Upgrading to Master 500T Inland

I currently hold a Master 100T Inland and got permission to test for my Master 500T Inland just before the bell at the end of 2016, so I’m testing on the “old” stuff.

  • 072X1 Nav General
  • 073 Chart Nav
  • 251 Deck Gen + Deck Safety + Environmental Protection
  • Q100 Rules of the Road: Inland & International

Anyone know how much this differs from the Master 100T test? I still have all my old books and study material from that. Is ship stability a subject mixed in there somewhere? That’s one subject I can’t seem to find much reference material for and I’ve heard might be on the test (I didn’t need that for 100T). Or better yet- a prep class for it? There’s plenty of options if I want to take classes for 500/1600 NC/O, but I can’t find anything for Inland.

I doubt that there is much difference between the 100 and 500 ton exams. There will be a handful of stability questions. You can either learn the basic stability formulae and get the right answers, or you can just guess on the stability questions. You only need a 70 on that section.

I thought the Master Inland Any Gross Tons exam was pretty easy. I did not study anything except Rules of the Road.

That was my opinion as well. I reviewed Murphy books on Deck General and Rules the hitch before testing and blew through the exams.

First of all I’d like to thank all the members of gcaptain forums for the knowledge they post on here on a daily basis. I haven’t posted on here in a number of years, but have always been lurking, reading and learning. This forum has been an integral part of me making a career change into the maritime industry, and has helped me through original licensing and upgrades throughout the past 7 years working on boats.

With that said, to the original poster: I just passed the Master 500 Inland test last Tuesday. I took all the same modules you listed above. I believe I severely over prepared. I used UpgradeU and Lapware. I also got training charts and a book of practice chart plot exams with explanations from American Nautical Services. I studied rigorously for about 4 months and probably could’ve passed just reviewing a few things for a week or so. A prep class is not necessary in my opinion.
I saw absolutely no stability questions, that doesn’t mean they won’t throw any at you though. Formulae for the Mariner is great book to learn stability calculations, as well as many other things, and Lapware has great solutions to any possible problem. I also highly recommend getting a copy of Bowditch if you don’t already own one. It will help you immensely preparing for nav gen, and I was able to look up/double check probably 50% of the answers for Nav Gen while in the exam room. Rules was easy, I used UpgradeU practice tests until I got 100% every time. Just know the rules and you won’t have a problem. The chart plot was pretty simple too, nothing too tricky, simple plots, Dead Reckoning, SMG from one position to another, etc., Luminous Range, tidal level prediction, current velocity prediction. Deck Gen is honestly the only module that gave me any issues, maybe because of the huge question bank, like someone said on another thread. In any case you should really know how to look stuff up in the CFRs, and just study as many questions as you can on either Lapware or UpgradeU. I failed Deck Gen on the first shot by 2, retook the same day and passed. Everything else was seriously a breeze though. Finished all 4 modules and the retake by 1400 in one day.
Don’t kill yourself studying. Although I learned a lot of useful stuff by studying so intensely, I definitely went overboard with it.
Good luck!

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That’s the point of studying. While you might have been able to pass the tests with less you learned a lot more and will be a better officer because of it.

Thanks everyone for the replies. I passed my original 100T without breaking a sweat, and I actually enjoyed the plotting portion (I’m odd like that). According to the CFR testing chart, stability is really the only major addition to the 500T test. I’m sure it’s minor part, if I see it at all, but I’d feel uncomfortable going in without knowing how to calculate it. Even if I relied on ace’ing the rest of the section, it wouldn’t sit right. I bought UpgradeU immediately after I got my permission to test and still have all my old study guides, so that other stuff I think I’ll be ok with.

For studying stability, yesterday I bought a copy of Stability and Trim for the Ship’s Officer, and USCG Stability Data Reference Book off Amazon. Are those decent books to learn from, or are they one of those “great for reference if you already know the material” kinds of books?

Very true Capt_Phoenix. I feel much better prepared for my day to day operations, as well as what may lie ahead for me. I’m constantly learning and know I still have tons more knowledge to absorb. I apologize if I made it sound like studying so intensely was a waste of time, it absolutely was not. I gained the satisfaction of teaching myself things that will stay with me throughout my career and lifetime.

I think those stability books are good, but overly complex for your exam prep and the level you will be licensed at.

The various schools have stability test prep materials that focus on how to use the half dozen basic formulas to calculate the answers to the type of stability questions the CG asks. The stability questions that might be on the 500 ton exam are probably the same as the stability questions for the 100 ton exam. Some of the stability basics are very useful in practice, but most of the things tested are not applicable to the practical operation of small vessels.

While I applaude your desire to really know stability, it’s a complex topic far beyond your license level. The practical things to know for a small vessel are the normal rolling period and GM. It’s important to be able to feel, or time and calculate, a change in rolling period and GM. Small vessels usually have a simple USCG stability letter that must be followed — which actually assumes minimal knowledge of stability. Small vessels often load cargo where the weight of individual items and their center of gravity are not accurately known, and often cargo physical dimensions, not weight, control on deck placement. Usually, there is no way to measure the height off deck of the center of gravity of each piece of cargo. Without that info, it’s not possible to accurately calculate the cargo moments. Therefore, I suggest that you keep it simple for the 500 ton exam, and look into the intricacies of big ship stability later.

Formulae for the Mariner is the best book for how to calculate most things. The Captain Joe’s and Lapware exam prep solutions are excellent.

Good luck.

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Stability wasn’t even a possible subject on the 100T test, thus my apprehension. If I could find a resource that taught just that, and at the level I’ll be tested at, that’d be perfect. You’d absolutely right that I don’t need to know stuff on the tier of high tonnage ocean stuff, I’ll be happy with just the basics. The stability letter on my passenger vessel basically says “don’t put more than this many people on and you’re fine”. But I guess for 500T they want me to know a little more than that.
I checked out Captain Joe’s website a while ago and it looked… aged? I guess that’s the best way I can put it. Dead links everywhere. I guess Hawspipe would be my next go-to? I’d prefer if there was a class somewhere that would teach stability, plus maybe a refresher on the rest. However I’m having a surprisingly difficult time finding anything that isn’t on the west coast.

I appreciate the frankness on what I need or don’t need. My work is pretty isolated from the rest of the maritime industry and don’t really have anyone I can directly ask about this stuff.

The Capt. Joe’s solutions are often the best. lapware is best overall. Upgrade U is good for questions but I’m not sure what they have for solutions. I use them all.

Formulae for the Mariner has the formulas that you’ll need for stability.

Downeast Maritime (a school) has books for sale that cover stability.

So does MPT in Fort Lauderdale. If you go there stay at Park Place Suites at the MPT rate. Cheap flights to FLL too.

Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy would be another good source. They will train you on just stability for so much a day if that’s what you want. If you go there, don’t stay in the cheapest hotel, stay in the one closest to the school— traffic is hell in Norfolk.

Don’t waste your time studying the tabular stability questions using the “SS American Mariner” book- I’ve taken the 500/1600 Master Inland exam and the 500/1600 Master and Mate exams and have NEVER got one of those damn questions… after spending countless hours learning how to do them!!! As others have said focus on the basic formulae: Shift in G due to shift of weight

rolling period formula, free surface effect and constant.
And maybe the inclining experiment formula:

If you can grasp those and practice the questions that use them you have no problem with stability. Again you don’t need to study the complex tabular questions!

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