschool.org/" title=“Maritime training School]Calhoon Engineering School has just started offering the Advanced upgrade classes. You can also take individual classes at various schools. The ECDIS course can be taken almost anywhere (just makes sure it’s within a year of VPEN), you can easily get a waiver for the Celestial class and you could have done the one-week Advanced Shiphandling class at [URL=http://www.maritime.edu/l2.cfm?page=127” title=“Shiphandling]Mass Maritime Academy rather than the [URL=http://www.amo-union.org/STAR/Dania/Dania.htm” title="Maritime Training]STAR center.

You can actually save a lot of time by picking and choosing your training schools as sometimes the same course is shorter at one school than another. The full list of options is [URL=http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/marpers/examques/stcw-master.pdf" title=“Chief Mate - Master Upgrade Course List]HERE](http://mates.org/” title="Pacific Maritime Institute).

I was in the first upgrade class ever offered and have been through the ringer on this so feel free to ask any questions about the upgrade process. I might even try to write an upgrade guide for the blog…

I’m with John, you guys screwed up big! The manned model class at Mass is one of the best classes I’ve taken and it’s only 1 week vs 2 at STAR. The only draw back, you sure look like a fool sitting in those boats! Maybe it’s too much for a macho guy like Lee to take :wink:

[img]http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39476000/jpg/_39476514_tanker3_203.jpg" border=“0” alt=“Manned Models” width=“203” height=“300” />

Here’s the story the BBC did on the class:

[Model training for tanker captains ](http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/dorset/3210332.stm" title="Manned Model Shiphandling Classes)

Actually, I screwed up big by not testing before STCW.

The models might have been fun with a flask of brandy and an ipod. I really think the industry has lost its mind. If the FAA had anything like MERPAC, airline pilots would be trained in Cessnas and assessed by the stewardess.


I didn’t put my statement into context. There are several options for individual classes, but if you’re paying your own way (including room and board). The only REAL option is the one where discounts are available (ex. taking all classes with either Mitags or AMO)

I understand that. I had most of my classes paid for but still lost a ton of money by not doing any side jobs. I would not have minded the classes so much if I actually learned anything but most of them were useless. Here’s my ratings of each class:

Shiphandling (mass): A

Power Managment (STAR) B+

Weather (PMI) B- > good stuff but less fun than watching paint dry

Celestial Navigation (yes I’m one of the idiots who fell for taking this - STAR) C+ > painful but excellent instruction

Voyage Planning (PMI) C

Stability (MITAGS) C > painful and poorly taught but important

EDCIS (somewhere in Newport, RI) C > fun but mostly useless

Cargo Ops (STAR) D- > painful but of some use

Legal ops (I’m getting the name wrong but I took it at STAR) F > useless and painfull

Watchkeeping (MITAGS) F > you’re comment on the ipod and ___ are all that got me through this one

Overall experience = D+

DS- I can only speculate what those initials stand for, but use your imagination. I wouldn’t say we screwed up by taking the ship handling class at RTM. We were both aware of the 1 week course, but you get a significant discount by doing all the classes at RTM. When I decided to take my STCW classes at RTM I was unaware of a preference to Union members vs commercial mariners. Anchorman is right though. This is all out of pocket for us. The class, the lodging, transportation, meals, time off. The total cost incurred will be close to 30,000 conservatively. I am still unsure why I am even doing it. I think I am doing the right thing. I like to think I am doing it to open doors or have other options in the future. Maybe I am doing it because I want to be proficient in my career. Maybe I am doing it so someone says hey there’s Lee, he’s a Master Mariner. I do like how that sounds. Maybe I am a fool and wasting my time, because I am not going anywhere right now, nor could I if I wanted. To switch over to ships from where I am at would cut my W-2’s in half immediately. One thing for sure is I made a committment in my mind to do this and my family made a committment to support me in this. It is not an easy thing to do especially when you do not work even time and normally only have 2 weeks home at a time.

Thanks for the posts, but I was looking for something more along the lines, like eat at Joe’s they have the best wings in south Florida.


LOL, I took that watchstanding class at MITAGS. Wanted to gouge my eyeballs out with the dividers. The cargo class wasn’t much better. Did any of you have Lee Chesnau for Adv. Meteo? “IT"S ALL ABOUT THE 500 MILLIBAR!!!”


Don’t see where the 5-day shiphandling Mass.Maritime course meets STCW requirements for chief mate.

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“Don’t see where the 5-day shiphandling Mass.Maritime course meets STCW requirements for chief mate.” not sure myself but I do know it has been accepted as such by numerous REC’s.

What does DS stand for? I bet you’d like to know.

There are many things wrong with the new system, the time and monetary expenses are first on my list too. When a ship driver needs to spend more time training than a doctor there is something wrong.

BTW the clams at Joe’s are much better than the chicken wings :wink:


Everyone I’ve talked to had Lee Chesnau for advanced weather… that
guy must really get around! BTW did he ever get his book published?