I am often asked the question, “What is an approved course and what information is covered on the exams?”.
An approved course means that the course is approved by the US Coast Guard for meeting the exam requirements of a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) Endorsement. Passing an approved course means that you do not need to take the exams at the Coast Guard. The number of exams and the material that the exams cover is determined by the US Coast Guard and will depend on the MMC Endorsement that you are testing for. As an example, if you wanted to get a 6-pack license than you would need to take four exams.
- A Chart Navigation exam that covers use of the charts, navigation publications, and chart navigation skills necessary to determine the course made good, speed made good, estimated time of arrival, course per steering compass, set and drift of the current, course to steer, position by compass bearing, and deviation by observed bearing.
- A Navigation General exam that covers marine weather, navigation terminology, tide and tidal current terminology, use of charts and supporting publications, US aids to navigation system, and electronic navigation equipment.
- A Rules of the Road exam that covers knowledge and application of both the Inland and International collision avoidance regulations (AKA Navigation Rules).
- A Deck General, Safety, and Environmental Protection exam that covers safety, seamanship, and the federal regulations governing the safe operation of small uninspected passenger vessels including lifesaving equipment requirements and operation, pollution prevention regulations, safe operating requirements, first aid, firefighting, small engine operations, boat handling, and marlinespike seamanship.
Anyone who has completed an approved course or taken the exams at the Coast Guard can appreciate the range of knowledge required to become a professionally licensed mariner.