Friday, October 30, 2009

That’s Captain Al if you will.

Over the past 10 days I have been taking an all day training session and sitting for my tests to qualify for a proper Captains license. As you can see, it appears I was successful! My next step is to finish up the application package and submit it all to the Coast Guard. Then I will be able to be paid while operating a boat! The actual license I receive will be based on my time on the water and given what I have I will be asking for an Inland Masters 50 Ton. After another 180 days on the water I will be able to upgrade to a Masters 100 ton.

I am a bit proud of achieving this certification - it was a bit of work. Plus as Kristi noted we are no longer use to having to be up and somewhere by 0800, how easy it is to get soft :-) Some of you might know that I have already received a lot of training through the US Power Squadron (USPS.ORG), and in fact have completed all of their training courses through off shore / celestial navigation and now teach many of those same courses. I will easily say that my USPS experience greatly helped me over the past 10 days. In fact, with the exception of more material on Laws (CFRs), and duties of a Master I think I might have been able to purchased a study book and taken the test at the USCG directly. But I did enjoy (and did learn) from the 10 days focused course; Dennis has an excellent course and a ton of experience to share. Plus the cost of the course is covered by a retraining benefit in my separation package.

Ok. So What.

Good question. I really have no idea what I will use this for. And even with the separation benefit there are a few hundred $ out of our pocket. So, why did I do this? Guess it comes down to: I have a personal draw to the water, I believe in education and training, and there is a feeling of accomplishment in achieving a goal such as this. Plus there is that old common thread Kristi and I have learned: We really have little idea what she and I will be doing in the future (details I am talking here – Big Picture we are still marching towards). Who knows, perhaps a Captains license will come into play some time. (I also received my tow boat endorsement). Could be day cruises with folk, or a overnights. Could be moving or towing others boats. Could be on-the-water training of folks. Who knows. Could be nothing but a feeling of accomplishment.

One thing I do know: none of this will involve Viking Star. See, she is a foreign laid keel and as such is precluded by the Jones Act from being used in commerce to carry passengers. Other laws preclude her from carrying cargo or towing. But, there are ways around this: Act of Congress (not kidding about that), Pilot Small Boat Waiver Program with MARAD, a Prize of War (again, not kidding). Plus some obscure law (46 U.S.C. Appendix 14) which talks about ‘salvage’ and adding 3x value back into a boat. Perhaps all that work I have done on her over the years might play here? Hum….. “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tail...”

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