Live Free 2 Sail Fast

USCG Master’s Ticket,,,,(finally) my Captain’s License

After year’s of acquiring seatime and taking my two week course at the Maritime Institute in San Diego, CA and passing my Captain’s License Test with Towing and Sailing Endorsements,,,,I finally put together enough hours to qualify and earn my USCG Captain’s License.  I’m pretty stoked.  My wife keeps asking me what I’m going to do with it,,,,,I’m not sure, but I know the Rules of the Road pretty well now!

Stay with us, we’re at the San Diego Boat Show Today (Saturday) and will provide some info, pictures and of course my review when we’re done.


Seatime toward my Captain’s License

Last year in January I attended school here in San Diego to prep for the USCG Captain’s License Test and passed it.  However, when I turned in all my professional paperwork, the Coast Guard didn’t count any of my hours prior to age 16, so I wasn’t able to qualify for my actual license last January.  This year, I used as much time as I could on the water making up those hours and acquiring seatime.  I’ve put my licensing package back together and reapplied with the Coast Guard, now waiting to see when the actual license will be issued.   We’ve been boatless since November, I miss having a boat to go down to the water on.

A Happy New Year’s Wish for 2018

Photo Credit to HotWife using an iPhone

From our humble desert paradise to wherever you might be in the world during this last day of the western calendar, I want to reach out and wish you a safe and happy New Year.

I’m glad 2017 is over and I’m looking forward to 2018.  For us here at LF2SF, 2018 will bring some significant changes that I’m totally looking forward to.  We’ll be buying a another bluewater cruising sailboat, selling our house, retiring and moving as a family to start a new chapter in our lives.  I’ve re-applied for my 100GT/OUPV USCG Captain’s License and we’re continuing to travel on land as family.  That’s ALOT of change in one year,  but I think both me and my wife have thought it through enough that we’ll make it work and flourish.

If you’re one of our awesome followers or new to this website, stick with us and experience the adventure as we go.

Happy New Year! 

Working on her Captain’s License w/Mariner’s Learning System-

First, Happy Friday-

I decided I wanted to re-blog this story about Annie working on her Captain’s License using Mariner’s Learning System.  I’ve heard lots of great things about Captain Figular and Mariner’s Learning System from someone I used to work with; who I respect very much, who also took the test after using the same study system.  He passed with flying colors and he highly recommended using the same system to study for the Coast Guard Test.  After thinking through the whole process and knowing how crazy my own life is sometimes, I thought I would have to go a different way.  In a past life I came literally within one class of finishing my Masters Degree while doing online night classes, but just didn’t finish in the 7 (YES, seven) year timeline required to finish a whole Masters Program.  There were interruptions that I couldn’t help during those years so I came within one class from finishing.  Yes, I regret not finishing but I’ve moved on.  So, knowing about my own study habits, I went to a two week actual classroom setting at the Maritime Institute in San Diego.  It was fantastic and I met some really great people in the class from all over the United States.  I didn’t think it would be a big class, but there were 20 other students,,,,most with more experience than me.  I actually learned the material.  It WAS NOT a giveaway test, it was hard. I nearly failed, but did pass all the modules of the test after all.  I’ve included Annie’s story below and the links to my past stories.

If you like her writing, give her blog a look and consider following her.  Her site is: Have Wind Will Travel.

Tow lights, fog horns, distress signals … OH MY! As many of you know, I am currently studying for my Captain’s License and *man* is some of this stuff mind-boggling. I chose to do the study-at-your-own-pace program through Mariner’s Learning System and have been very pleased with the decision. Captain Bob Figular who runs the […]


via Captain’s Quiz! — Have Wind Will Travel

Making Progress through the National Maritime Center

Ugghhhh, the Coast Guard Licensing process is slow and really backed up right now, so I’m still waiting on my actual Coast Guard License.  But, lots of progress.  Since taking my class in January, my package/application for Captain’s License has made it through the Processing Center in Long Beach and was forwarded to the US Coast Guard National Maritime Center.  This place is the clearinghouse for ALL US Merchant Mariner credentials, even for us folks who only want to get a “Six Pack” or 100 Ton License.  My package has worked its way through the various wickets.  I was thrilled when it cleared the medical portion, then I received my actual Merchant Mariner Medical Credential in the mail.  Recently, my package moved from Ready to be Evaluated to Being Evaluated for Professional Qualifications.  This stage is where the rubber meets the road, they evaluate the boats/ships you’ve been on and your sea time.  If you don’t pass this stage,,,,you have to go back and start finding Captain’s Logs and other information to prove your sea time, a long process.

