During the years, the needs of our mariners and the licensing process changed, and MET changed along with it. In the early years, license study depended almost entirely upon the availability of government publications. By 1980, that availability of “free pubs” became unpredictable and eventually dried up. During this period, we began to stock textbooks of other publishers to fill the needs of those studying for USCG exams. We wrote our own chapters and books where gaps existed.
Tradition dictated that Coast Guard license exam questions and answers were maintained in strict secrecy and were not accessible to the public even though some of them were faulty. In a seven-year battle, MET opened up the exam process to the public by successfully invoking the Freedom of Information Act.
By founding the National Association of Maritime Educators (NAME) with the late Walt Martin in 1987, we questioned and continue to question existing exam questions in the Coast Guard database.
In the late 1970s, MET first offered the Workboat Engineer book to train the members of the engine department. In 1980, the law required engineers on OSVs over 200 gross tons to be licensed. In the next decade, the requirements for this license mushroomed to the point where it now takes four volumes to cover the subject matter.
During the years, the regulations impacting all “lower-level” mariners working on vessels of less than 1,600 gross tons expanded and the coverage of exam questions within a relatively stable list of subject areas grew as well. MET constantly researches these subject areas and revises its books to keep pace with changes like the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) convention as amended, and the new area of Homeland Security.
MET also expanded into other areas including editing and creating self-adhesive signs, preparing all sorts of logbooks and other forms regularly used on vessels under 1,600-tons manned by “lower-level” mariners. We also adapt our textbooks to fit the curriculum of a number of Coast Guard-approved courses.
From the outset, MET has been and continues its orientation to filling the needs of working mariners who often need to find a source of information. This is why many of our customers call us “Information Central.”