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  #61  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Last week I sailed 700 miles across the Western Caribbean with no engine, hence only a solar pannel to charge my house bank. Knowing that the most important peice of electronical equipment was my mast head running light, and second my vhf ( with ais) I made sure I had back up everything that took AA or AAA or D cell batts. My cabin light is a stick 'em closet light with a 2 AA's. Most of my night time vision was provided by my red light head lamps. My Q beam takes D cells. My Gps is a handheld that takes AA's. However, I had a fully charged sat phone with back up battery, an E-pirb, a SPOT, a fully charged hand held vhf and a 6 man canopy type life raft in the foot well of my cockpit ready to deploy in seconds. I think that we can find a ballance between traditional sailing and utilizing modern electronics and safety gear to ensure a safe passage. 20 years ago I pushed the limits when I would single hand off shore. On this last trip I had my 72 year old Father in Law to look after, which forced me to bump up my gear a noch. We ran the CD player too long on day 5 and drained our house bank. No problem, we had back up everything in portable form. When I sailed through north east cut in Guanaja on day seven, the battery died on my hand held GPS. I was actually checking my piloting on the little Chart Plotter screen, but not relying on it. No problem, Father in Law changed the batt's in 5 seconds flat. I like my new gadgets, and want more, but I still depend on my seamanship skills, and check my self with the gadgets. It's a relief to know you are right and great to know when you are wrong so you can correct a mistake before it's too late. When I was sailing down the north coast of Cuba, I gave my self sea room off the reef to deal with an emergancy. If I had an engine I may have run closer. I checked my postition every hour on the hand held. When running down the Caribbean 150 miles off shore, I checked my postion once a day. ( I like to see big gaps on the chart between fixes.) But I digress. My point is ballance. Get the new gear, use it, but don't rely on it. He who set's sail with no paper charts, and no portable back up lighting is a fool in my book. To navigate by lap top alone is a recipe for disaster, And only having an electronical means of knowing the depth is just plain silly.
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Last edited by Capt.aaron; 05-25-2013 at 06:46 PM.
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  #62  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
Unfortunately, outside the US a USCG Master's License (500 ton or less) is pretty much a joke. In reality, with absolutely no experience and never having set foot on a boat, a person could get a 50 or 100 ton license to carry passengers without much problem. The licensing courses that are required do not teach what it is necessary to know to safely operate a vessel, they only teach how to pass the tests, sitting in front of a compute screen. Most sections of the test are multiple choice, thereby showing the right answer if one is aware enough to see it. I passed my original test (pre-computer) for 100 ton Ocean Operator/Aux Sail (5 sections) in less than 5 hours, whereas my British exam was 25 hours, with the last 5 hours being oral, in front of a panel of 5 captains, who could ask anything from the syllabus. That's five days of examinations, two hours each morning and three each afternoon.
From discussions with friends who have gotten recreational boating certificates from various states, those seem to be mainly to generate revenue for the states and not so much true educational and safety courses.
I don't know of what you are talking about but in what regards a basic 100t licence I don't know of any European country that provides that without a considerable sea time and experience. There are mandatory European directives that establish minimum requirements.

Here a specific 100T offshore licence is used exclusively for fishing boats and it is called "Contra mestre pescador". For that the guy has to have already a licence of "Fisherman Sailor" have been approved on a course for "Contramestre" and have at least (depending on other personal requirements) from 6 months to 2 years of work on an offshore fishing boat. One year experience is the norm. It is not valid for boats with more than 26m, and only till 100T.

Profissões Regulamentadas - Detalhe

Captains for the merchant navy, even for small offshore boats come from a superior course (university status) and before being attributed a ship have to have a lot of sea time under the supervision of a Captain.

The only other professional licences regarding being Captain's of a boats regards mostly local and some coastal boats and all have to have at least one year experience and pass an examination (theoretical and practical) after having a school course by a credentialed school.

Profissões Regulamentadas - Detalhe

As I said all this is subject to mandatory EC rules that establish minimum standards. a country can demand more but not less.

Regarding licences for private boats I don't know the exigence demanded on other countries and European ones are not yet subject to global EC rules. Here the two first two ones are pretty easy and the two last ones pretty demanding, with a written test with not only multiple tests but practical navigation exercises and a sea practical test. Anyway to travel, even along the coast you need at least the first of the difficult ones.