Graphic on the process is below:

Captain’s Licensing process through the National Maritime Center

We (as a family) continue to work to improve Tulum IV even if she’s for sale and move toward our ultimate goal of cruising Central America, the Caribbean and over to the Med.  We’re getting there, slowly.

Here’s more info from some other stuff on my Captain’s License:

If you like us, FOLLOW US,,,,stay timely


Continuing to improve the boat- Tulum IV

You may have noticed the lack of posts this week, it was a long week.  After working a parlay with my wife;  we broke away from the desert paradise to check on the boat. We needed to make sure she was ok after the high winds and rough weather San Diego had in the last few weeks.   We had nothing to worry about.  Not only do we have a great broker (at Yachtfinders/Windseakers) who checked on her for us, but she looked great when we got on board this morning.  I was surprised to find NO leaks after all the rain and winds and find that she looked really good.  As is our fairly normal routine when we check on her; we try to detail clean new spots, shine the brass and put down a layer of Lemon Oil on the Teak.  Wow,,,,does our Teak soak up the Lemon Oil and love it.  When we leave, she shines and smells great, looking better than when we came onboard.

Last week, our crack mechanic fixed several pieces on the engine and generator and will make several more small improvements this coming week.  Here’s the exhaust elbow he replaced on the Northern Lights Generator last week:

New Exhaust Elbow
New Exhaust Elbow

Might not seem significant, but to me it’s a huge improvement as the old one had a huge crack and was probably original,,,,like 17 years old original.  I’m excited to be constantly improving the boat and will keep doing that until she sells.  She’s a sailboat in great shape that will make a new owner very happy.

On a side note, I took the time to get all my paperwork together for the Coast Guard Examiners at the Regional Exam Center and overnight mailed it in, so the processing can start on my Coast Guard License….yeah!

For those of you who read this in far flung places around the world,,,thank you.  For those of you who have followed in this last week, thank you too.  Keep it up, we’re trying to grow and improve.

via Daily Prompt: Parlay

Successful Captain’s License Class

Good evening:

I successfully passed my OUPV/Master up to 100 Gross Ton Course and both the Towing and Sailing Endorsements.  BUT, while this was a heck of an accomplishment because I wasn’t the sharpest person in the class, it’s NOT an actual Coast Guard License, that’s a hurdle I still need to get through.  This post is going to focus on the requirements for the class I just finished and my own pre-conceptions.  Another post this week will discuss in more detail what’s needed for the license.

Requirements to get into and pass a Maritime Institute OUPV/100 Ton Master Course:

  1. Payment for the course
  2. Charting Tools
  3. Pass all four modules of the USCG Test (really hard)

Ok, let me explain this a bit further.  The school has both online and classroom courses, but there’s no pre-requisites to get into the courses.  There are a number of hurdles and pre-requisites to getting the actual OUPV/Master of 100 Gross Ton Coast Guard License, with successful completion of the test being one of them.  And, be warned that if you don’t have all these license pre-requisites done before you take the test (anywhere), the test is only good for one year from the date you take it.

Some of my own assumptions prior to going to the course:

