As promised late last year, the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) now offers a new online appointment feature, accessible through the Regional Examination Center information page of their website. Once you go to that page just look on the national map for the REC location nearest to you (indicated by the states in blue) and click that state. A .pdf document will download (you’ll need Adobe Reader installed on your computer to read it) that gives you all the information you could possibly need: contact information, address, business hours, a map and a Google Maps link to show you where it is and how to get there, and an Appointments button with a calendar icon beneath it. Click either one and you’re redirected back to a secure section of the NMC site where you use a series of drop-down menus to select which office you want to go to and what service you need (submitting an application or registering for an examination).
A brief walk-thru showed no obvious bugs and it appears to be a well planned and executed leap into the 21st century. The Master of Towing Vessels Association again applauds Capt. David Stalfort for his efforts to modernize the NMC and improve service to the maritime community. This is well done. Notwithstanding what seems to be some very serious problems with the new Medical Review process, which may well be caused by a lack of proper resources to get the job done in a timely fashion, it is starting to look like the NMC is gaining some momentum in the right direction. We’ll keep you posted.