I have been trying to chart out a path to OICNW endorsement and am having a devil of a time trying to figure out the best courses to take to meet all of the statutory requirements from 46 CFR 11.309(a)(4) as well as meeting the requirements of NVIC 12-14 (CH-1). Finding courses that meet the CFR requirements are fairly easy, as they all state clearly whether or not they do. The NVICs on the other hand are far more nebulous.
For instance, take the requirement for 46 CFR 11.309(a)(4)(xiii) - Meteorology. I am currently stationed outside Washington DC, and have been looking at courses in both the Norfolk and Baltimore areas. According to the USCG NMC 894 page approved courses PDF there are several schools to choose from in my area, including:
MITAGS-Pacific Maritime Institute (MITPMI)
Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship (SHLSOS)
Chesapeake Marine Training Institute (CMTI)
Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy (MAMA)
The PDF states that all these courses meet the requirements for the CFR and that MAMA and SHLSOS satisfy NVICs 1.9, 1.10, and 1.11. CMTI and MITPMI only meet NVICs 1.9.A, 1.9.B, 1.10.A, 1.10.B, 1.10.C, 1.10.D, 1.10.E, 1.10.F, and 1.10.G.
But it gets worse. If you go to CMTI’s website they state that their course only meets NVICs 1.9.A, 1.9.B, 1.10.A, 1.10.B, and 1.10.C. According to MAMA their course only meets 1.9, 1.9.B and 1.10.
CMTI’s course is 4 days and $800. MAMA’s course is 5 days and $875. I don’t care about $75 but if I can save a day’s leave I want to do so - I’m doing this program on top of my regular duties. But neither of these courses claim that they meet NVIC 1.11. I am viewing the NVICs like a Navy Personnel Qualification Standard (PQS) - every line item needs a signature or course substitution. How am I supposed to meet NVIC 1.11? I’m not sailing on a STCW ship where there are Qualified Assessors available.
Ultimately, the meteorology course is small potatoes. I picked it as an example because it was one of the more straightforward ones. Look at the watchstanding requirement - there are course offerings from 5 days to 15, some that bundle BRM and leadership and some that don’t, and they all are listed on the USCG PDF as meeting different NVICs (who knows what they claim on their websites for those!).
I’m trying to satisfy the requirements for OICNW in as few classroom days as possible - I’m not really interested in cost. Am I nuking out the NVICs? Are the assessors going over them line by line, or are they saying “took meteorology, pass on 1.9, 1.10, and 1.11”? Is there a tool or matrix that lists all the approved courses and what NVICs they do cover? I’d fly to Florida if it meant that I could finish this sooner using some of the courses taught down there.
I wouldn’t call myself a hawsepiper in the traditional sense, but what I’ve found out so far is absolutely true: it would have been far easier to just go to a maritime academy rather than trying to piecemeal a program together.