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Thread: First Class Pilot - Local Knowledge exams

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    Wolfesown47th is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Default First Class Pilot - Local Knowledge exams

    I am currently preparing to test for Great Lakes Pilotage. The chart sketches I am not overly concerned about. The Local Knowledge portion is another matter. I know the questions come from the Coast Pilot, but I don't think study of the Coast Pilot is a effective way to prepare for such a large area, we are talking about hundreds of pages. It seems to me the question bank must exist somewhere, but have not had much luck on that front. Anyone have a lead on that or some other advice?
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    GLMAscott is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfesown47th
    I am currently preparing to test for Great Lakes Pilotage. The chart sketches I am not overly concerned about. The Local Knowledge portion is another matter. I know the questions come from the Coast Pilot, but I don't think study of the Coast Pilot is a effective way to prepare for such a large area, we are talking about hundreds of pages. It seems to me the question bank must exist somewhere, but have not had much luck on that front. Anyone have a lead on that or some other advice?
    Seriously? Doesn't mason have the questions? I graduated three years ago and when I took it, I had every question asked all the way back to1990. Mason gave us the packet when we started license prep. They ask the same questions over and over. The local knowledge is the easiest part of the test, just read over the questions a few times just before you take it, presto you get 100%. I hate to say it but if you have no clue what I'm talking about then some idiot screwed it up for everyone and the coast guard changed their test. Good luck!
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    Wolfesown47th is offline gCaptain Crew
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    I don't go to GLMA, I'm a hawsepiper. I have my doubts about calling up there and expecting them to give me anything, but what you describe is exactly what I expected to be able to do.
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    GLMAscott is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfesown47th
    I don't go to GLMA, I'm a hawsepiper. I have my doubts about calling up there and expecting them to give me anything, but what you describe is exactly what I expected to be able to do.
    Oh sorry man, I just assumed. I'm working until Wednesday, but when I get home I'll look around to see if I have that packet and I'll send it to you. If i don't have them, i can get ahold of them somehow if you'd like. But I'm sure they would have no problem sending them to you, ask for bob mason, he does everything with pilotage. Honestly you are screwed without the questions, some of the questions are so off the wall. One example that I can remember, what is the controlling depth of the ( I forget the name of the STREAM) .... Answer.... 7ft. A lot of questions a very specific with numbers asking heights of overhead cables, or channel widths, or maximum depth of the lakes. Other questions are super easy like asking for the predominant winds in the fall or what VHF channel is for the VTS. Anyway, good luck
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    subatomicstang is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Good luck. Some of this stuff seems overwhelming but keep your head up and chug along.
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    Wolfesown47th is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Default Re: First Class Pilot - Local Knowledge exams

    GLMAscott,

    I know Bob Mason retired a year or two ago. He taught a radar class I took there a number of years ago, I think it must have been in '08. I think i'm going to call up there, I really have nothing to loose by doing so. Any idea who might have replaced him? Always helps to have a name.

    I know someone who did it without the questions. He made an outline of each chapter of the coast pilot and studied the hell out of it, and passed. I'm sure I could pull that off if I had no other choice, but it seems to be a really piss poor way to spend study time.

    Thanks in advance for looking thru your stuff for it.
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    Default Re: First Class Pilot - Local Knowledge exams

    He's still there, hasn't retired yet. He teaches lakes piloting and a guy by the name John Biolchini teaches river piloting. From what I heard from guys who tested last month the local knowledge questions were even more ridiculous than they were prepared for. Like Scott said, questions about lakes that aren't even accessible by anything larger than a canoe and their depths. I'm sure if you called they would be more than willing to help you out.
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    GLMAscott is offline gCaptain Crew
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    The staff is really small too, when I went there there were only two full time teachers for the deck department, bob mason and mike surgalski. I heard of this bowl a chili guy, I guess he's gearing up to take the masons spot. But anyway, it doesn't matter who you talk to in the deck department, they will help you out and will know what your asking for. Just don't ask for the superintendent, I hear bad things about him.
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    Default Re: First Class Pilot - Local Knowledge exams

    What is this First Class Pilot Licence entitled you to pilot !!!

    I think there is First Class Pilot Licence and First Class Pilot Licence ... because to get my First Class Pilot Licence, you need ...

