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USCG Captains & CPAP's

Old 04-28-2011, 07:47 AM
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Default USCG Captains & CPAP's

I decided a little over a year ago to go ahead and get my 100T Master Near Coastal and ponied up the bucks for a course which I passed with no problem. For personal reasons, I waited pretty much until the last minute to submit my application, but three months later I'm still getting the old government two-step... as in one step forward, two steps back.

My application passed all the vetting process crap and stopped firmly in the medical division who proceeded to ask for lots of additional information since I was dumb enough to check the "sleep apnea" box on the medical questionairre. Long story short, I am now being told the only way I can get my ticket is to use a CPAP which downloads data into a micro-chip proving I am in fact using this damn thing on a nightly basis, regardless of whether or not I'm on a friggin' boat.

There is no way on God's earth I could tolerate a CPAP, so I'm about ready to tell them to take my application and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. Seems to me they would let potential applicants in on this before they went to the trouble and expense of testing. I could see such a requirement if I were piloting a ship across the ocean, but this is ridiculous. As I understand it, this is not a one and done deal as far as proving to the Coasties that I have in fact complied with their request. It seems I'll have to be married to one of these things, even if I only run a couple of times a year any boat that requires such a license.

Here's the big question, how many of you licensed Captains have sleep apnea and use a CPAP? PM's are good if you don't want to comment publicly.
Old 04-28-2011, 07:52 AM
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Seems the medical portion now required, even for renewal has gone from one extreme to the opposite. Check anything on the form, list meds, ect. and you're screwed.
Old 04-28-2011, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Libra View Post
Seems the medical portion now required, even for renewal has gone from one extreme to the opposite. Check anything on the form, list meds, ect. and you're screwed.
I'm a good mind to approach that captain's school and demand a refund. It is their responsibility to keep up with such changes, and I've got over a grand in this thing now not counting my time.
Old 04-28-2011, 07:59 AM
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In The Bite magazine has a section concerning captain license renewals and the guy updates the info each issue. The ridiculous stuff he brings to light is pretty much exactly what you would expect from government bureaucracy with no oversight. It was 100% due to the stupid changes in licensing that I decided not to get my captains license. I don't need it and will not use it commercially, I just wanted it. You might be, in fact, screwed. Unless you absolutely have to have it, are you ready to fight the government over it?
Old 04-28-2011, 08:08 AM
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Fighting the government would be an exercise in futility. It is what it is. The captain's school issue is another story. I just logged onto their website and it would seem they have added additional information as to the potential for applications to be denied based on sleep apnea. Needless to say, I am NOT a happy camper.
Old 04-28-2011, 08:11 AM
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CPAPs are the next big medical scam. I have one that I have been using for 6 months now. I can't tell if I am more tired now or prior to getting it.

I honestly believe that the medical industry is doing everything in their power to get every single person precribed to as many different medicines and/or contraptions that they can, to guarentee a recurring income stream.

What ever happened to medical privacy?

Sorry for the rant, I know this doesn't help you, just seems like half the people I know have CPAPs now and they really don't do much except feed the medical machine.
Old 04-28-2011, 08:26 AM
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CPAPS work. I takes a while to get use to it but it does work. And I totally agree with you on over prescribing.

I have to deal with the USCG license dept frequently for my employees. It's a typical gubment circle-jerk. Only one out of 10 employees knows what's going on or even cares.

NEVER volunteer any more info than is necessary.
Old 04-28-2011, 08:29 AM
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I was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea a few years ago, and it has gotten worse based on a sleep study I had done last summer. The primary reason for having that study was to see if I could do something about my snoring as I'm still in the middle of a divorce and about to lose my health insurance. In short, I was trying to address every potential medical issue I have before losing my insurance. I'm still waiting for that particular hammer to fall within the next couple of months.

I went to an ENT who rammed a scope up my nose and told me my sinus passageways were too small which makes me breathe thorugh my mouth and cause me to snore. That compounds the problem with a CPAP as I would have to use one of the full face varieties which would be impossible for me to sleep in. For those of you who have never tried a CPAP, in my case, the minute they put that thing on my face, it felt like my lungs were going to explode from having air forced into them. I had to forcibly exhale only to have the process repeated. There is no way in hell I could tolerate one of those things while sitting on a bed, much less trying to sleep with one.

BTW, I just sent a email to the school that offered the course. I'll let you know what they say about the situation.
Old 04-28-2011, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by A Few Dollars View Post
CPAPS work. I takes a while to get use to it but it does work. And I totally agree with you on over prescribing.

I have to deal with the USCG license dept frequently for my employees. It's a typical gubment circle-jerk. Only one out of 10 employees knows what's going on or even cares.

