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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys(non-gender specific)

I am looking for more information how to get a Coast Guard 6 pax license.

I have been sailing since 1999. I have been a deck hand in the Navy 1999-2002. Nowadays, I am weekend sailor on my personal 30 foot sailboat.

I saw that there are home study courses that are about $700 and then I would have to travel to the test location.

I was wondering if I can just download a pdf book online(up to $100) and then take USCG test($90)? Its tough times right now and I would like to save some money.

Thank you for your help
 

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Yes, you can. There is no requirement that you take a class. The classes exist only because a lot of people find that taking a class helps them to pass the test.

Don't forget that you also have to be able to document your sea time. I believe the minimum is 360 days for the 6-pack license.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great, thank you. Is that 360 days of seatime over the course of certain period?

Can anyone point me out to a good study guide? only thing that I was able to find online were the actual $500 courses.
 

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Took a class...Passed....Did not pass the color vision test...Not all in vain...Learned a lot from class....Others that took the test and received six pack license found the cost of insurance to be too high for the amount of money made....

Dot and John
 

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islander bahama 24
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Yes the sea service is calculated over a certain period of time a six PAC requires 360 days with at least 90 of that in the last three years. I have a book here that cost 70 bucks the ISBN is 978-0-07-160371-3 its from 08 but I doubt they have changed the price that much good luck on the tests
 

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I really scratch my head over the experience requirement. I can think of at least two people that have the 6 pack that would not seem to have had it. Do people just retroactively make these logs? I'm sure I have the experience, but would have to recreate most of it. In 40 years, I only started bothering in the last 5 to 10 and then I skip every other passage, especially those that remain in the Bay.

The good news is, I do not believe either ever did, nor intend to exercise any of it privileges. I think it was just to call themselves Captain, or pound their chest or something. More generously, they may have wanted to confirm their knowledge and up their game. Couldn't blame them for that.
 

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Here are some free study-aids websites you can try. Good luck.

SeaSources.net, Coast Guard license exam test preparation questions and Online Training For merchant marines

USCG: Passenger Vessel Safety Program - Uninspected Passenger Vessel

BoatSafe.com

EDIT:

Prerequisites for OUPV Operator Uninspected Passenger Vessel License

You must meet all of the prerequisites in this paragraph to receive an OUPV- Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels License

Must be 18 years old

Must be able to document 360 days of experience on a vessel

Must have 90 of these days within the last 3 years

90 of the 360 days must be on the ocean or near coastal waters, or the license will be limited to inland waters only

License will be limited to uninspected vessels of less than 100 gross tons

If you are not a U.S. Citizen,you can receive this license BUT your tonnage will be limited to Vessels of 5 Net Tons or less
 
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Asleep at the wheel
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Minne, I've considered trying to get the certification, but not because I intend to pound my chest (any more than I already do) or to take passengers with any regularity. My thought is that it would give my wife a sense of comfort.

I'll be following the thread carefully, as the 360 days is the issue for me right now. I MIGHT have that, if I can go back to my time as a kid when my parents had a boat.
 

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I took the class and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have passed the test without it.
The navigation part is tricky.
The rules and lights part is multiple choice but remarkably hard I thought.

There were at least two people in my class of about 16 that couldn't get it and did not pass even though I had them come to my office for a study group. (maybe because the hung out with me)

I bought all the self study stuff but found it didn't do it for me.

Also you should know I was always an A student in school but I'm over 60 so that probably cancels it out.
I know their are people who self study and pass but I suspect it is the exception not the rule. At least that is what I tell my self.

Much of it is just hard core memorization and tricky wording of multiple choice questions.

Sea experience and common sense will not be enough to pass the test. Many of the questions have two answers that are just wrong but two answers that practically would not make a difference in seamanship. One of them however is considered wrong.

Lots and lots of technical stuff where you need to know that the light has to be displayed if the boat is over 100' otherwise you get the questions wrong. Practically you are going to use radar, AIS and keep a good distance from any ships lights. It would be highly unlikely that the extra light would make a difference between you hitting a boat or not. Besides how much difference is their between a 100' ship and and 105' ship?

In defense of the class I took they made a big effort to really emphasize the real important stuff that is both needed for safety and are in the regulations while covering the tricky questions.

If I had to guess I would say that 50% of the questions are good. The other 50% are mostly tricky with two plausible answers.
So if you guess on the tricky questions you will get a 75 on the test and you need a 90 to pass.

I took it because I'm thinking I might like to teach sailing and this license is required to teach any place the CG has jurisdiction.


Also I get to wear the hat if I want to but haven't gotten up the nerve yet.:)
From a prestige point of view the OUVP is basically at the same level as a sheriffs badge from a cracker jack box but it is required for some jobs. Real captains are not impressed.
 

