For those who didn’t already know, July in Houston can be brutal. It is very hot and muggy, and really cuts down on our ability to do work outside. Even in the morning it takes about ten minutes of doing anything before I start sweating, and one hour of boat work results in a tee shirt that is totally soaked.
As a result, we have cut back to half days. We spend the morning working on things for the boat, and then the afternoon is studying for our Coast Guard Masters exam. This is something we can do in air conditioned comfort. Laura and I are both taking this exam next Wednesday, August 6. It is scheduled for four hours and is designed to test us on the knowledge we need to safely captain a vessel up to 100 tons displacement on inland and international waters. It covers rules of the road, navigation and plotting, seamanship, and safety. We have both been working on this off and on for the past several months, but this last week has been a major push. We’re both getting close to being ready and Monday and Tuesday are scheduled as review days, with Wednesday being the exam. We’re confident we will pass.
A lot of people ask why we need a license from the Coast Guard. It is a way to have an official agency declare that you have the knowledge to captain a boat safely. As a result, it gives you a discount on boat insurance. When we get to Europe, some type of certification of competency is required, and this will fulfill that requirement. Also, we have both learned a lot from this class, probably more than we expected. Finally, (and being honest) there is a sense of satisfaction of having passed the exam, and knowing that if someone addresses us as “captain” (which is commonly used out of politeness, especially in foreign countries) that I actually earned that title.
So Wednesday is the testing day. We should get our results that day so we will know if we made it. After that, we need to get physicals, drug tests, take a CPR course, and fill out a ton of forms. Then it becomes a paperwork task to submit all this to the US Coast Guard, and wait for the bundle to be processed.
We will update this with our results. Wish us luck!