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There are 24 Q.E.s in our district, serving in three areas. The Area Q.E. Coordinators (AQEC) are: Tim Hoffman, Rick Tamraz and Ben Plachta.
Requests for a Q.E. for a 3rd year check ride are made to the AQEC by your FC, FSO-OP or FSO-MT. These request forms can be found in the Auxiliary Boat Crew Training Manual ( COMDTINST M16794.51A ) dated January 2007 (Appendix F and G). There are links to forms and manuals listed below. The request is made to the AQEC according to which CG Station issues the patrol orders for the check ride.
The request for an initial Crew or Coxswain oral board and check ride is also made to the AQEC after both the Trainee and the assigned Mentor both feel the Trainee has completed all tasks so that he/she can perform the tasks efficiently, safely and without prompting.
The AQES are assigned according to the following CG Station list:
Ben Plachta firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Tamraz: email@example.com
Tim Hoffman: firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage you ( the Crew or Coxswain) to practice your skills on the same AUXFAC that you will be doing your check ride.
Here are some suggestions that may help you be successful with your CREW check ride:
Pre-underway check: Use the pre-underway check list, but have a good working knowledge of where the equipment is located.
Pre-underway brief: participate in the GAR discussion. Don't be afraid to voice any concerns you might have about any of the six categories.
Correctly don the proper PPE: you must have the required equipment: light, whistle, mirror and reflective tape in good condition attached to the PPE. If you wear a SAR vest, the equipment should be in the proper storage compartment. Don't overload your SAR vest with personal items that interfere access to the required equipment. Make sure your light works. The equipment must be properly secured. If in doubt, consult your Division PPE Officer.
Physical requirements: As a Member in the Boat Crew Program (this includes Coxswains and PWO), you must demonstrate the skill, ability and endurance to perform all qualification tasks utilizing the process established in the appropriate qualification guide as established by the Commandant.
The trainee must successfully perform each task personally, without assistance
East task must be performed with little hesitation
Each task must be performed with confidence
Each task must be formed safely
The Q.E. can cancel the patrol at anytime if he has concerns about safety of the Crew or AUXFAC. The AUXFAC must be properly equipped.
Handling mooring lines: When given a command, repeat the command, do the assigned task, report that the task has a been completed.
Stand a helm watch: You must be able to "drive the boat". When given a course and speed, find your course first, than adjust your speed. LOOK WHERE YOU ARE GOING, don't get focused on the compass and speed indicator.
Stand a lookout watch: report objects in relative bearings and distances in yards or nautical miles.
Man Overboard: when you see a (simulated) PIW, point clearly until relieved, throw a floating datum if requested by the Coxswain, (discuss this procedure prior to the patrol). Be prepared for an INDIRECT PICKUP, that is, if requested, throw a rescue line to bring the PIW to the boat, or if close enough, use the HANDLE end of an extended boathook as an extension device. Brace yourself so a panicked person won't pull you overboard. Be able to deploy the boarding ladder, know where the blankets and first aid kit is, prepared to give an assessment of the victim.
Know how to tie the following, quickly and efficiently:
sheet (or Becket) bend
round turn and half hitch (or two half hitches)
Towing a disabled vessel:
Be able to communicate by voice or radio
Determine the difference between disabled and distress
Don't commit to towing until the Coxswain gives the command
When passing a tow line, be prepared to use a heaving line or skiff hook or bridle. The choice will be the Coxswains, but whatever the choice, you must be ready.
Report to the Coxswain if the throw was or was not successful
DO NOT place, or take a turn on your cleat or bitt until the person on the disabled vessel has it on their cleat and has their hands free of the line
Keep your hands and fingers clear while making up your tow line
Keep the tow line clear of your props and report any hazards immediately to the Coxswain
Keep the Coxswain informed as to the progress of hooking up the towline and any concerns on the disabled vessel
report the towed vessel in relative bearings
report the tow line as light medium or heavy strain
Special comments on the phrase "line in the water". This phrase is not listed in our manuals, but common usage is that it means a "HAZARD" and should NOT be used to report a tow line that routinely dips in the water with good catenary.
Know the tow line numbers (1,2,3,4) and where they should be placed. Pass the "eye" and not the bitter end.
Anticipate which lines will be used, and be ready when you get a command to pass, take out slack, take a strain, and make up a tow line.
Place fenders properly to avoid hull contact. Have a roving fender ready for quick deployment.
Know how to deploy the anchor. However the AUXFAC is equipped, it is your responsibility to know the Crew's duties during anchoring. If you have to manually lower the anchor, use the hand over hand technique, don't let the line slide. Once anchored, get two lines of position (LOP) that are approximately 60 to 120 degrees, 90 being optimum. NOT 180 degrees.
Know the scope ratios and formula. Add the height of the gunnel to the water depth BEFORE multiplying by 5 or 7 or 10, not after. Make up the bitt or cleat from the correct direction, so that when breaking it down, you don't have the strain of the scope working against you.
Weighing anchor, let the Coxswain know where the anchor line is AT ALL TIMES. Don't allow the anchor line to build up under the boat. It's very important to COMMUNICATE during this procedure.
