Thursday, January 25, 2007

Captain's School Part Three & The Test

The final weekend of Captain's School is all about what's called 'Deck General'. It's about lines and knots, deck hardware, fire fighting, survival, and some other stuff. I have something of an advantage because most of the things taught at this level are the very same things the Navy made a fairly serious attempt to teach me.

For the OUPV, it's a pretty light brush with some fairly serious subjects, not the least of which how to maintain command of your vessel. Since I'm typically a crew of one, it's not too hard, but if you have passengers, it could be like herding cats.

But compared to the first two weekends, it was fun and games - with video's and discussions and so forth. Of course, the practice plotting and questions.

Other than lunch at O D's in Nyack, there was no excitement to the three days.

Last night, Jan 29th, was the test. It started at 6:00pm and you could work until 10:00pm if you needed to. It consisted of four sections - three multiple guess, and one plotting.

The three multiple choice sections were nav general (like buoyage and chart information), deck general (like basic environmental issues, firefighting, line handling, knots, and anchoring), and finally Rules of the Road (right of way, collision avoidance, lighting and dayshapes). These tests are created from a subset of the Coast Guard's 16,000 or so questions.

The Mariner's School makes their tests from a random selection from 200 or so questions per section. If you can answer all the questions in the back of their books, you are guaranteed to pass (actually, get 100%). I could, and did except for one question that I changed my answer to the wrong one. (Test taking tip: Never change your answer on a multiple guess.)

Finally, the 10 plotting questions contained two of each of these: 3 bearing fixes, speed & course made good, Estimated Time of Arrival, and Drift & Set. There were also two multiple guess questions about the chart itself.

Fortunately, the test was on Long Island Sound, so I didn't have to do a lot of searching for lights mentioned in the problems, like Horton Point, Duck Island Roads west, Bartlett Reef, and so on.

I worked quickly and turned in all my tests in two and a half hours. More than that, I passed with flying colors - after I finish all the damn paperwork, I'll be a Captain. For real!

In March, I'll be taking the Master's course, with towing and sailing endorsements because the sea time requirements are the same so it doesn't make sense to do it twice.

Well, it's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey (and that's not a sexual reference) here so no sailing.

I visited my friend, Gene's Whitby 42 to see what they're all about last Saturday. They seemed like an interesting boat. I think I'll have to see one in better condition to make a final judgement on the boat.

More on that later, of course!

I hope it warms up soon! I want to see y'all on the water!


Zen said...

Congrats Captn!

Zen said...

Ok, this was a good reference. I start my classes this Friday ! It is the last step my paperwork is already sitting somewhere in USCG HQ