“Where are you” is a common question you hear on the VHF radio most any day in Puget Sound. Sometimes the answer is a bit humorous such as “Puget Sound you idiot” or “A great fishing spot.”
But sometimes the answer can be heart breaking when someone is in great distress and does not know where they are. Not all boats carry a GPS or charts.
I have put together a test for you Local Knowledge Experts to test yourself. The test is based on a copy of the Coast Guard Coxswain Local Knowledge and Chart Exam. Last year a friend send me a list of the 162 points and some of the other Local Knowledge that a Coxswain needs to know before being trusted in command of a Sector Puget Sound Coast Guard Vessel.
How hard is the exam? Lets ignore for the moment the 600++ page Crew and Coxswain Manual and other training and just look at the “Where Are You?” part.
There are 12 charts of the area you need to know the numbers and areas of coverage as well as be familiar with all of the charts.
Then there is “The Chart.” On the wall is a chart, 162 points have the names of local marine points blocked out and replaced with a number. The candidate stands in front of the chart and the examiner calls out a name every 10 seconds, the number for the location must be called out in that 10 second window, this continues until 100 points have been called out (just under 17 minutes. Passing for “The Chart” is 90%, the rest of the exam requires 100% to pass.
I have taken the list of points and replaced them with numbers on the chart linked below. My apology in that there is one location that I have never been able to find. The list of points and the answer key are also below. A legal note here – the numbers are ones that I have chosen and any relationship to any Coast Guard key is purely by accident, so don’t call the Coast Guard and tell then you are “West of Chart Point 016” and expect them to know where you are. Not all points in the area are shown and the requirements might have changed since my friend saw the list of points. But this gives you and idea of how much the members of the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound need to know to help them protect the public.
“The Chart” and Questions are below in PDF format (AOR = Area of Responsibility):
Well “Master of Puget Sound Local Knowledge” do you really know where your are?
Might make a heck of a trivia contest for a Bar or Party.
If you have trouble reading the chart (there are a lot of numbers) and don’t have a large printer most any Copy or Office Supply store can print a 24 inch by 36 inch black and white copy for a few dollars.
Other articles you might find useful:
Puget Sound Area Marine Training Charts:
Selected Puget Sound Charts with prominent marine points highlighted. Use as a training aid to learn the area or to find points on a chart quicker. Three charts from Shilshole to Lake Washington.
Thanks for you interest in boating safety and good luck with the exam.
- c / m -