WINTER 2013 SECRETARY’S REPORT
By Captain John Giszczak
For those of you that missed the Annual business conference you missed out on some valuable information that can only be gained by attending. Some of that information came as the result of an unscheduled event. Unfortunately, one of the guest speakers had to cancel at the last minute; however, Chuck Kakuska, retired Coast Guard Captain from the 9th District in Toledo, OH stepped up to the plate, filled in and presented a very valuable session. Chuck, as many of you know, owns and operates “Sea-K’s Licensing”. Chuck assists captains working their way through any problems they may have when applying for, or renewing, a license. I used Chuck’s services last time I applied for my license renewal, just to see how his company functions. The service was very good, and the fee for his service was reasonable.
Chuck started by informing us that the Coast Guard now has “delayed issuance”, which means you can apply for your license up to a year early and request “delayed issuance”. If everything is completed successfully early, it will be held by the USCG and issued 30 days before the current license expires. This really helps if you run into a snag; you will have plenty of time to resolve any issues before your license expires. By using this option you get your full five years and have the luxury of sending your renewal application. in early. Chuck also stated there might be some new forms coming out in the spring; he will forward any to the association. The old forms are only good for 90 days after any new forms are issued. If you submit an old form more than 90 days after a new form is created your whole package is rejected. We don’t have to renew our T.W.I.C. cards, but if your card is expired at the time of renewal there is an additional form you need to fill out, and it’s not in the C.G. renewal package. You can get it from the website or the Association. The T.W.I.C. card is for first time original applicants only to “get you in the system”.
Chuck stated the biggest hurdle is the medical forms; lots of the rejections come from not checking all the boxes or forgetting a doctor’s license number. Page five (medical portion) of the application has 88 boxes to be checked. If you miss one, you will be informed by snail mail, not email, because it’s a medical issue. They mail the whole form back with a cover letter, which can add weeks to the process. One of the most recent rejections he noted was when the doctor signed the medical form, but didn’t write MD after his signature.
If you’re taking any narcotic medication, do everything humanly possible to get off it before your physical because it’s a guarantee you will be rejected if you’re on them.
Sea service is another sticking point. You must have 360 days of service in the past five years – the service time starts when your previous license expired. Say your previous license expired in June and you start fishing in April: you will not get credit for April and May because it was before your current license was issued. If this results in insufficient sea time, the C.G. will send you open book exams and charge you $45.00 to grade them. I could go on and on about the many other issues Chuck discussed. Information like this is just one of the several reasons why I attend the annual meeting every year.
Before I close, I’d like to thank the captains who attended the meeting from the Upper Peninsula this year. It was a great turnout of the captains who have the farthest to travel to attend the meeting. It was great to see you there.