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islander bahama 24
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There may be an insurance break for personal vessels that's all I can think of
 

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I really scratch my head over the experience requirement. I can think of at least two people that have the 6 pack that would not seem to have had it. Do people just retroactively make these logs? I'm sure I have the experience, but would have to recreate most of it. In 40 years, I only started bothering in the last 5 to 10 and then I skip every other passage, especially those that remain in the Bay.
Correct, the CG captures sea service on form CG-7195. For better or worse, they aren't looking for the actual log books. BTW, if it's your first time qualifying for the license, you can go back to age 15 for sea service.

http://www.uscg.mil/forms/cg/CG_719S.pdf
 

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30 years ago, I passed the exam for a 100-ton motor/sail license after buying a two-book set from these folks:

http://www.marineeducationtextbooks.com/e-commerce-solutions-catalog.2.html

I recall the books were 40 bucks back then, no doubt more now? I felt well-prepared and as long as you are capable with paperwork and long applications and physical exams and drug tests on your own, I don't see why it shouldn't work for a 6-pack license.

Only thing is, nowadays the school can give the exam (not so back then?). I had to go to the Coast Guard Regional Exam Center (the REC), which fortunately was right here in New Orleans.

Advantages are you can carry passengers for hire on uninspected ("uncertificated") vessels. And you might snag a job at some charter outfit or sailing school?? Mine is good for Inspected Vessels, so I've occasionally been mate or second captain on a 100' offshore liveaboard dive boat which is useful, fun, and may be a retirement gig, who knows? The license started out as Ocean Operator but is now Master, Near Coastal.

So sit for the "biggest" license your time will justify, go for Inspected Vessels if you can, you're going to the trouble of logs, physicals, and exams anyway, you may end up with a 25 or 50-Ton license (but you need 2 years' time, and more for the auxiliary sail part too).
 

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islander bahama 24
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I took the class and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have passed the test without it.
The navigation part is tricky.
The rules and lights part is multiple choice but remarkably hard I thought.

There were at least two people in my class of about 16 that couldn't get it and did not pass even though I had them come to my office for a study group. (maybe because the hung out with me)

I bought all the self study stuff but found it didn't do it for me.

Also you should know I was always an A student in school but I'm over 60 so that probably cancels it out.
I know their are people who self study and pass but I suspect it is the exception not the rule. At least that is what I tell my self.

Much of it is just hard core memorization and tricky wording of multiple choice questions.

Sea experience and common sense will not be enough to pass the test. Many of the questions have two answers that are just wrong but two answers that practically would not make a difference in seamanship. One of them however is considered wrong.

Lots and lots of technical stuff where you need to know that the light has to be displayed if the boat is over 100' otherwise you get the questions wrong. Practically you are going to use radar, AIS and keep a good distance from any ships lights. It would be highly unlikely that the extra light would make a difference between you hitting a boat or not. Besides how much difference is their between a 100' ship and and 105' ship?

In defense of the class I took they made a big effort to really emphasize the real important stuff that is both needed for safety and are in the regulations while covering the tricky questions.

If I had to guess I would say that 50% of the questions are good. The other 50% are mostly tricky with two plausible answers.
So if you guess on the tricky questions you will get a 75 on the test and you need a 90 to pass.

I took it because I'm thinking I might like to teach sailing and this license is required to teach any place the CG has jurisdiction.


Also I get to wear the hat if I want to but haven't gotten up the nerve yet.:)
From a prestige point of view the OUVP is basically at the same level as a sheriffs badge from a cracker jack box but it is required for some jobs. Real captains are not impressed.
May as well get the hundred tonner not any more cost just more experience needed and looks better on a resume
 

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The courses are designed only to teach one to pass the test. They teach nothing you shouldn't already know before you begin. It is much like a driver's license exam, with questions worded as though to confuse you, which is why taking the course is helpful.
The written exams are multiple choice and therefor the correct answer should be (but not always; I was told to choose the closest to correct in this case??) right there in front of you. If you plan to make a profession out of this, beyond US territorial waters, you'd be a lot better served to go through the RYA system as the US small craft (under 1600 grt) tickets are worthless and unrecognized by any authority other than the USCG.
I have yet to have an insurance company discount me for any of my licenses or experience, by the way.
You may also need a TWIC card (I don't know if it's required for OUPV, but it is for any larger ticket, as is an FCC marine radio operator permit).
Anything you need to know is available at;NMC Charter Boat Captain Page
 

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Minne-
In this day and age when even the USN is finding cheats on nuke boats?

I wouldn't be surprised to find there was a cottage industry in buying and reselling yard queens. Those derelict boats that languish in the back of storage yards, but someone keeps paying some rent on them. Voila, you own it for two years, you write a log showing you had it on the water for 360 of them, you've just satisfied the requirements. And now you sell the carcass to the next guy, who does it again...