    - an approved nautical college degree (4 years)
    - a master licence
    - a minimum of 24 months of sea time on vessels subject to compulsory pilotage
    - 24 months of pilotage apprenticeship
    - all kinds of studies on simulators and classrooms followed by examinations
    - written and oral examinations before a panel of First Class Pilots, Coast Guards and maritime professionals
    - 8 years of pilotage time to get a fully First Class Pilot Licence

    Not that easy ...
    A foreign captain react whereas a local pilot anticipate.
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    tugsailor is offline Top Contributer
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    Default Re: First Class Pilot - Local Knowledge exams

    In the US, the term "Pilot" means different things, under different circumstances, in different places. There are federal pilots, and state pilots. There are bar pilots, river pilots, and docking pilots.

    To get a license as a federal, i.e. USCG licensed, First Class Pilot one needs certain amount of qualifying seatime ( as I recall its 1440 days for a near coastal route) and a certain number of trips (typically 20) over each pilotage route applied for. The license exam is about the same as 1600 ton master. Then one must " write pilotage" for the route ( draw in all the aids to navigation, courses and distances, and so on, for the route.

    On the Mississippi River and its tributaries the "pilot" is the term they use for mate. I will let someone else describe how the term pilot is used on the Great Lakes.

    Often ferry pilots will have worked up from deckhand on one particular ferry.

    Most, if not all, bar pilots and harbor pilots (who bring in ships) are required to have state pilot licenses in addition to federal licenses. Typically, the state pilots control the qualifications and the state Board of Pilotage. The most essential qualification is to a have relative who is a pilot. Most of these state pilotage systems are run on nepotism, cronyism and corruption. Others only admit very highly qualified applicants with substantial seagoing experience on unlimited tonnage vessels.

    Some places have separate docking pilots that control the tugs and land and sail the ships. Typically these docking pilots are supplied by the tug companies and are former tug masters. As far as I understand it, they only have federal pilot licenses.

    I am sure others here will have better local knowledge about what is required to become a pilot in various places.
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    fullbell is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topsail View Post
    What is this First Class Pilot Licence entitled you to pilot !!!

    I think there is First Class Pilot Licence and First Class Pilot Licence ... because to get my First Class Pilot Licence, you need ...

    - an approved nautical college degree (4 years)
    - a master licence
    - a minimum of 24 months of sea time on vessels subject to compulsory pilotage
    - 24 months of pilotage apprenticeship
    - all kinds of studies on simulators and classrooms followed by examinations
    - written and oral examinations before a panel of First Class Pilots, Coast Guards and maritime professionals
    - 8 years of pilotage time to get a fully First Class Pilot Licence

    Not that easy ...
    I think you are mixing up requirements for 2 different things. This thread is about Federal pilotage issued by the USCG, which only entitles the holder to pilot U.S. flag vessels engaged in domestic trade. The additional requirements you describe sound like State pilotage requirements from one of the coastal States. A State pilot license permits the holder to pilot foreign flag vessels as well as U.S. flag vessels in foreign trade.
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    GLMAscott is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topsail
    What is this First Class Pilot Licence entitled you to pilot !!!

    I think there is First Class Pilot Licence and First Class Pilot Licence ... because to get my First Class Pilot Licence, you need ...

    - an approved nautical college degree (4 years)
    - a master licence
    - a minimum of 24 months of sea time on vessels subject to compulsory pilotage
    - 24 months of pilotage apprenticeship
    - all kinds of studies on simulators and classrooms followed by examinations
    - written and oral examinations before a panel of First Class Pilots, Coast Guards and maritime professionals
    - 8 years of pilotage time to get a fully First Class Pilot Licence

    Not that easy ...
    There are several different pilot tests/licenses. One for every river and lake. I have three rivers, Detroit, st Mary's, and st Clair, and all five lakes, which is the minimum to work as a mate on the lakes. There is a few extras like the welland canel, a few smaller rivers, and of course the st Lawrence sea way.
    Every pilot association has its own requirements on what you need to become a pilot on that body of water. For the Great Lakes all you need is a mates license with no sea time on the license but you do need 12 round trips on each river and three trips on the lakes, which can be done while you are unlicensed/cadet.
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