June 12, 2014 
In this issue:
- The Captain's Spotlight shines on Captain Ferdinand Magellan this week! Yes, really!
- The Captain's Corner continues our discussion about life jackets. 
-The topic in Frequently Asked Questions this week is "What if I have a record?" 
- Don't forget to check out and pass along the dates of our next Captain's License Classes. Only one seat left in the evening class that starts next week!
- Our online classes are one of the most convenient ways ever to get your Captain's License. Make sure you get a look at how it works.   See "Our Live Online Classes" at the bottom of this page.
We hope you enjoy this issue and look forward to your suggestions and feedback!


Lori and Rachel Cortez

CQuest Marine 

(510) 573-0641


Captain's Spotlight
To continue our Captain Spotlight series, CQuest Marine would like to introduce Captain Ferdinand Magellan!

You may wonder, in a newsletter geared toward modern day passenger vessel Captains, why we would choose to highlight a Portuguese explorer like Ferdinand Magellan. Didn't we get enough of these guys back in our high school history class? Maybe, but maybe not in the context to make his travels and discoveries exciting to us.


In guiding our future Captains through the material we study for their Captain's License exams, we find that the Navigation section surprises a majority of our students. Many come in wondering about having to learn about paper charts when all they need is their good old GPS. By the time we're done they are pretty amazed at what they're able to do and find they actually enjoyed it!


Think paper charts are old school? Can you imagine setting off across the ocean with your only navigation tools being the sun and stars, an early form of magnetic compass, and charts that only covered part of your journey? Can you imagine when the Atlantic Ocean was known only as the Ocean Sea, and the Pacific was unknown?


Ferdinand Magellan is world renowned, even after nearly 500 years, for having organized and captained the first expedition to circumnavigate the Earth. Magellan's voyage provided the proof that the world was round. 

Read more





Captain's Corner

Weekly questions about the ins and outs of running a passenger vessel.

What About Life Jackets?
Part Three

Last week's article was all about inflatables, so this week we'll focus on the "Inherently Buoyant" life jackets.   


Inspected passenger vessels are required to carry Type I life jackets for each passenger on board. Uninspected vessels like "Six-pack" charters can choose between the Type V commercial hybrid inflatables we wrote about last week and the Type I PFDs. 


Type I PFDs or Offshore Life Jackets feature high buoyancy to keep wearers afloat, even in open or rough water where rescue is often delayed. These life jackets are required to be international orange, a color not often found in nature, making them highly visible in the marine environment. Type I life jackets are designed to turn most unconscious wearers face-up to prevent drowning. 


Although they perform well in hazardous water environments, Type I PFDs can be bulky, making extended wear uncomfortable. However,  in the event of an unexpected submersion, chances are you won't be able to put your PFD on and may risk losing it altogether.


The USCG requires that Type I PFDs have a minimum of 22 pounds of buoyancy. In PFD design, buoyancy is the force, measured in pounds, necessary to keep an individual's head and chin above the water's surface. Adults generally need seven to twelve pounds of buoyancy to stay afloat. Many factors, including a wearer's weight, body fat ratio, lung size, attire and water conditions play a part in how much buoyancy is needed to effectively keep a person above water. As a general rule, the more physically fit someone is, the more buoyancy is required to keep them afloat. 


Manufacturers recommend inspecting your life jacket annually or whenever there is a reason to question the safety provided. Visual inspection should include checking the shoulder areas for separation or slippage of the foam liners. Seams should be inspected to ensure they are not separating, tearing or fraying. Any zippers should move easily and be in good overall condition. Snaps, straps, buckles and all other fasteners should be in good working order. 


The buoyancy should also be tested in a safe in-water situation, dressed in the clothing you would generally wear while using it. To test the buoyancy of a PFD, tilt your head back while wearing it in the water and relax your body. Your chin should be well above the water without water lapping over your face or mouth. If your chin is not above the water level, try adjusting the fit or consider replacing it.


Life jackets must be stored properly, not in a compressed state or near any heat source which may cause damage. Significant discoloration may indicate UV damage that weakens the exposed fabric and materials. Mold and mildew should not be present.


Any PFDs which fail the inspection process should be replaced. The Coast Guard requires that life jackets on board passenger vessels must be properly maintained in good serviceable condition. 


Here's a tip from the Mustang Survival website in case of mildew:


(EWWW! I think this one is beyond help!)



How do I remove mildew from my Mustang Survival garment? 

The best way to remove mildew is to never let it start - prevention is the key. Always store your boating equipment and garments in a dry and well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight, and be sure to avoid stowage in areas that are prone to high humidity or significant temperature fluctuations.

You can try the following steps to help neutralize and limit the spread of mildew on the garment:

1. Soak in a solution of 2 cups of salt per gallon of warm water
2. Scrub affected mildew areas
3. Rinse with clean, fresh water
4. Hang to dry in a well ventilated area
5. Once dry, hand wash with an antibacterial soap and warm water
6. Rinse with clean, fresh water
7. Hang to dry in a well ventilated area
8. Store in a dry place out of direct sunlight 



Our Live Online Classes
A New Way to Get Your Captain's License! 
We have received an approval from the Coast Guard to conduct all of our Captain's License Classes in an online format. These are NOT the sit-by-yourself-in-front-of-the-computer classes that you may have seen elsewhere. These are live, online, face-to-face by webcam classes with an instructor and five students at a time on a secure platform. 
It's a new and convenient way to get your license:  
- Easy to fit into your schedule  
- All course materials will be mailed to you 
- No daily traffic hassles  
Find out more about our online classes here:

In This Issue
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Our Next Captain's License Classes
There are still a few seats left in each of these classes!

Start Dates:
June 16 Evening Class
(Only One Seat Left!)
July 7 Day Class
July 21 Evening Class
Aug 4 Day Class
Aug 18 Evening Class
Remember the Coast Guard is currently taking 8 - 10 weeks to process license applications and our Summer Classes are starting to fill up!
Give us a call to reserve your seat!
510 573-0641
Check out our website for classes scheduled throughout the rest of the year.

Frequently Asked Questions
Here we cover the Who - What - Where - When - Why and How of Captain's Licensing

Last week we covered the Top 10 Common Errors that cause delays for License Applicants.
Did number 10 raise a question? What is a
Conviction Statement?
One of the concerns we hear most often is: "What if I've got a record?" Many people worry that their "youthful indiscretions" (or sometimes recent ones!) will keep them from getting their Captain's License. 
In our experience, an applicant with a conviction may have to jump through a few extra hoops. While quite a few of our CQuest Captains have had to say "yes" to one or more of the questions asked on the Coast Guard application, we are not aware of any that have been denied a license because of it.
Click this link to the questions on the Coast Guard application form 
(Page 2, Section III - Narcotics, DWI/DUI, and Conviction Record)
For any question answered "yes", a statement of explanation must be included with the application to the Coast Guard. 
The "Conviction Statement" must include the following information:
- Approximate date of the Conviction
- Where (San Francisco, Alameda County, etc.)
- Convicted of what with details, not the California code number only
- Disposition (paid fine, jailed, probation, etc.)
-If jailed, date of release
Court papers alone are not sufficient. The statement must be signed and dated by the mariner and it must be stated that there are no other convictions.
Click for a sample letter of explanation.

While we are not in a position to make any decisions regarding our students' applications, we have been helping our CQuest Captains submit applications for ten years now. We probably haven't heard EVERYTHING yet, but we've heard a lot! 
If you want to know the answer to "What if I've got a record?" give us a call and tell us your story! We'll share what we know and help you find the answers for your situation from the Coast Guard. 
Email us here and send questions for future issues!

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