Are you thinking about obtaining your captain’s license? If so, we put together a brief overview of what you should know before doing so. If you plan to run a fishing charter, sightseeing company, diving, or transportation business, you will need to obtain a captain’s license. A USCG captain’s license is required to operate a commercial vessel or to legally carry passengers for hire.
The USCG Captains License course includes the following subjects:
There are different kinds of licenses which include an OUPV license, Master Inland, and Master Near Coastal license, all based on tonnage. Your boating experience determines the license tonnage. To obtain a 100-ton captain’s license, 180 days experience aboard boats over 51 gross tons or 360 days aboard vessels over 34 gross tons is needed. A 50-ton requires 180 days on vessels over 26 gross tons or 360 days of service on boats 17 gross tons or above. The 25-ton license requires 541 days or more for endorsement on vessels five gross tons or less, or 180 or more on vessels 6-25 gross tons.
The Operator of Uninspected Vehicles (OUPPV) is also known as the 6-pack license. This license allows you to carry up to six passengers on uninspected vessels. This license is usually for smaller vessels that typically engage in charter fishing, whale watching, SCUBA diving, and tour cruises. The USCG will issue an OUPV license for a specific range that reflects your service. Either inland and great lakes or near coastal, which allows you to go up to 100 miles offshore. All OUPV licenses are for 100 Gross Tons vessels (about 100 feet, more or less) and can be upgraded to a master license. A Limited OUPV license may be issued to those employed by organizations such as yacht clubs, marinas, formal camps, and educational institutions, limited to the specific activity and locality of the camp, yacht club, or marina. Requirements for OUPV licenses include:
A Master License allows you to operate inspected and uninspected vessels within the designated boundary line for inland or operate in coastal waters up to 200 miles off the coast. Inspected vessels can carry more than six passengers and must be built per USCG Commercial Vessel Inspection standards. A Limited Master’s License may be issued to applicants to be employed by organizations, such as yacht clubs, marinas, formal camps, and educational institutions. A 200-ton master’s license is also attainable if you meet the 180 days experience on vessels of 101 GRT or above, or 360 days experience on vessels of 67 GRT or above. Requirements for a 25-100-ton Masters license include:
Requirements for 200-ton are as follows:
Once you pass the certified course based on your experience, the US Coast Guard is one step closer to issuing your license. For all license types, the following requirements are mandatory.
Renewal for all USCG licenses is mandatory every five years. The renewal process includes a renewal application, a physical and approved drug test. Learn more by clicking the button below