Test - Senior Written

  1. Read Colgate's Basic Sailing by Steve Colgate.
  2. Read all of the following books cover to cover: The Blue Book of Sailing by Adam CortThe Complete Sailor by David SeidmanHow to Trim Sails by Peter Schweer, , Sailing Skills and Seamanship by US Coast Guard Auxiliary Association. 
  3. Read and practice the Rudderless Sailing eBook
  4. Read the Cal-Sailing Operating Rules and memorize all sections relating to Senior ratings or below
  5. Read Colgate's Basic Sailing by Steve Colgate (again)

These are my condensed personal notes that I studied from before the Senior written test:  Download

Things to Review Before the Test:


Crew Operations and Skills:

1. Describe typical crew responsibilities and communications while aboard an auxiliary powered cruising sailboat.

2. Explain weather recognition and forecasting techniques for a day sail.

3. Explain the sequence for determining blocked engine cooling system circulation.

4. Understand the different types and operation of stoves, and fuel systems.

5. Be familiar with the use of a float plan.

6. Understand your state and local boating regulations.

Sailing Theory:

7. Describe sailboat dynamics: Center of Effort, Center of Lateral Resistance, and effects and influences of lee and weather helm.

8. Describe real and apparent wind, and their relationship to each other.


Leaving the Dock or Mooring:

9. Understand the effects of wind, tide and currents in relation to the boat and surrounding area, while preparing to get underway.

10. Describe the differences and alternatives for leaving under power in upWind, crosswind and downwind situations.


Navigation (Piloting):

11. Be familiar with magnetic influences that may disrupt compass readings.

12. Understand variation and describe the use of compass rose.


Navigation Rules, International-Inland:

13. Know the Navigation Rules, International-Inland, Rules 4 through 10 for steering and sailing.

14. Describe the Navigation Rules, International-Inland, for Stand-On and Give-Way sailboats and powerboats for collision avoidance and understand your state and local boating regulations.


Boat Control in Open Water:

15. Explain the dangers of a lee shore.


Overboard Recovery Methods:

16. Understand the Quick-Stop, Lifesling-type, and Quick-Turn overboard recovery methods under sail to include: constant visual contact with the victim, communications, recovery plan, sequence of maneuvers, boat handling, course sailed, pickup approach and coming alongside the victim (or simulated object).

17. Describe methods of getting an overboard recovery victim back on deck after the vessel is stopped alongside.

18. Explain when overboard recovery should be done under power and the inherent dangers.


Safety and Emergency Procedures:

19. Describe recovery methods after going aground.

20. Be familiar with fire fighting equipment on board: regulations, types, location and operation.

21. Be familiar with the location and operation of emergency steering system and boat control during failure of the steering system.

22. Understand towing techniques: maneuvering onto a tow, handling and securing a towline, chafing protection, boat speed, dropping off a tow and communications.

23. Describe the proper function of lifelines and pulpits.

24. Explain proper fueling techniques and potential hazards.

25. Explain the purpose and use of a radar reflector.

26. Be familiar with the U.S. Coast Guard safety requirements for auxiliary powered vessels.

27. Be familiar with at least six distress or emergency signals.


Anchoring Techniques:

28. Explain different types of anchors and various bottom conditions suited for each type.

29. Explain how to determine the required scope of an anchor rode.

30. Describe accepted etiquette when anchoring in the vicinity of other boats.


Returning to the Dock or Mooring:

31. Describe the differences and alternatives for arrival under power in upwind, crosswind and downwind situations. 

      Want to practice your vocabulary?   Check out this deck of flashcards made by Lon!