In addition to USCG Exam Prep, there are many resources available to help you prepare to pass the license tests, including study guides containing test taking strategies with explanations on each section of the test or flash cards to help with the more visual aspects of rules of the road and navigation. In addition, some sections of the exams require that you use certain reference materials to answer those questions. This is particularly true for navigation exams, for which you will require training charts as well. Some useful or necessary study materials are highlighted below, including the USCG official list of Reference Materials Allowed in the Examination Room, all of which are important to answer different sections of the exams. As the questions on USCG Exam Prep are taken from actual U.S. Coast Guard test databases, you will need to access many of these reference materials to complete the practice tests, just like on your actual exam. We have compiled an exhaustive list of the reference materials required for the USCG exams, many of which you can download for free. If you prefer to buy your own physical copies, we have provided links where available. As an Amazon Associate, we earn commissions from qualifying purchases made on Amazon.


Study Guides

Set includes all Six study guides with multiple choice questions and answers for preparation for the U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine License Examinations: Master (Oceans and Near Coastal, Any Gross Tons), Chief Mate (Oceans and Near Coastal, Any Gross Tons), Second Mate (Oceans and Near Coastal, Any Gross Tons), Third Mate (Oceans and Near Coastal, Any Gross Tons), Master & Mate (Limited Licenses), Comprehensive Renewal Exercise (All Grades of License), and Rules of the Road Exercise (All Grades of License Book 1: Deck general, 2010-11 Edition Book 2: Navigation general, 2010-11 Edition Book 3: Deck safety, 2010-11 Edition Book 4: Rules of Road, 2015-16 Edition (New) Book 5: Navigation Problem, 2011-12 Edition Book 6: Deck Illustration Book, 2015 Edition (New)

Whether you are an avid boater seeking to improve your seamanship and get a discount on boat insurance or aspire to start a business running a charter, sightseeing, or whale-watching boat, this is the only resource you need to obtain the captain’s license you want, including the six-passenger “Six-Pack,” Master and Mate Inland, Master and Mate Near Coastal, and Sail/Auxiliary Sail Endorsement.

Flashcards that cover Nautical Flags, Morse Code, Lights and Shapes, Sound and Light Signals, Buoyage Systems and the Rules of the Road (COLREGS).

Study guide to help you pass the FCC exam for the Marine Radio Operator Permit (MROP). This is the license required for radio operators aboard certain vessels that sail the Great Lakes, and vessels of more than 300 gross tons and vessels which carry more than six passengers for hire in the open sea or any tidewater area of the United States.

Training Charts

These are specialized training charts that you need to answer many of the Navigation questions. The three charts are: 12221 TR Chesapeake Bay Entrance; 13205 TR Block Island Sound and Approaches; and 12354 TR Long Island Sound Eastern Part.

Rules and Regulations

US Coast Guard issued Navigation Rules & Regulations Handbook covering inland and International COLREGs. Used for USCG licensing exams, the principles described in this book are critical for safe navigation. US Coast Guard requires a copy on board all vessels 12 meters or more in length.

Tools and Instruments

Weems & Plath Marine Navigation Parallel Ruler (Aluminum Arms, 15-Inch)

Weems & Plath Marine Navigation Ultralight Divider

Weems & Plath Marine Navigation Nautical Slide Rule

Reference Materials Allowed in the Examination Room