Special comments about the anchoring task: The Q.E.s get a lot of comments about why we have anchoring as a currency task, since "we never anchor on patrol". My answer is, "if we should ever have to anchor, it will probably be under less than ideal conditions and if we didnt have it as a task, we'd never practice it".
Remember, the Q.E. can and will ask you about any basic Crew topic during the 3rd year check ride. Go back to your initial oral board tasks to review. Proper radian procedure, first aid, basic navigation, basic Nav rules, and crew duties are all within the broad category of what the Q.E. might ask. The questions WILL NOT be trick question, we want you to pass, not fail.
Those who are taking the 3rd year check ride (Crew or Coxswain) will be asked to complete a Q.E. evaluation and mail it to the OTO.
Click here for the Q.E. Evaluation form
Here are some suggestions that may help you be successful with your COXSWAIN check ride:
Pre-underway check and brief: you may delegate this to a trusted Crew, but any missed equipment will still be your responsibility. Make sure that all rings have been removed and other jewelry has been removed according to your Order Issuing Authority Op order.
Conduct a risk management DISCUSSION, usually a GAR. Ask the more junior Members their opinions first.
Ensure that all Crew have proper PPE and basic equipment. All survival equipment must be functional and tethered. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Feel free to discuss the check ride with the Q.E. We want you to know what we expect and for you to be comfortable. We will not try to trick you, but you must have a fundamental knowledge of navigation and search patterns.
If you have a GPS with a chart plotter, clear the tracks prior to getting underway. This may help you if you are asked to do a track line search for a man overboard or missing equipment. Also, we may use the track line to assess the search pattern.
You may be asked to chart a course to go from point A to point B. You will have to chart on a paper chart your course, speed and time (usually, you will be allowed to do this dockside, before getting underway). You may be asked to demonstrate that you are at the location after running that course.
Make sure you assign Crew with their duties. Communicate clearly what you expect them to do. Create an atmosphere of cooperation and not intimidation.
You will be required to be at the helm during most of the check ride, especially during the stern and side tow. You may have a Crew take the helm during the search patterns if you choose.
Datum: throwing a floatation to the PIW is your choice (depending on circumstances). Sometimes, it's best to discuss this with your Crew before leaving the dock.
You need to demonstrate that you can do a direct pick up. You will be asked to maneuver your vessel along side the PIW.
Don't forget to report (or have a Crew report) to the Station. (this can be simulated, but routine ops checks need got be made as in any patrol).
Knots: As Coxswain, you are expected to tie the same knots as a Crew.
The method of towing and passing the towline is up to you, as Coxswain, but it needs to fit the circumstances. If you need to pass a bridle, or use a heaving line or a skiff hook, that is your choice.
You will need to "hold station" so the Crew can communicate with the disabled vessel.
If you feel that conditions are becoming unsafe, feel free to break away and make any corrections. Try to act as if the Q.E. was not aboard. We want to see you perform as you normally would.
The transition from stern to side tow is also your choice. If you want to break the tow and come around, or shorten the tow and make the transition from stern to side tow, it is up to you, depending on conditions. The Q.E. will only speak out if he feels there is a concern for safety.
The Q.E. may give you a scenario that will require you to navigate to a location, make an assessment and begin the proper search (including track spacing), based on what your are searching for, (PIW, small vs large boat), good or no datum, wind and wave conditions.
Assign Crew duties for the search and don't get so focused on your course, speed and time that no one is looking outside the boat. DO NOT RUN OVER THE SEARCH OBJECT WHILE FOCUSING ON YOUR STOP WATCH.
Anchoring: The scope is up to you, make the Crew assignments and make sure the anchor line never gets under the boat. Know how to free an anchor that gets caught and the Crew can't manual lift it.
Questions on policies and procedures:
These questions may be in the form of a scenario. The Q.E. might describe a situation and ask you how you would handle it as Coxswain. Don't get caught up in Crew duties, handle it by delegating tasks and making sure you keep the Station informed (simulated) Be prepared to give the Station your recommendation, not just depending on their orders. Remember, you are on scene and you should know what your capabilities are.
If you don't understand the scenario, feel free to ask the Q.E. Many times, as we describe something, we have a mental picture of what the hazards are, but you might be thinking of a different situation. We're not trying to trap you, but we need to know that you have a reasonable understanding of the CG operational policies.
Good luck with your check ride.
Auxiliary Boat Crew Training Manual Appendices & Enclosures
These forms are appendices and enclosures from COMDTINST M16794.51A Boat Crew Training Manual
Program Qualification Letter
Annual Currency Maintenance Letter
Third Year Currency Maintenance
QE Request Form
QE Application Form
Qualification Examiner In Training Check Off Sheet
Crewmember Underway Currency Maintenance/Recertification Check Ride evolutions - Enclosure (1)
Coxswain Underway Currency Maintenance/Recertification Check Ride evolutions - Enclosure (2)
PWC Underway Currency Maintenance/Recertification Check Ride evolutions - Enclosure (3)
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