Why become a licensed Captain?
If you are on the fence about obtaining a Captain’s license, here are a few reasons why it is the right choice for you. If you would like to:
- work as a paid captain or mate, on a commercial vessel
- use your boat for charter
- learn or refresh your skills in navigation, chart plotting, rules of the road, safety & regulations, buoyage systems, basic weather, basic stability, and much more!
- earn a credential that shows your experience and may even reduce insurance costs
- improve your resume if you want to get a job on a bigger boat
Do I have the required experience and qualifications to become a licensed Captain?
- There are basic requirements you must have in order to become a Captain.
- You must be at least 19 years of age
- Have U.S. citizenship or be a green card holder (restricted license)
- Pass a physical and drug test
- Have a minimum of 360 days of boating experience, with 90 of those days having occurred in the last 3 years.
- Hold a valid adult CPR & Basic First Aid Card
- Obtain a Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) card.
Once you have checked all of those requirements off you are good to start the process of becoming a Captain, which begins in enrolling in a course! Once you have completed the two-week course, you have up to one year after taking your test to submit your application to the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center for the certification.
The sooner you submit it, the sooner your license will be processed. Once you have received your certification, you can now call yourself a licensed Captain, Congrats!
What are my next steps?
If you or anyone you know has ever dreamed of becoming a USCG certified Captain, there are a few things you need to do!
There are various levels of captains licenses, the first level is the (Six-Pack) or Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) License. This license allows you to take up to six paying passengers on vessels without a certificate of inspection. The next level is the Master License. This license allows you to operate commercial vessels and take paying passengers on vessels with a certificate of inspection. The license comes in three different versions depending on the amount of sea time you have and the size of the boat you gained your sea time on. These are 25, 50, and 100 ton licenses.
The USCG does not require you to get a Six-Pack License before you get your Master license. Most students do qualify for a Master or Mate license. In conjunction with your experience, the USCG requires that you pass a series of examinations to prove your knowledge to obtain the captains license. Training Resources Maritime Institute, Boater U's parent company, offers USCG approved training that meets the requirements needed to become a licensed captain. TRLMI offers weekend, online and classroom courses to fit your needs and schedule.
- Tidal calculations
- International and inland rules of the road
- Coastal pilotage
- Anchoring and mooring
- Docking and undocking
- Buoyage systems
- Voyage and passage planning
- General ship knowledge regulations
- Stability and vessel construction
Are you ready to take that next step and become a licensed captain?
Introducing SeaLog™ Credential & Sea Time Tracking, supporting you, the mariner, wherever you go.
If your goal is to become a licensed captain, it is essential to track your sea time. When it becomes time to apply for the license getting your sea time documented correctly can mean the difference between getting your Captain license sooner than later. TRLMI, Boater U's sister company, has developed an app to help you do just that! Track your sea time.