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Earning a Captain's License

How can I get a captain's license?

Claude Dussaud

Dan Dickison responds:

There are various ways you can earn a captain's license. You can attend classes via a business like Sea School, which prepares you for the US Coast Guard exam and steers you through the logging and documenting of your time at sea, you can do it via correspondence, or you can just go it on your own, take the exam, and provide your own documentation. I would recommend you go with one of the existing businesses that prepares you for the exam. Do an online search under "sea schools", or "captain's license" and you'll come up with a number of possibilities. You can take it from there regarding location and cost, etc.

There are several levels of licenses that mariners can attain, but I'm assuming that you're interested in the Six Pack license, what the US Coast Guard calls the OUPV (Offshore Uninspected Passenger Vessel). This license gives you the authority to carry six passengers, hence the name. There are three versions of this license (Inland, Near Coastal, and Master Inland). For each you have to be at least 18 years old to apply, and you need to document your sea-going experience. For the Inland level license, you need 360 days at sea, with 90 of them in the last three years. This time can be on board another person's boat or yours, but you have to supply the name of the vessel and the master of the vessel. For the Near Coastal version, you'll have to demonstrate that at least 90 days of your sea time have been in offshore waters. For the Master Inland version, you must be a US citizen and be at least 19 years of age.

I hope this information helps get you started. Good sailing to you.


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