I spent the month of March taking a course which will lead to my 50 Ton Master license. I just passed the final exam on Saturday. I still have to do a bunch of bureaucratic paperwork and take a First aid / CPR class, but by the end of this season I should have my Master license in hand.
This training was run by Boatwise Marine Training. They seem to be pretty much New England focused, but the instructor was great, helpful, entertaining, and a pleasure to spend time with. I went to class four Tuesday and Thursday evenings, four Saturdays, and three Sundays. They have other options too, like 8 days straight (I couldn't do that).
The course was very informative on boat handling, and advanced navigation skills. A lot of it is coastal-focused, like plotting a course taking into account tides and currents. Stuff you don't have to worry about too much on the Great Lakes. But it's still fun to learn. The last week was all about Coast Guard regulations for inspected passenger vessels. I don't know if I'll ever captain one of those, but I could if someone would hire me. Given a little more experience, anyway :)
Now back to getting my boat in shape. We just had another big snowstorm here in NH, but hopefully in a week or two I'll be able to work on the Commander.
Jim in NH