The title and rank of Chief or CPO as recognized in the Coast Guard and Navy is one of knowledge reverence. Operations and Safety depend heavily on this professional expertise coupled with the ability to convey that vital set of skills to all aspects of the military and commercial maritime world. There are plenty of outstanding educational resources in books, videos, and other media, but the benefits of learning from someone experienced with mentoring is beyond positive measure.
One of the biggest obstacles faced by new mariners is how to first attain the skill, then implement it to it's intended utilization. Just taking a course in maritime training does not convey the whole story. It is basically an introduction to the qualification standards. What comes next is the use of the newfound information by actual application. That can best be productively conveyed by someone who has performed the job numerous times before, showing you how it's done correctly.
This is where CPO's come into the mix. In the Coast Guard and Navy there are measuring systems called Personal Qualification Standards, PQS. It is basically a check-off list of things to demonstrate to the person performing the evaluation that you know how to accomplish the task effectively. In the Merchant Marines this individual is referred to as a Qualified Assessor. Proficiency only comes from proper exercise of what you learned in class and/or on the simulator. This list of competence fundamentals is the foundation of all things education and can, in addition to, act as a concise guide of the steps that need to be taken to achieve mastery of the subject.
Furthermore, CPO's perform Leadership and Management duties which are very crucial elements of all maritime operations, in many departments. Without these Leaders there would be too much of a gap between strategic planning and tactical actions, resulting in difficulty or failure to achieve the expected results.
Do you need someone to show you the How To's of licensing and certifications? There are plenty of programs on the market to help you achieve success. Just