What's it like to test for 500 ton?

I’ve finally finished all my classes for 500 Ton Master (I hold a 150 Ton Master now) But I have not tested at REC since I got my license 15 years ago. What is the process?, How long do I have after I get approval? Can I take the exams one at a time with a couple of weeks between tests?. I have a set of Murphy Books but am unsure how to start, after all there huge. Should I also get a CD from Hawsepipe or someone else? Any help or suggestions from mariners in the know would be appreciated. BTW I tried sleeping with Vol. 4 RULES OF THE ROAD under my pillow, alas it didnt work.

Inland, Near Coastal, or Oceans? There is a big difference between inland and the others since you are subject to STCW.

You have to take a minimum of 2 modules per day. You must take all your modules on concurrent days. The testing room opens at 0700 and closes at 1500 (maybe 1530). You must take all the exams in one week. (I.E. you cant start on friday and end on tuesday). You can take more than 2 modules in one day if you want. If you fail anything your have 90 days to retake what you failed. You must do all your retakes on concurrent days if you have multiple modules to retake. You only have to take 1 module per day on retakes. You have 3 tries total to pass everything otherwise you have to wait, reapply, and take everything over again.

I took 3 modules the first day, 2 modules the second day, and had Terrestrial Nav on the last day by itsself. I did this on purpose since T-Nav was giving me problems. I failed t-nav by one question and retook it a few days later and passed with 100%.

Opps, I guess it might have helped to mention I’ll be testing for Near Coastal (oceans someday). I was hoping I could spread the exams out over a longer period of time. How did you prepare? The “teach the test” schools do mariners a disservice, I am at a loss as how to learn all the material on the test.

I went to Houston Marine (actually Houston Exam Prep), the one in Houston. They teach the test, but most of the test is bullshit you dont need to know. Everything I need to know stuck with me. Hell, most of it I already know from my time offshore. (Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot to learn in the industry)

Have you got your apploval to test letter yet?

I have not yet applied to test. I will wait until I am better prepared. Since I have never worked on higher Tonnage boats a lot of the material will be new I think. Also I have emailed the NMC for an audit of my seatime. I’m not positive about what seatime NC has been accepted over the years so I’m hoping they will let me know. I would rather not spend more money for a prep course, My Discover card is worn thin but If it gives me a significant edge I would.

First thing first, get your approval letter. Once youget that you have a year to test.

I got fucked really bad by my evaluator. She evaluated my application for 6 months before denying me for 3 reasons.

Reason 1: My RFPNW was not acceptable.
I gave her the certificate number, techers name, and school name and explained to her that I had to drive my ass clear across the country to take that class because MPT is one of just a couple of schools approved to do full RFPNW (not just lookout) on a simulator. The certificate was in my file and the school was on the USCG approved course list.
She reversed her decision.

Reason 2: She said I didn’t take some bullshit course like BST or Firefishting or something.
Again, I quoted her the school name, instructor name, certificate number, etc. The certificate was in my file.
She reversed her decision.

Reason 3: I didn’t have a TWIC.
I was told by REC Houston that since my application was filed BEFORE the TWIC deadline that it wouldnt be a problem, just be sure to get a twic before I went back to work.

By the time she got around to denying my application I had gotten tired of waiting month after month with no answers for them to get their shit together. I took a seasonal job in Alaska and was in the airport on a layover when the denied my application. They didn’t even send me a letter telling me I had been denied or anything, they just deleted my application from the NMC website where you log in to check your status. Since I was literally enroute to a boat 33 miles north of the arctic circle I wasn’t at liberty to stroll on down to my local TWIC office and jump through their hoops. I struck a deal with my evaluator to pre apply online for the TWIC and she would approve me to test. Also I would have to finish the TWIC process before they would issue my credential. It was a complete fuckshow and I place 99% of the blame on the Coast Guard and my evaluator. I deserve a small amount of the blame for not going ahead and getting my twic ahead of time since I knew I would eventually have to have it anyway.

If I were you I would put in an application ASAP. You might get caught in a regulatory fuckshow like me and the more time you afford yourself to straighten it all out the better off you will be.

Also make sure you have taken all the necessary courses…

Good Luck, and if you’re evaluator is Vivian Monet then consider yourself fucked. :wink:

Definetly first thing to do is turn in all of your paperwork, and as well start looking around where you would like to do a prep course for the test. You can study on your own, but since you have not done celestial, that part i would find it hard to study on my own. I just finished my 500 ton this last week, i took my prep course at maritime institute in san diego. I found them to be helpful with the prep course, but they were not very structured in having material together, and ready for the class. the teacher was constatly running out of the class to make copies for us, so at the end of the day you had all of these random paper work to pick through and put into a folder that i had to put together myself. Once i went and tested i only passed 2/6 test, the gen. near coastal nav, and charting. I ended up buying the hawspipe cd witch was very helpful. I would recomend getting that right now and just start going through the tests. The tests for the 500 ton are not to difficult if you could take a test one at a time, but since you have to take them all, it is a lot of information to remember. Also get the cfr books and start going through those as well, you need to be familiar and how to look things up. Good Luck, definetly well worth the hassle though

Also, plan the order you want to take the modules and communicate them when you schedule the exam appointment. If you don’t. you wil;l have to takethem in the order they are listed in the “Deck Exam Guide” and your “approved to test letter.” You can pick the order you want, but you have to schedule it when you make your appointment.

