Tuesday, May 12, 2015


For the past week and half, I've pretty much been sitting here and running practice tests and Nav problems.

Gettin there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Last Friday, I finished up 2 weeks of test prep and officially graduated from the Workboat Academy at Pacific Maritime Institute.  It's been a tough two years, but it went by quick and now I just need to get through licensing and start working as a licensed deck officer in the Merchant Marines!

Workboat Academy, Graduating Class 2015

Meg and I on the Space Needle
Quite a few family members showed up for graduation, which consisted of a few hours of speeches, food and simulator tours.  It was a nice, simple and brought great closure to 2 hard years of training.  My daughter flew up to Seattle for the ceremony and I managed to take her on a whirlwind tour of Seattle before the ceremony.  We then left Seattle and headed south to Portland where we stayed with some friends before driving home to CA.  I'm home now and studying like a madman.  Test prep was good and cleared up quite a bit, but also presented some new info that I hadn't been privy to, so the list of material grew a little and I'm working through some new stuff to get ready for exams.

I've been approved to test and should be at the Coast Guard sitting for exams in a few weeks, and a few others just put in their packets and should be getting approval letters within 3-4 weeks.  The race is on to see who gets their license first.  I'm not rushing myself, but I should be all done in a few weeks.  The pre-test anxiety is strong with this guy, but I know somehow I'll manage to pull it off.

For the next 2 weeks, I'm basically camped at the kitchen table with about 50 books, charts, laptop and various utensils.  The weather outside is beautiful, but this needs to get done and my sole purpose in life right now is to pass these exams.

I've mentioned it before, but the exam process consists of about 7 tests spread out over a week's time.  you get 3.5 hours for each exam and once you've finished, you can re-take any that you failed.  You get 2 re-takes on each module and you can't start the retakes until you've gone through all 7 for the first time.  The difficult part is that they don't tell you how you scored, only that you passed or failed, so you essentially never really know what you screwed up on.

At any rate, you just have to study hard and shoot for a 100% on all modules/exams so that you have a little cushion in there.  Some of the modules require a 90% to pass, others require a 70%.

I'm hoping to be knee deep in exams in 2 weeks from now, so hopefully this week and next week go well with regards to study-time. Still some barriers to bust through, but I'm confident that I'll get there.

Stay tuned for more chaos.