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post #1 of 13 Old 10-03-2014 Thread Starter
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Online Captains License or class room?

I have always wanted to get my ticket. When i retire I want to be able to move some boats for a living maybe for a local marina and the like. I want to get the ball rolling. But I find that there are from around $500 bucks on line to as much as 1500 in class type schools. I was hoping for some incite on the better way to take and pass the test. I want to learn and I want to pass. I want to better hone my skill to become a better skipper. I have a 65 mile ride to Charleston or a 30 mile ride to Savannah to find a school. Are the On-Line courses sufficient enough to make the test passable? I would thing a instructor would be needed to prepare for a test like that? they claim a 98% pass rate.

Lets here your 2

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post #2 of 13 Old 10-03-2014
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

It really depends on you. Some people learn very well by studying on their own, and others need to have a living person there that they can listen to and ask questions of. For me, there are some things I learn better on my own, and other things that I learn better in a classroom setting.

So, yeah, for the right person, the online classes are plenty good enough. For the right person, just reading on their own would probably do it. If you're not that person, though...
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-03-2014
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

FWIW, I got my license without taking a class. To me the big value of a class is the instructor knows the requirements to get through the process, which are almost more confusing and complex than the NavRegs. Then you dont have do do your own homework on what license requirements/steps are rigid, what is flexible, what is dispensable. Assistance in training to the tests certainly is also a plus, especially with the NavRegs.

Getting 90% on the NavRegs does not come easy. I put together a deck of flash cards, and got a lights quiz slide rule, and for months whenever we were driving a distance, my wife would drill me on them. Even then, I got 88% on the first attempt....

The navigation test is no more difficult than the ASA nav class, if you need tuning up, study or take the class. I passed this with no particular prep.

The deck test mostly depends on learning how to use the CFRs and other open-book material which will be available, only experienced commercial mariners have a shot at actually knowing that material.

The sail endorsement should not be difficult for anyone who's sailed a number of years.

There is a recent thread on this subject.

PS - how's the lovely C&C 30, no regrets there, I bet.

Certified...in several regards...
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-03-2014
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

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The sail endorsement should not be difficult for anyone who's sailed a number of years.
As I recall one question on the sail endorsement on the use of "Braces" which was answered from my experince while working on Pa.'s tall ship Brig. Niagria.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-03-2014
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

I got mine in a local school, and ended up instructing for them part time for a while. Both the learning and the teaching were great fun.

I think one of the biggest benefit of the school is having people who really know the regs, really know how to get your application in order, etc. There's a bit of paperwork with medicals, sea time letters, etc. You want to get this right.

We had an instructor who was a retired Coast Guard Master Chief. He was phenomenal. I learned more practical stuff from him than anyone I've met in boating. We had other instructors who had lots of sea time on ships. Again very valuable. There are good memory tricks to learning the rules, most instructors have a few that are very helpful.

Besides, if you like boating enough to pursue this, you'll probably enjoy the camaraderie of a class room of like minded people. Do it in the winter when you cannot play with boats, it helps you get through.

That said, no experience with the on line approach, so my advice is only based on a great school experience.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-03-2014
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

I currently hold a 200 ton license and have been teaching licensing courses for 15 years. I actually work for 3 different schools, one online for which I proctor exams, one classroom program thats a 9 day "bootcamp" with the exam on day 10, and another with classes over 5 weekends. They all have their advantages.
The online course probably has a large number of students who never get around to taking the test. Not everyone can stay with a program that can take 6 months to complete. Those who do tend to get very high scores.
The 10 day course gets it over quickly, but retention of the material after the test is pretty poor. The 5 week course is easier on the nerves, but gives you more time to forget things so the pass rate is not as high.
With the online course you are on your own with the application, which can be tricky.
The classroom programs give you all the help you need with the paperwork.
It's all about how you learn and how much time you can put into it.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-03-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

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PS - how's the lovely C&C 30, no regrets there, I bet.
What a great boat she is. I been sailing her hard for 3 years now and she fits like a glove. When a puff comes along she jumps into the grove and off she goes. When it is between 12 and 17 she seems to be where she is meant to be. She don't like light air.

My Wife and I are trying to decide if it will be too small to go cruising on? Still trying to work that out. No fridge, no A/C no hot water. I could refit it and make it work. Smaller is better for me. We will see.
Thanks for the input.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-03-2014
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

I tried the self study route while working and finally gave up. When my work situation changed and I had more spare time I decided to take a course with an instructor in a classroom situation. Much more fun and informative. Plus got a lot of mnemonic tips to remember when taking the tests which really helped. I recommend the class it's faster and fun and IMO worth it. Another plus they also had lined up things like Doctors who are familiar with the Coast Guard requirement for the physicals including the required drug tests. Yes, you will be peeing into a cup and sending the results to the government.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-04-2014
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

Given my own experiences...if you simply want to learn how/enough to pass an exam, self study will do. If you really want to learn something well/useful, however, you can't beat a class. One often learns as much from one's classmates and the answers to their questions as one learns from the syllabus.

FWIW...
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-04-2014
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Re: Online Captains License or class room?

LT. Considering your future goals, I believe a classroom course could also give you an opportunity to network and make new contacts.
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