Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South Florida
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You do not want your OUPV or Masters License to lapse unless you're very sure you'll never use it again.
IIRC, you can start the renewal process up to a year in advance of your current license expiring. And as others have posted, the USCG has gotten much tougher on the requirements.
I've always sent my renewal package certified with signature and called the REC a few days later to make sure the package arrived. I also contact the person who signed my license last time to check if all the boxes were filled in to his/her satisfaction. It is not the REC's responsibility to inform you that you failed to fill out the forms or include the proper forms at renewal (or original license application) time.
If your license has very recently expired you might call the REC where your license was issued and see if there's a grace period. Otherwise it's going to be a complete retest. You can get CDs and books on the subjects but the RoR and plotting tests are the ones to know cold, and many times, the only way you're going to know those tough to take and pass portions, is to get a pro to answer them to your satisfaction.
Good luck, but based on my personal experience, I'd start saving up for Sea School or some accredited training facilility. In some cases these licensed facilities can give the test at the school, saving you travel time and anxiety.
Capt. Douglas Abbott
USCG/MCA IV/C.I./M.I. 500-ton Oceans
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