|The mountain of paperwork Scott had to submit!|
While many of you may have thought that completing his USCG captain's license course was enough to become a "captain" - that was only the beginning...it is an incredible the amount of work to get your actual license, and Scott has been filling out, organizing and cross-checking paperwork for weeks in order to make sure he doesn't miss a step.
What does getting your captain's license entail, you wonder?
For starters, you must be 18, pass a drug test and a very difficult maritime exam, have a recent medical physical (within last 6 months), and obtain a TWIC card from the Department of Transportation. Then, of course, there is the sea time. This is the hardest part by far. To get a United States Coast Guard 100 ton license (which Scott has completed the course for and is applying for) you must account for 360 days at sea. You'd think that sailing for a year, more or less non-stop, would have covered that with ease but there is a glitch: a "day" can be no more than 8 hours in a 24 hour period. If we spent 24 consecutive hours sailing to a destination (which we did plenty of), that is only considered one day, not three like you might assume. This meant Scott had to supplement the hours spent on our boat and go back to his racing days to log all the hours he spent on other boats (which were many) in the past ten years.
Scott had to literally go back in time; check dates on races and track down former boat owners in his previous cities of Santa Barbara, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Chicago. He had to make contact with the captains and have them sign-off on his time with them. This process took ages. Between a flurry of emails, phone calls and requests, he finally got his 360 hours more than covered*. Once your sea time is accounted for and all the subsequent forms are completed, you must send them to the USCG for approval. The following is a checklist of everything you need to apply for your License:
- Coast Guard Application Form (CG-719B)
- Sea Service Forms (CG-719S)
- Physical Examination Report (CG-719K)
- Drug Test Report (5 Substance SAMSHA – CG-719-P)
- Three Character References
- Social Security Card
- Copy of TWIC Card or proof of purchase
- Proof of Citizenship
- First Aid/CPR Certification
- User Fees
- Training Certificate
While all of that will get you a Captain's License, it will not be enough for you to work on a boat. If you wanted to work on any ship, whether it be a steward on a mega-yacht or an engineer on a cargo ship, you will also need to complete the STCW course. This course covers the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers and it is mandatory to have this certification to work on pretty much any boat (at least in the US and Caribbean). The course is an intense five days, and by the time it is over on Friday, Scott will be proficient in these four areas:
- Basic safety, survival, and first aid
- Bridge resource management (teamwork/watchkeeping)
- Survival craft and rescue boats
- Fire safety
* HUGE thank you to those wonderful captains who took the time to respond and help Scott out - your efforts are appreciated!