About Patricia

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Patricia has created 23 blog entries.

Minimum Freeboard

2019-06-16T14:05:40-07:00June 16th, 2019|Question of the Week|

At small angles of inclination, a vessel’s stability is indicated by her GM or metacentric height. But when a vessel encounters conditions that cause her to roll, heave, pitch, sway and yaw excessively, for example in heavy or rough seas, she needs reserve buoyancy to counter the effects of these forces. Reserve buoyancy is the volume of enclosed spaces above the waterline and is measured by freeboard. Generally, more [...]

QMED Endorsements for Engine Officers (No exam)

2019-01-05T21:28:20-08:00January 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|

In Policy Letter 04-18, the Coast Guard clarifies a requirement that technically became effective March 24, 2014.  Prior to that date, certain engineering officer endorsements allowed the holder to act as a Qualified Member of the Engine Department (QMED) even though the endorsement was not shown on the credential.  Per Policy Letter 04-18, this is no longer the case.  Because of this change, the Coast Guard is offering an opportunity to [...]

Radar Plotting Review

2018-10-13T12:23:14-07:00October 13th, 2018|Uncategorized|

While the requirement for Radar Renewal may be going away for some mariners, it's not gone yet and for others, mariners with limited recent sea-time, Radar Renewal may continue to be required.  Here is a link to a Radar Plotting Review just in case.

Bruce Sherman

2018-10-03T10:31:55-07:00October 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|

The director of our Engineering Program is Bruce Sherman.  A Northwest native, Bruce holds an unlimited horsepower Chief Engineers Motor License, and a 3rd Assistant Steam license. He is a graduate of Macalester College in landlocked Minnesota, and got his Engineers training at the MEBA’s Calhoon School in Baltimore. Bruce sailed for more than 30 years in all engine room licensed ratings. He was a plank holder on the M/V [...]

Towing Questions . . . and Answers

2018-09-25T15:02:09-07:00September 25th, 2018|Miscellaneous|

In response to the vast number of questions related to Towing Vessels — Subchapter M compliance, manning, etc. — the Coast Guard has created the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) and TugSafe Central. The sites, which link to each other, answer every imaginable question pertaining to the safe and legal operation of these vessels. TugSafe Central includes an Inspected Towing Vessel Decision Aid capable of generating a custom requirement list for a [...]

Radar Renewal Changes 7/22/19

2019-06-10T09:35:21-07:00September 17th, 2018|Miscellaneous|

Effective July 22, 2019, the long anticipated changes to the Radar Renewal requirements will be implemented.  The changes announced in the Federal Register of June 7, 2019 have been only slightly modified from the original proposal of June 18, 2018 and are as follows: A mariner who serves in a relevant position on board a radar-equipped vessel for 1 year in the previous 5 years will no longer be [...]


2018-10-14T12:04:37-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

It is hard to imagine the pleasure of drinking wine being diminished by not knowing the name of the indentation in the bottom of the wine bottle.  And plenty of shoes have been successfully tied by people who do not know the name of the thingamajig at the end of a shoelace.  It’s the same with ground tackle onboard ship.  Anchors have been heaved, weighed, dragged, dredged, kedged, dropped underfoot [...]

ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)

2018-10-13T23:51:17-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

Near Coastal and Celestial examinations for deck licenses will often include an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) problem. The more interesting of this type are trans-Pacific crossing the International Date Line. The trick to these problems is not to think — not to think about the Date Line or the date or the direction of travel.  Instead, translate all times (departure, elapsed and arrival) through Greenwich.For example: Here is a [...]

Get Smart, Go Astern

2018-10-13T23:45:42-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

In a study published in Psychological Science (May 2009), Dutch researchers determined that “Backward locomotion appears to be a very powerful trigger to mobilize cognitive resources.” The Rules of the Road anticipated this conclusion in Rule 8 by advising that “if a vessel needs more time to avoid collision or assess the situation, she shall slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her means [...]

Chart Projections

2018-10-04T20:02:10-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

In 1849, Dr. Samuel Birley Rowbotham published the pamphlet “Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe”  in which he asserted that the Earth is an enclosed plane, surrounded by the ice of Antarctica and (somehow) suspended over which are the stars, the Sun, the Moon and the planets. Nearly three hundred years later, the astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson found himself in a smackdown with Rowbotham soul-mate and rapper B.o.B., arguing that [...]

“Full and Down” Calculations

2018-10-04T20:16:22-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

“Full and Down” describes the desirable but rare condition in which a vessel has all her cargo space filled and is loaded down to her Plimsoll marks.  Achieving the state of “full and down”  requires some arithmetic.  The old examination bank of questions has three “full and down” problems, two of which require elementary algebra.  The new examination bank has dropped two of these questions leaving only one relatively simple calculation problem. Before [...]

Calculating Board Feet

2018-09-30T12:11:56-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

Occasionally it is necessary to calculate the number of board feet in a pile of lumber.  The key to the problem is knowing that a board foot is 1′ (long) x 1′ (wide) x 1″ (high).  In other words in every cubic foot of lumber (1′ x 1′ x 1′), there are 12 board feet; the cubic foot makes twelve 1-inch slices of wood. You are to load a consignment [...]

Marine Insurance & the Restraint of Rulers, Princes or People

2018-10-04T20:24:42-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

Masters and Chief Mates are occasionally asked the following question: What is an example of the term "Restraint of Rulers, Princes, or Peoples" in a marine insurance policy? A. A prohibition from loading a cargo from a country's government interference B. Arrest of a vessel by legal authorities to satisfy claims through exercise of a maritime lien C. Damage caused by riot of the population of a port D. Losses [...]

Submarine Emergency Identification Signals

2018-10-05T09:58:19-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

The US Navy has long authorized certain submarine emergency identification signals.  In the past, these signals could be found in Chapter 1 of a current Coast Pilot.  No more.  Notice to Mariners No. 1, the first publication each year of the weekly NTMs, includes a section called “Special Notice to Mariners Paragraphs” describing, among many other marine safety topics, the Submarine Emergency Identification Signals (I-1.12). USCG examinations will continue to include questions [...]

The Great Lakes

2018-10-05T09:48:35-07:00September 16th, 2018|Question of the Week|

In the past, with the exception of examinations specific to Great Lakes’ licenses, USCG “Rules of the Road” questions have not asked for the extended definition of these waters as described in Rule 3(m) Inland. They do now. The mnemonic “HOMES—H(uron), O(ntario), M(ichigan), E(rie), S(uperior)” no longer suffices to answer the questions “What is . . . “ and “What is not . . . “ considered part of the [...]

Reeving a Block

2018-10-05T10:34:55-07:00September 14th, 2018|Question of the Week|

Archimedes boasted “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” An application of the same mighty principle of leverage is found in the blocks and tackles that are used to lift weights on board ship and in the construction industry. “Give me a rope long enough, and I shall lift the world.” “Mechanical Advantage” is defined [...]