Qualification Examiner F.A.Q.

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This page contains answers to common questions about Qualification Examiners (QEs), along with other information that we have found useful and presented here as questions. This F.A.Q. is based on D1NR policy and practice; other districts may differ.
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What is a Qualification Examiner?

The Director of Auxiliary Operations and Training Officer (OTO) is responsible for certifying that a BCQP candidate is ready to be assigned to duty and function safely and effectively as part of (or leader of) a team on an Auxiliary surface vessel.

It is humanly impossible for the OTO to do this personally for each and every individual, yet it is the OTO who effectively "signs off" on the final checks.

The OTO has appointed Auxiliary Qualification Examiners (QEs) to perform the necessary local checks, and to then provide a certification recommendation about a candidate. Auxiliary Qualification Examiners "work" for the USCG OTO, not as part of Auxiliary staff chains.

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What qualifications does a Qualification Examiner have to have?

A QE has to be currently-certified coxswain, and maintain that basic certification. D1NR requires that a QE-to-be have had at least 100 hours underway as a coxswain prior to appointment, be Instructor qualified (and maintain that qualification), have achieved AUXOP level in training, have taken some form of Auxiliary leadership training, be recommended by the Auxiliary leadership chain, and be filling a geographic need for a QE in a 50 mile radius of the QE-to-be's home. The idea is that a QE is skilled in Adult Education techniques, has had a high level of Auxiliary training (including formal leadership training), and is, of course, highly skilled as an Auxiliary coxswain.

Annually, in addition to maintaining Instructor qualification and Coxswain certification, a QE must have 20 hours or more underway each year. For a QE, this includes both "regular" Coxswain underway time and time spent underway as a QE doing underway check rides or currency maintenance rides. The goal is that a QE maintains their high level of operational skill.

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What's the final step in a potential QE to be appointed?

Potential QEs, having fulfilled all other qualification requirements, perform a series of underway check rides for real candidates under the supervision of current QEs. This provides the final set of recommendations from the current QE Corps to the OTO as to whether the potential QE is ready to be appointed as a QE.

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What is the duration of a QE appointment?

Appointments are at the sole discretion of the OTO. However, Auxiliary leadership and the QEs themselves provide much input to appointment decisions. The primary goal is to have active QEs who maintain skills. QEs may themselves request to cancel their appointment, or levels of activity may suggest to the OTO that an appointment should be cancelled.

QEs that become elected to the District Bridge (RCO, VCO, DCO level) may choose to suspend their QE appointment without penalty for the duration of their office status. This gives the choice to the officer to provide more time to their office (or family or employer), or to remove potential conflicts. (For many, underway QE or coxswain activity is actually an office stress relief!). Suspending a QE appointment means that the minimum 20 hours/year underway requirement for QEs is also suspended.

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What is expected of a QE?

Part of the commitment in accepting appointment as a QE is a willingness to assist members in getting required tasks completed. QEs are expected to travel up to 50 miles from their home, without reimbursement, to perform QE missions. (Travel farther than 50 miles and/or lodging can be reimbursed when necessary.)

In addition to the annual activity hours requirement, there is an annual required workshop held for QEs.

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How are QEs scheduled?

In this district, QEs can be scheduled at many levels (e.g. there is no "chain" to be followed rigorously). The District Directory lists all the current QEs with contact information (the Auxiliary online directory can provide their e-mail addresses). Depending upon local division and flotilla choice, QEs can be scheduled by coxswains-of-record for underway check rides, by Member Training or Operations Staff, or by Auxiliary leadership. Ask a nearby QE well in advance of the needed date. This website has a map of QE home locations; use this in conjunction with the District Directory. Remember that QEs are volunteers like all of us, and have personal and professional lives along with their Auxiliary activities, so the farther in advance scheduling can be done the better. Last minute (within the last week) scheduling requests will not be received well by any QE.

In all scheduling paths, the Flotilla Commander of the home flotilla of each BCQP candidate needing the QE attention should be notified. The FC is ultimately responsible for the preparedness of the candidate prior to all resources for a QE check ride (vessels, crews, QEs) getting together.

If there is trouble getting a nearby QE for a mutually convenient time, or multiple QEs are needed for a special training day or weekend, contact the for assistance.

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What must be done prior to scheduling a QE?

A candidate for crew and coxswain must have fulfilled all required tasks in their qualification guide prior to scheduling a QE (or QEs) for either the dockside oral examination or the underway check ride. The Mentor Corner page on this website has useful checklists for crew and coxswains to assist in getting all this done prior to scheduling. Items such as Incident Command System training, current Team Coordination Training, NavRules (coxswain), 28 Hours Underway (coxswain), and prior Boating Safety Class completion (crew) are often overlooked.

For 3-year currency check rides or recertification check rides, the candidate must truly be ready. The emphasis is on practice, practice, practice. The candidate should be experienced and confident, knowledgeable about the area where the check ride will take place, and fully capable on the operational facility to be used.

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Can I just go schedule the "easy QE"?

The goal is to have the entire QE Corps operating at a consistent high level of professionalism. Peer interaction amongst the QEs helps tremendously, but all QEs are human and therefore different. If any individual in D1NR believes that a QE is "easy" compared to the rest of the QEs, the wants to confidentially hear of that.

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Can a QE be a Mentor?

QEs are among the "best" or most-skilled coxswains in the district. They can be highly effective in training new BCQP candidates.

The only professional ethics issue to keep in mind is that if a QE has been more than casually involved in a member's training, the QE probably should not be the one evaluating the candidate in an underway check ride. QEs are aware of this issue and can make a decision to recuse themselves when appropriate.

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Can a QE on a QE mission also be coxswain-of-record?

Simply, no. When a QE is on a scheduled QE mission for a check ride or for a 3-year currency ride, the QE must focus on the mission of evaluating a candidate and overseeing safety during evolutions. This attention cannot be split with simultaneous duties and responsibilities required of the coxswain-of-record.

The QE can offer his/her own vessel for this type of mission, but some other authorized coxswain must be coxswain-of-record (and there must be total delegation of the coxswain responsibility from the owner/QE to the coxswain-of-record, as there must be anytime a vessel owner is aboard but is not coxswain-of-record themselves.)

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Is more than one QE needed for any QE mission?

It depends upon the mission. Crew check rides, any 3-year currency ride (coxswain or crew), any recertification check rides (coxswain or crew) all require only a single QE.

Initial qualification Coxswain check rides require a two-QE "board". This is to insure the best and most impartial evaluation of this most critical phase in a members qualification. Coxswain responsibilities directly involve safety of life, and deserve this level of attention. This requirement is a D1NR-specific requirement.

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Can the QE be on the other vessel during evolutions?

Generally, no. For missions that require only one QE, the QE must be on the same vessel as the candidate being evaluated. (This is made obvious after-the-fact by patrol orders and AUXDATA paperwork regarding who was aboard what vessel).

For Coxswain initial qualification check rides (where two QEs are needed), it is up to the QEs onsite to make a safety judgment based on local conditions and boat sizes during towing evolutions about where the QEs need to be located to properly evaluate a coxswain candidate. Contact the if there are gray area questions.

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This website is intended for USCG Auxiliary members in the First District, Northern Region.
Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to .
Copyright 2005-2012 E. Kroeker/D1NR CQEC. All rights reserved beyond any reserved by the USCG Auxiliary and the Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, Inc.
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