The industry continues to drag itself into the modern age when it comes to licensing and renewals for the certificates we all need. I recently read of a course offering that will save some money and make a radar renewal a bit more convenient, I hope.
Calhoon MEBA Engineering School has announced a program that will allow you to study online for your radar re-cert and then travel to a satellite exam center to test. As far as I know, it is available to all with payment, not just the MEBA membership. I have no direct knowledge of how well this works or doesn’t.
I just had a chance to look this over this morning and believe I may take advantage of this in 2014 when I’m up for renewal. Presently the quoted $235.00 price is reasonable when you factor in the ever dwindling amount of brick and mortar schools that offer this course in reach of most candidates. I know I’d rather avoid a five hour round trip to my nearest maritime academy for what amounts to a 10 question quiz.
We all know the one day radar renewal course is actually a practice session in the morning and an exam after lunch. You have to show up ready to test, you either pass or fail. If you fail you’re given a price for the extended renewal course and you’ll need to re-test at the end of that. Add three days plus expenses to the total.
The USCG REC’s do not offer the tests anymore and haven’t for quite a while. You’re forced to pay and attend an approved “school” and get your cert. The classes offered invariably run from the full five day soup-to-nuts class to variations of the renewal curriculum anywhere from one to three days. Add lodging, meals, gas and tolls and it can add up to a sizable chunk of change.
The online course touts its unfettered access to instructors and the benefit of studying online at your leisure. The course provides a nice radar emulator which does a good job of presenting a radar screen and target advance in real time. All the forms you’ll need for plotting are available and are shipped within a day of payment.
This is what sells the program; You then can schedule the test near your home using the Prometric Center Locator.
You make an appointment and can show up ready to test without feeling rushed or unprepared. Not everyone will have the benefit of a testing center inside of fifty miles, but a lot of us will. If nothing else, it’s an option.
To see if the offering will be convenient for you, check your proximity to a testing center , select “locate a test center” and select radar observer re-certification online. Select your location from the drop-down menu to find a test center.
Just thought it sounded like something worth checking into. Anyone with direct first hand knowledge is welcome to add what they feel is relevant.