MPT in Ft Lauderdale has a very good prep program. The instructor “CG” if she is still there will kick your butt however you will pass your exams. I highly recommend any prep class but only take it weeks before your schedule test date. For Near Coastal/Terrestial problems I found it very helpful to have an instructor show me how to work the math. I took very good notes, kept the material and have used it for self-studying to upgrade my license. It’s not cheap, it’s 3 weeks but I think worth it.

http://www.mptusa.com/

Subjects covered in the Exam Prep and NC/Terrestial class:
[ul]
[li]Navigation[/li][li]Chart Symbols[/li][li]Navigation Publications[/li][li]Compass Correction[/li][li]Plotting and Position Lines[/li][li]Bearing Problems[/li][li]Distance Off Problems[/li][li]Fuel Consumption Problems[/li][li]Apparent Slip[/li][li]Required RPM (Using Slip)[/li][li]Days Run (Using Slip)[/li][li]Required Speed (Using Slip)[/li][li]Compass Error by Azimuth[/li][li]Compass Error by Amplitude[/li][li]Compass Error and Leeway[/li][li]Deviation Table Construction[/li][li]Visual Ranges – Luminous and Geographic[/li][li]Sunrise & Sunset[/li][li]Radio Direction Finders (RDF)[/li][li]Tides and Tidal Currents[/li][li]Voyage Planning[/li][li]Rules of the Road Review[/li][li]General Subjects Review[/li][/ul]

For some reason I am having trouble accessing many parts off the site and unable to post a new thread so I am posting my questions here in the hopes that someone who can answer them will run across it… Im desperate to find someone who can answer some of these!!

3 Questions:

1)I am confused as to what I can use sea time earned while sailing with a wiper card in an electronics tech position say for MSC for example? Can I use this towards QMED and 3AE and so on? New to the blog so not sure if Im posting this right?
2)Am I allowed to apply for both a wiper AND OS at the same time to increase my chances of getting my foot in the hatch somewhere?
3)Apparently getting credit for my sea time in the Navy (EN2) is much more complicated than just using that 180 form. I tried that and got a call back from a confused lady who then gave me a number for someone who said it could take six months and required rediculous documentation that was way beyond a DD214 and probably non-existent. Any advice?

For some reason I am having trouble accessing many parts off the site and unable to post a new thread so I am posting my questions here in the hopes that someone who can answer them will run across it… Im desperate to find someone who can answer some of these!!

3 Questions:

1)I am confused as to what I can use sea time earned while sailing with a wiper card in an electronics tech position say for MSC for example? Can I use this towards QMED and 3AE and so on? New to the blog so not sure if Im posting this right?
2)Am I allowed to apply for both a wiper AND OS at the same time to increase my chances of getting my foot in the hatch somewhere?
3)Apparently getting credit for my sea time in the Navy (EN2) is much more complicated than just using that 180 form. I tried that and got a call back from a confused lady who then gave me a number for someone who said it could take six months and required rediculous documentation that was way beyond a DD214 and probably non-existent. Any advice?

[QUOTE=SailorDaniel;30191]
2)Am I allowed to apply for both a wiper AND OS at the same time to increase my chances of getting my foot in the hatch somewhere?
3)Apparently getting credit for my sea time in the Navy (EN2) is much more complicated than just using that 180 form. I tried that and got a call back from a confused lady who then gave me a number for someone who said it could take six months and required rediculous documentation that was way beyond a DD214 and probably non-existent. Any advice?[/QUOTE]

The site was under a upgrade so thats why you weren’t able to access other parts of this site. Perhaps the Admins can move this to a new thread.

I’ll let someone else answer the first question because your question doesn’t make sense to me, I’m pretty damn tired right now, and I am only online checking gCapt on a whim to see if the update was finished.

As for applying for a wiper and OS at the same time, are you talking about working in both positions on a vessel at the same time? Your entry level MMC will have wiper/ordinary seaman/Stewards Department (FH) all endorsed at the same time.

Although things may have changed in the past few years, you used to be able to obtain a Transcript of Military Sea Service without much problem, just by requesting it by the SF-180 (put Sea Service Transcript in the section marked “other information or documents requested”). Check out http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/USN_USCG_Rate_equivalenciesOct08.pdf for information on how your rating can be evaluated. Sorry I am pretty damn tired so I am going to leave it to someone more knowledgeable or more awake to reply further.

It looks like no one answered your other question about how long you have after you have been approved to test. You have one year to pass all exams from the day you were approved. See 46 CFR 10.209©.

Jon,
Thanks for try to help out. As for question #1 let me clarify… MSC hires electronics techs with an AAS but they are required to hold a wiper card. I just got my TWIC and was going to submit my ap for my MMD wiper card. Once I had that I wanted to make sure that time I sailed as an elect tech would count towards my other QMED since I may not be working in the engineroom all the time. After thinking about it I think it would since the requirement just says 180 days while holding a wiper card. Which leads me to #2… I have since been educated and understand that an entry card will have both the wiper and os on it. I thought I had to designate which kind of card I wanted. I did not want to try and work in both positions. Still having trouble with the military records issue though…

As mentioned before [B]submit your app well before you plan to test[/B]. The Coast Guard has lost part of my file and is now telling me that I need to get proof of ownership for a boat I sold five years ago on the other side of the continent. I had submitted proof of ownership in 2003 and it was accepted for my first license, then again for my AB and upgrade to 200 mate, and then again for 200 master; 1600 mate. The last one was at the NMC which is now saying I need to submit more time as a deckhand because I don’t have proof that I owned the boat. So now I am jumping through hoops with my boat broker, my marina and the California DMV.

I don’t think the problem is my evaluator. She think she would like to apologize for this screw-up it it as was politically correct.