But you forget the more important factor: You cannot just buy a boat full of electronic and sail away. For at least two years, before you can take the major Coastal licence, you cannot sail otherwise than locally and to sail an Ocean you need three years, assuming you have the time to take all the courses in a row.

The last one demands a minimum of registed 76 hours of theoretical course and 24 hours of sea practice, with well defined requisites among them sailing in fog with radar. Normally it take 6 months, 2 times a week and one day in the weekend. I guess they are not perfect but at least you learn something

Regards

Paulo
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  #63  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Well, I have my 200 ton Liscence, and it is considered the least of what one needs to opperate internationaly, commercially and off shore. Capta. is right, 500 ton is where you start being considerd a captain worth hiring, in not only commercial, but Yacthing circles. The 500 ton U.S. liscence is equivalant to what they call 3000 in eroupean from what I hear. Not to mention all the add ons to the credantial. STCW, radar, commercial radio, nav watch, 1000's of hours of sea time etc.
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Last edited by Capt.aaron; 05-25-2013 at 01:21 PM.
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  #64  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.aaron View Post
Well, I have my 200 ton Liscence, and it is considered the least of what one needs to opperate internationaly, commercially and off shore. Capta. is right, 500 ton is where you start being considerd a captain worth hiring, in not only commercial, but Yacthing circles. The 500 ton U.S. liscence is equivalant to what they call 3000 in eroupean from what I hear. Not to mention all the add ons to the credantial. STCW, radar, commercial radio, nav watch, 1000's of hours of sea time etc.
He don't call here even Captain to someone with a 500 T licence but Mestre. It was what I was trying to say. For being a Captain you need a superior course and lots of hours under the scrutiny of a Captain and a 3000T licence.

A Captain here has to have a 3000T licence, two years has second in command ("Imediato") and have a superior nautical course (the same grade a graduate in an University course).

For smaller boats they don't have the rank or right to be called Captain they are 1st Pilots but they are junior officials and also graduated (naval University).

Between 300 e 500t - they are only called "Mestre" and they can only sail coastal waters.

With less then 500t they are called "contramestre" and have also only a coastal licence. All of them have mandatory courses, tests and sea time.

As I have said there are not a 100t licence. The minimum for merchant boats is 500t.

Only for local commercial boats or coastal fishing boats are smaller licences. An Oceangoing fishing licence starts with a 700T licence (Mestre do largo pescador).

https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marinheiro

http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capit%C3%A3o_(n%C3%A1utica)

http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capit%C3%A3o_(n%C3%A1utica)

Maybe it is the difference in names that make some confusion but here to go offshore on a commercial ship you need to be an official (superior course) and to have at least experience of two years as second in command (normally it is more).

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 05-25-2013 at 02:02 PM.
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  #65  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
He don't call here even Captain to someone with a 500 T licence but Mestre. It was what I was trying to say. For being a Captain you need a superior course and lots of hours under the scrutiny of a Captain and a 3000T licence.

A Captain here has to have a 3000T licence, two years has second in command ("Imediato") and have a superior nautical course (the same grade a graduate in an University course).

For smaller boats they don't have the rank or right to be called Captain they are 1st Pilots but they are junior officials and also graduated (naval University).

Between 300 e 500t - they are only called "Mestre" and they can only sail coastal waters.

With less then 500t they are called "contramestre" and have also only a coastal licence. All of them have mandatory courses, tests and sea time.

As I have said there are not a 100t licence. The minimum for merchant boats is 500t.

Only for local commercial boats or coastal fishing boats are smaller licences. An Oceangoing fishing licence starts with a 700T licence (Mestre do largo pescador).


Mestre de embarcação costeira com arqueação inferior a 300 -
https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marinheiro

http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capit%C3%A3o_(n%C3%A1utica)

http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capit%C3%A3o_(n%C3%A1utica)

Maybe it is the difference in names that make some confusion but here to go offshore on a commercial ship you need to be an official (superior course) and to have at least experience of two years as second in command (normally it is more).

