Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 48 Times in 45 Posts
Rep Power: 12
There are two things: First, certifications, which are nongovernmental and issued by private associations like the ASA and the USSA (google them for much more info).
They have no legal effect in themselves, but are recognized by some insurance companies for a discount, by some states as a substitute for their own required safe-recreational boating courses or tests. And charter companies may be more willing to let you go out without a captain if you have the certif. They are a creature of the last two decades, I think, there were no such associations when I learned sailing back in the '50s-'60s, now they're pretty widespread. I don't know how or if such certifs are revoked.
This is in the US. In Europe, there are some groups like the Royal Yachting Assn whose certifs may satisfy some government req'ment for being a skipper, but not in the US. Here, unless you are carrying passengers or freight *for hire*, no piece of paper is necessary from the feds (though one might by individual states), at least.
Second, if you *are* carrying pax or freight (carried or towed) for hire, or if you're on a motor/steam vessel above a fairly large tonnage/size, you need a Coast Guard license as operator or Master. They require proof of several years' experience on the right kind and size of vessels, a background check, health exam, and then you have to pass a fairly rigouous test. And yes, it can be revoked for negligence, violation of regulation, drug use, and certain crimes (all this is in title 46 of the Code of Fed Regulations, sections 10 and 12--how to get a license and what's required for each type, and there are many types), and in section 5 (how to get it suspended or revoked).
This latter may be what your character is looking for, I don't know. Like a charter sail skipper who screws up or does something criminal, and the Coast Guard goes after his license.
And insurance companies can urge prosecution after you made a fraudulent claim (like the accidental fire or sinking that wasn't)
My knowledge may be somewhat dated or even inaccurate so get several opinions. But in a former life I was a Coast Guard investigating officer who prosecuted the occasional license proceeding. I also hold such a license for boats of less than 100-tons, and part-time I teach sailing.
That's the nutshell version, ask again if you want. But I want a free copy when you're done...;-)