  1. I thought I could have passed the test by doing it online or out of a book, but I wasn’t sure:  I could NOT have passed this test by doing it online or out of a book.  It’s not that I’m that dumb,,,but I’m not the smartest at some of these subjects and I would have had the distractions of work, family, house and other things taking away from concentrated study time.  For me, going to class and immersing myself in the subjects for two weeks was a wise decision.  I missed my family terribly and felt guilty for leaving for two weeks, but I know that this is the only way I would have passed the test.
  2. I’m a pretty sharp guy,,,,the test couldn’t be as hard as some of my friends told me? :  Wrong, so wrong.  The test was as hard as the internet and some of my friends told me about, probably even harder.  A friend who took the test before me at another school is much sharper than me and said it was really no big deal,,,,but the section he scored 100% on were a real struggle for me.
  3. I’ve got years on boats, have done charting and have a college degree, how hard could this two-week course be? :  Well, I never sat in the college classroom for 8 hours of the same subjects EVER and being on a boat and doing charting is waaay different from sitting in the classroom and trying to do it.  I also wasn’t expecting some of the more advanced navigation and the use of multiple formulas just to solve one charting solution.
  4. When I signed up in early December, I was sent the box of books and a notice on what to study before attending class:  I should have paid more attention to the notice on what to pre-study and the nice lady on the phone who said to read everything and come to class well prepared.  Not doing this put me at a disadvantage that took extra hours of studying to make up for.
  5. With the money that I’m paying to attend this course,,,,I’ll sail right through:  Again, could not be further from the truth.  This is a Coast Guard certified school and course.  Even paying a pricey amount to take this course, it’s NOT a gimme.  I had to study at least three hours per night and complete at least 40 minutes of homework and I took most of the weekend in the. middle of the course to study.  Not everyone passes this course, so don’t expect to sail through without putting in your time.
  6. The class will be filled with a bunch of salty Merchant Mariners and Fishermen with beards.  Everyone attending the class will have years on ships and be ready to get their licenses as soon as they finish the class:  Again, I was wrong about this in spades.  The class demographics was nothing like I expected; while there was one professional fisherman attending the course with a myriad of experience, there was a diverse demographic in the course.  Of the 20 people in the class; there were women, diver operators, a whale researcher, kayak and canoe operators, business owners, professional towboat operators (TowBoat US) and others.  Some didn’t appear to have their hours on the water completely done (some did) and most didn’t have all their Coast Guard Paperwork done.  And, much to my surprise there were people from all over the country who came to the Maritime Institute Course because of its reputation.  We had folks from New York City, Maine, Ohio, Northern California and other places far and near.

Honestly, there were people in the class with much more experience and practice than me and I only passed this test because I took the class, material and my time in class seriously and worked my tail off to pass.  I do have all my time on the water done and I have all my US Coast Guard paperwork done, my TWIC card done and will be sending in my completed package in the next month or so.  Even once you do this, you’re not guaranteed any certain license, the Coast Guard examiner approves only what they think you’re eligible for.  So, even if you took the test for 100 Gross Tons and below, you may only get an approved OUPV or 25 Ton Near Coastal,,,,it’s up to the Coast Guard.

Here’s a class photo taken the day before the test:

January OUPV/100 GT Masters Course at Maritime Institute
January OUPV/100 GT Masters Course at Maritime Institute

Next couple posts I’ll discuss what the pre-requisites are and how one goes about getting them done.  If you’ve read this far and liked what you saw so far, why not follow this blog and see where we go? 

via Daily Prompt: Successful

Favorite deli on the last full day of class

Good evening from rainy and cold Southern California:

Today was the last day of full class session in my work to get my USCG Captain’s 100 Ton/OUPV License before test day and I was overworked with the full class review; my mind was mush.  I needed a break and knew that I needed to check Tulum IV to make sure she was dry after all the rain that San Diego has been getting.  I took a long walk to her dock and checked her out,,,,not a drop of wetness anywhere below decks, which was a huge relief.   Then, I just had to go get a sandwich at my favorite Deli in San Diego, Ca, right on the water and always fresh.  If you’re in San Diego, make sure to check out Pearson’s Marine Fuel Dock Deli in Point Loma, you won’t be disappointed.


Favorite San Diego Deli,,,in Point Loma. And, you can drive your boat or car up to it and get an awesome sandwich or salad
Favorite San Diego Deli,,,in Point Loma. And, you can drive your boat or car up to it and get an awesome sandwich or salad

Sticker to represent the Blog-

Yep, our sticker’s now at the school to represent the blog,,an invitation to all to check out our site,,(till it gets removed!)


Nautical Weekend in San Diego

Because of the marathon of classwork and homework I’ve had over the week, I needed a break between studying, so we made it a Nautical weekend.  On break between studies, we took a few hours to check out the Star of India, the HMS Surprise and several other ships in the Museum.  The Star of India is the oldest working sailing ship in the world, still able to sail and still getting refitted to keep her afloat.  She’s a sweet ship full of history here on the San Diego waterfront.

Here’s our pics, all shot on IPhone’s.

Looking forward on the Star Of India, Port Side
Looking forward on the Star Of India, Port Side
Looking Stern on the Star of India, Port Side
Looking Stern on the Star of India, Port Side
Massive Masts
Massive Masts
HMS Surprise, also starred in Pirates of the Caribbean
HMS Surprise, also starred in Pirates of the Caribbean
Looking aft on the Surprise, tarps to keep all the rain off her teak decks
Looking aft on the Surprise, tarps to keep all the rain off her teak decks
One of the guns on Surprise, look for this gun by name in "Master and Commander"
One of the guns on Surprise, look for this gun by name in “Master and Commander”