Regards

Paulo
That sounds about right. Our 500 ton is your 3000t. I see this in The mega yachts and off shore supply boats. Apparently the sea time and testing is considered equvialant. Our requirements for 500 ton are pretty extreme. Next is 1600 ton, then unlimited. No doubt eurpoe has stricter requirements than the U.S. licensing. My 200 ton master lisence enables me to run as 200 ton mate for 500 day's and then automatically becomes master with no re-test. First you get the lisence then promotion. Add in Master of tow or mate of Tow and the time requirments become more involved. It's all Tit for Tat. First you do the time, then the test, then more time, then to position. It's taken me years to get where I am and years more to come to get where I'm going. What was this thread about again?
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Last edited by Capt.aaron; 05-25-2013 at 02:32 PM.
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  #66  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.aaron View Post
...What was this thread about again?
About not reading this if you have not time

Regards

Paulo
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  #67  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Interestingly, I have lots of paper charts onboard, and the office has loads of them, some dating back to the early 1950s. Now, how accurate are those charts? Keep in mind that most of those charts were generated long before GPS plotters were even available. Many have never been updated, but those are the same charts that are scanned into your GPS/Plotter system.

Here's where the fun comes in. Last fall, while cruising down the ICW there were times when you would enter an area that was nothing more than a dredged ditch between two creeks, rivers, etc... It's a straight line down the chart that has no entrances, exits, turns, etc... Easy to navigate without any aids other than your eyesight. Yep, just stay in the middle, keep an ear out for the depth finder alarm and you should be just fine.

Glancing at the GPS/Plotter, however, could send shivers down your spine. There were several locations where the GPS/Plotter clearly shows the boat 50 to 100-feet away from the actual position, riding on dry land. Whoops! How could that be?

A quick call to one of my old contacts at USGS provided me with the information. Those dredged ditches along the ICW were sometimes on the charts before the ditch was actually dredged. And, in some instances, the actual dredging may have been done 100-feet away from the charted location. Consequently, your highly accurate GPS is right on the money when it comes to your actual position, but the waterway on the chart may NOT be accurately depicted.

Same holds true with buoy numbers, buoy and day marker positions, charted channel depths, and charted landmarks. Buoys get moved, day markers get broken off, channels fill in, and some landmarks are now blocked by new buildings and towering trees. None of this information would be on your current charts, and it may be years before you see a Notice to Mariners report of the changes.

So, before the advent of highly accurate, electronic, navigation devices everyone, including this old man, was highly dependent upon our charting skills, compass, eyesight, and of course, utilizing the best tool - common sense. Despite this, we usually were able to eventually find our way to a distant destination, or find our way home. Sometimes, however, I, for one, wondered where in the Hell I was, but I was usually able to determine my approximate position and work from there.

Now, I know exactly where I'm at, which unfortunately, is sitting in front of this damned computer and typing this post. I wish I could go out sailing, but the wind's howling at 35 from the northwest, which has driven the water out of the entire upper Chesapeake Bay to the point that all of the boats in our marina are sitting in the mud. Maybe things will improve tomorrow. Sure hope so.

Cheers,

Gary

BTW: Aaron, glad to see you posting again. And, I sure miss being in the Keys.
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  #68  
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Thank's Gary,
I post now and then when I have down time on the tug and am not at sea. I miss the key's to, having relocated to Honduras for a while it will be some time before I am back down there. I am now in Miami up the river in a boat yard on a tug boat. Bad Bad bad place to be.....Bad.
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  #69  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Wow! Stay safe my friend.

Gary
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  #70  
Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

When I used charts in the West Indies in the 70's and 80's, Antigua had a notation that the island was mischarted by 1.25 miles! I have no idea if it's been fixed or whether the GPS charting in our chartplotter has been updated, but I found the charting to be accurate enough to sail within feet of a reef as we beat up to Jolly Harbor. Mind you, the water was crystal clear and I could see the reef perfectly, and the chartplotter was indeed accurate to within feet.
Before chartplotters I knew that the GPS readings were definitely more accurate than the charts, so it's interesting that the chartplotters have corrected those errors, at least everywhere we have sailed so far, except the ICW, as stated above.
Perhaps the exorbitant cost of charts for my Garmin are indeed worth the expense since they correlate so closely with reality, and plotting GPS positions on a paper chart could still be a problem?
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