NEVER volunteer any more info than is necessary.
Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say, but I was afraid to fudge anything on that application. I still can't see how sleep apnea would have anything to do with running near coastal.
Old 04-28-2011, 05:49 PM
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Sounds like you didn't have the correct pressure setting on the CPAP that you tried. Did they hook you up on a machine as part of the sleep test? If so, they should have figured out the correct setting, and it should be part of your prescription for a machine.
Old 04-28-2011, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by glacierbaze View Post
Sounds like you didn't have the correct pressure setting on the CPAP that you tried. Did they hook you up on a machine as part of the sleep test? If so, they should have figured out the correct setting, and it should be part of your prescription for a machine.
Never tried one during a sleep test, but they did play with the pressue a bit when showing me the different versions. Still haven't heard back from the sleep center doc, so we'll see.

I did get a response from the guy who taught the Captain's class, and he indicated all I had to do was prove to the coasties I could handle a 4 hour watch. Not sure where he's coming up with that, so I asked for clarification. In his words, I should "get tough" with them and get my doctor involved. Can you say exercise in futility?
Old 04-28-2011, 06:32 PM
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How does the Coast Guard find out about your medical history? If you claimed you had zero medical issues, would they find out on their own?
Old 04-28-2011, 06:35 PM
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The Coast Guard got touger on the enforcment of the medical requirements after a few problems happened and people got killed. My brother in law has had his license for years and now they are giving him a hard time about a problem he's had right along.
I found out I can't get my license because I have an artificial Aorta. The rgulation they put that up with was the cardio vascular disease one. I don't have a heart problem and now I've got this neat Aorta that is better than the old one but no dice on the license. So much for the retirement plan I had.
Old 04-28-2011, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by John_Madison CT View Post
How does the Coast Guard find out about your medical history? If you claimed you had zero medical issues, would they find out on their own?
I'm not sure if they check your medical records or not unless you are truthful in answering the questions. No doubt there would be some stiff penalties for lying, maybe even jail time. I have enough to worry about in my life as it is. Maybe there is some way to get around this, maybe not. We'll see.
Old 04-28-2011, 08:04 PM
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I would think a letter from your Dr. saying you were fit for duty, and specifiing why he had you put on a CPAP(snooring issuse) might be in order.

We have alot of people with issues in the industry, and I think their rec for the machine you are talking is a bit much.
Old 04-29-2011, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Clear Solution View Post
I would think a letter from your Dr. saying you were fit for duty, and specifiing why he had you put on a CPAP(snooring issuse) might be in order.

We have alot of people with issues in the industry, and I think their rec for the machine you are talking is a bit much.
The hell of it is, my doctor didn't put me on a CPAP. It would be my choice if I wanted to use one or not. Seeing as how I'm about to lose my health insurance, I wonder if ObamaCare will buy me a CPAP.

No, I'm not trying to turn this into a political thread, but it seems the government is getting into dictating who should do what where this CPAP thing is concerned. Now if my doctor had been adamant about this and I had gone against his advice, I could see where that might be a problem.

Funny how I don't have to demonstrate to the USCG that I can even operate a boat before being issued this license, but they're more worried that I might not be getting enough sleep. Our government at its best.
Old 04-29-2011, 08:07 AM
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Don't get me started on this one.

I just renewed and what a PAIN IN THE A$$. I now have over $7,500 in medical bills not covered by insurance because of the Coast Guard and their stupid tests. I will not be renewing again unless they change the requirements!!!!!

I have had a heart murmur my entire life. I got the license with it and renewed 2 times. No problems or questions on any of them. This time I was required to get a variety of tests including stress tests, echocardiograms, and other things I cannot pronounce. All of these tests my doctor stated are completely unnecessary for my age and condition.

We called the Coast Guard and they will only speak to doctors. My doctor finally gets a call back from a medical assistant that says tough luck, if you want a license you need the test, no exceptions.

I have called, complained, and written letters till I am blue in the face. I received a phone call back from a customer service person stating that the process is much more stringent, it’s not going to change, and that many people have licenses that should not. This is their way of weeding those people out.

I told her for an industry that complains they need more workers this is a nail in the coffin. On top of TWIC cards and all the other stupid requirements the industry will suffer.

I have the license but they are requiring a yearly stress test, once again my doctor says this is completely unnecessary. I signed and returned the form but have no intention of getting this test yearly, especially at a couple grand a pop.

The Coast Guard has tuned into the biggest bureaucracy around. I feel for all those old captains who have been on the water for years …..
Old 04-29-2011, 08:29 AM
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Sleep Apnea is a very serious condition. People die from it! I have been on a CPAP machine for about 3 years and love it! It took me less than a week to get used to it!

Get the machine and live your life!
Old 01-04-2012, 05:36 AM
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Unhappy it just gets worse

Once you finally get your license, if you have sleep apnea you have to provide proof that you are using the CPAP on a regular basis; that comes form a download out of the CPAP so there's little way of getting around it. Or you have to go through a sleep test followed by a Maintenance of Wakefulness Test, which takes a full day in addition tot he sleep test the night before.

And you have to do this every year!

Be careful what you put on the medical form!
Old 01-04-2012, 07:04 AM
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CG has run amok, what happens when they have all the 9/11 money pumped into them.
Have heard the TWIC is no longer necessary for tickets < 100 tons.

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