Lost my Bowditch

I lost it. I went into my amazon account and could not find the order. Is this the correct one that will be in the rec centers?


Fun fact, the entirety of the Bowditch is public record, which can be found digitally here.

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Yes, but if you’re studying for the exams you want what’s in the exam room, not the modern version.


This is true, but somebody could mention to the OP that the version in the exam room is on the Lapware downloads.

Seems like that’s part of the filtering process though.

What’s the difference between what is in the exam rooms and what’s online? I would imagine that they are the same? No need to throw good money after bad if the whole thing is online.

I disagree. It’s better to have the physical copy when going through practice exams.


If you have a printer, you can have the physical copy in short order. Hell, it may be cheaper to go to kinkos to make your own printed version of it.

They aren’t. That’s why there are reprints of the 1981 Volume 2.

Realistically, what has substantively changed over the years? Why would the RECs not keep the latest edition around during the examinations?

Only 1981 volume 2 is allowed in the exam room. The 1998 and 2002 editions were one combined volume, which includes information not allowed in the exam room. The new edition went back to two volumes but may not organize the information in the same way and so the new volume 2 may have information in it that isn’t allowed in the exam room.

Why are the tide and current tables from the mid 1980’s?

You want the green small Bowditch that matches exactly what’s in the exam room. You will remember exactly where each table and each section that you used during your studying are, and your fingers will find those pages easily and quickly for each question.

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Actually there’s a black one, same version, but 8.5x11 size so you get 2 pages on 1. It lies flat when you open it and makes life a lot easier than the small green ones. I don’t know if they print it anymore though.

Because all the tide questions would have to be re-written, same for the Nautical Almanac.

When I was at NMC, I had someone on my staff who had a brilliant idea. Since the Government Printing Office prints those old publications only for Coast Guard use, we had them print a copy of the Nautical Almanac with a blue cover and no date. Inside it was still the 1981 almanac bit it wasn’t obvious. Instant updating of the exams. I gave the guy a performance award.

My successors at the NMC went back to the orange copies with “1981” on the cover.

That sounds like the 2002 edition.

I am equal parts surprised and unsurprised that this hasn’t been taken care of by the over bloated federal bureaucracy.

But to the OPs point, for studying, the most recent version should suffice. Again, no need to throw good money after bad.

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I disagree. When you’re studying, ie taking practice exams, you want exactly what’s available in the exam room.


The glossary in Bowditch 81’ gives you very little to pass the exam. If the newer version of Bowditch 81’ or Pub 9 was in the exam room it would give us most of the answers.