There's all sorts of schemes and schemers out there. Or simply numbnuts that "logged" their time while passing out fishing rods and wiping out the blige. Why should boating licenses be any more trustworthy than drivers' licenses? ($200 to pass the road test, just leave some 20's on the seat) Or I'm told that in Florida, the "road test" is done entirely in a parking lot?? With no real driving in traffic??

Or there's the other extreme, if you want to be a harbor pilot, you'd damn well better have been born from guild parents. (shrug)
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Requirements for OUPV - 6 Pack - License;
  • a valid TWIC
  • pass a USCG Physical
  • documentation of 360 days at sea / 90 days in the last 3 years
  • 3 Character references
  • enrollment in a random drug testing program
  • a valid First Aid / CPR certificate
  • A passing grade on the test, which includes 5 parts
    • Deck hand knowledge
    • Navigation knowledge
    • Marlinspike
    • Fire and Safety
    • Rules of the road, including Sound Signals and Dayshapes

Good luck!
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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Home study with the various books (Wing, etc) is a tough way to go. I did it but because of the enormous amount of time I spent studying (and not knowing if I was studying the right stuff) I always recommend that someone take a class from someone with a good reputation. You will retain more practical knowledge instead of just cramming a bunch of worthless junk into your brain by taking the class. Not blowing my own horn but everyone (people at the USCG testing station, instructors, captains that I know) told me that a very, very small percentage of home schoolers end up passing. Even if you don't take a class it's still not cheap: USCG physical, Twic card, CPR class, and the testing fees all add up. Good luck on whatever you decide, but this isn't like getting a drivers license, I studied for almost four months app. 20 hours/week, and three or four 8-10 hour days just before the two day test. I wasn't planning on using the license, just got bored one winter and decided to do it for personal knowledge, invested too much time to quit by the time I realized how much time would be needed. I got a 50 ton Master with sail endorsement (additional test). One other thing; after you are rated as a Master if you are involved in an incident the USCG will hold you to a higher standard (liability).
 

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I've recently(well in the last year) have fulfilled all requirements for my 25 ton OUPV.
This what you'll have to do to:

Pass the exam...highly recommend taking a course
They test you on site. $1000 depending on where you live I took it in Sausalito and decided to stay at a hotel rather than commute.

Pass a stringent Physical , 9 pages to be exact

Aquire a CPR first aid certificate $85

Submitt 3 letters of recommendation

Aquire a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Card) ID card $135 basically your background check from Homeland Security

Pass a Drug test (note the drug test must be within the last 6 months)

Submit your sea time documentation ( note you can use your own vessel for this but I recommend aquiring as much sea time as possible on other boats. You will need CF numbers boat owners signature and contact info. 360 life time 90 of the 360 in the last 3 years. "Sea days" is minimum 4-6 hours underway.) if using your own vessel for part of your sea time you will need to show proof of ownership of said vessel during the time of its use ie insurance documents, bill of sale etc...

You have 1 year once you have passed the exam to submit your application to the coastguard $148

I would also recommend submitting your application in person at the nearest coastguard regional center.

Your basically joining the merchant marines which allows for you to apply for employment on freighters etc...

Overall it cost around $3000
 

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I did this in retirement, was on my bucket list. Ended up teaching at the school for a few years, part time (pay covered my gas to drive to the school, for the fun of it). Gave me a reason to talk about boats in the off season with like minded people:)

Other than that, never exercised the certificate.

Yes, you will learn the rules of the road. You will get really good with paper charts, set and drift calculations, etc. You'll get exposure to people pursing careers in the maritime business, which is interesting. I learned a LOT from a retired coast guard master chief who was instructor. Met lots of interesting people in the trade.

If you plan on running a charter business, talk with people in the business before you start. From the people I know, it's not what you think it is. Similar to the guy who retires from Wall Street and buys an inn in Vermont because he went there once and had a good time. Guess he didn't notice that the owner was doing the laundry and cleaning the kitchen.

I'd second the recommendation for a structured course.
 

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From my experience obtaining a masters near coastal 50GT, I'd say nothing about the licensing process is as it seems before you get into it, and is it not much more than time-consuming.

I did my own studying. The trick is to do enough Google research so you know what the process requires you know that you wont have picked up in 40 years of boating, e.g. what are CFRs and how do you find stuff in them.

If you have recently owned a boat for three or more years, your experience wont be questioned.

Find a hospital that does seaman physicals, and their routine may only take an hour or two and cost $100.

The only hard skill is getting 90% on the nav rules exam. Any experienced boater can get 70%, getting 90% is hard. Most of the questions relate to the rule exceptions or interpretations, so you need to know cold the Inland/International exceptions (which differ of course) and the use of will/shall/must/may within rules.

You can take the tests again and again. I got 88% on my first attempt on the nav rules exam. I studied the exceptions hard, then got the 90% on the next try a week later. Yes, the questions are different...

I could not imaging spending the walking-around time involved in all the minutia unless you have a clear commercial intent.
 
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