Upgrading 500NC to 500OC

Hi folks,

My last post on here helped me through the 500 test, thank you to everyone that helped out with input on the topic! Now I’ve hit a new bump and wanted to send out feelers to anyone that may have already gone through it or have some input. I’d like to expand my license to “oceans” from “near coastal” and was wondering how much was involved in the process and if anyone had taken the test recently at an REC and was willing to divulge some secrets? I’d like to avoid the 2-week celestial course at the schools if at all possible. Also, am I missing anything? I have all of the STCW and whatnot so I should only need to take the celestial exam at the REC, right?

Additionally, I’m itching to make a switch from the world of passenger vessels into the towing industry and would like to do so without starting out as a green deckhand on a tug. Does anyone know a good way to complete a TOAR to get MOT without starting out at the bottom? I’d be really happy to start out somewhere in the middle of the ladder, but with a mortgage its tough to go back to the bottom.

Thanks a bunch,

Billy - Yes, the oceans upgrade should be doable without class. The problem I ran into 3 or 4 years ago is that the chart in the CFRs that shows what subjects are in the test for any given license or endorsement was incorrect. According to that chart, the questions I found for the Master 500 Oceans endorsement were more at the 3rd mate U/L level. Others here had the same experience. I ended up taking a class that the company I worked for at the time graciously paid for.

If you know for sure what will be on the test, Capt. Joe’s was always my favorite because it was a one time expense, there was no need for an internet connection, and for the excellent solutions he gave. You could print the solutions out and put them in a three ring binder for future study and reference. Others here swear by Lapware.

Things may well have changed in the past few years, and you will likely get more recent info from others.

Good luck with the endorsement.

There are some required STCW assessments. It might not be easy to get the assessments done without taking a course. The courses include the assessments.

It is possible to teach yourself celestial without taking a course, I did it, but it takes a lot more time and effort than taking a course.

I recommend studying on your own for a few weeks, and then taking the course. If you take the two to three week course you will get the license upgrade quickly.

Thanks for the info and the well wishes guys. I thumbed through some material a while back and felt like I had a good handle on it at the time, probably should have gone for it then.

I’ll plug away at it a bit more since I’m stuck on the boat for 6 weeks and see how it turns out, but I may just find that the class is the way to go. The hardest part for me is sitting in a classroom for 2 weeks.

Thanks again!

Odds are you will be starting out as an AB if you make the switch to tugs. There is really no way around it. Few companies will hire you with no tug experience and no TOAR and let you be a trainee.

I’m looking to go from NC to OC myself. I just need to find the time to take the class. There is to much math involved for me to teach myself.

Thanks Bayrunner, I reckon being an AB again isn’t such a bad thing.

I spent a while a few years ago messing around with what I think was called “Starfinder” and taught the cel nav material, but I never added it to the license because I hear that it changes the test for the 500 a bit when you go for it. Now I’m just dreading going through the material or even trying to find the book somewhere in the house after the move.

Good luck on yours, if I have any great successes on my end I’ll pass them along.