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Old 28-09-2011, 10:18   #1
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For Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify ?

Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

By Captain Bob Figular

Which License should you get? We recommend that you get the best license you qualify for! There are a couple of options depending on your citizenship status and boating experience.


The two main captain’s licenses issued by the USCG are the Operator (OUPV/Six-pack) and the 25/50/100 Ton Master. There is no requirement to start with a OUPV/Six-pack – you can go straight to Master license!


The USCG Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV/Six-Pack Captain’s License) allows the holder to carry up to six paying passengers on uninspected vessels up to 100 gross tons (about 75-90 feet long). These are usually smaller vessels that normally engage in charter fishing, SCUBA diving, or tour cruises. As such, these vessels are limited to six paying passengers plus crew-hence the term “Six-Pack.”



The OUPV License is issued in three forms:
OUPV Inland License: The OUPV Inland license is restricted to operation shoreward of the boundary line, excluding the Great Lakes. This license is valid on uninspected vessels to 100 gross tons.
  • This license requires at least 360 days of documented experience in the operation of vessels, with 90 of the 360 days occurring in the last three years. Experience gained prior to 15 years of age may not be counted.
  • The OUPV Inland License can be upgraded to an OUPV Near Coastal License once 90 days experience seaward of the boundary line has been achieved.
OUPV Great Lakes & Inland: 360 total with at least 90 days service on the Great Lakes.


OUPV Near Coastal: This license is valid on vessels up to 100 gross tons and out to 100 nautical miles.
The OUPV Near Coastal License also requires at least 360 days of documented experience in the operation of vessels, 90 of which must be gained seaward of the boundary line. Ninety of the 360 days must be in the last three years. Experience gained prior to the age of 15 will not be counted.


The USCG Master License allows the holder to operate inspected vessels as well as uninspected vessels. Any vessel that is certified (authorized) by the USCG to carry more than 6 paying passengers plus crew must have a Captain who holds a 25/50/100 Ton Master license. Ferryboats, harbor tours boats, whale watch boats are examples of inspected vessels.


There are 4 different Master Licenses a mariner may qualify for such as the Master Inland or Master Near Coastal. Both the amount of sea service time and the size vessels you have been on will influence the license you are eligible for. Master licenses are tonnage rated at 25 GT (gross tons), 50 GT, or 100 GT. The tonnage you are awarded is determined by the size vessels you’ve gained experience on in the last 3 years – it’s called “recency experience.” You are not required to advance through the different licenses one at a time. If you meet the USCG requirements for the master 100GT Near Coastal, you’ll get that license as your first license.



The 4 types of up to 100GT Master licenses are listed below along with the requirements:
  1. Master Inland: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 360 days in the last 3 years. Completion of approved Course and Test.
  2. Master Inland/OUPV: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 360 days in the last 3 years; 90 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines.
  3. Master Inland/Mate N.C.: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 days of those 360 days in the last 3 years; 180 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines. Completion of the Mariners Learning System™ Coast Guard approved Course.
  4. Master Near Coastal: 720 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 720 days in the last 3 years; 360 of those 720 days outside the boundary lines.
Additional Requirements Include:

The Coast Guard requires the following items before they can issue your license:
  • Application for license
  • TWIC Card
  • Documentation of sea time experience – letters or sea service forms signed by the vessel’s owner or captain or sea service forms signed by you for your own boat(s) or DD2-14 and Transcript of Service for your military sea service (if applicable).
  • Proof of vessel ownership – if you are submitting forms for your own boat(s)
  • Physical Exam (within 1 year, on USCG Forms) There are certain medical conditions and/or prescription drugs that may disqualify you for a license or require a waiver. Ask for info if applicable.
  • Drug Screen (within 6 months, on USCG Forms or proof of random program)
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship for Master/Mate (Birth Certificate or Passport) or Proof of Permanent Residency for six-pack OUPV
  • Complete a First Aid & CPR approved course within the last year
  • 3 Letters of character reference
The licensing process is relatively straightforward. I personally believe that you would have a hard time finding another opportunity with an equal return. The only regret I have with regards to getting my Captain’s License – I wish I did it sooner!
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Old 09-10-2011, 19:38   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariners
Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

By Captain Bob Figular

Which License should you get? We recommend that you get the best license you qualify for! There are a couple of options depending on your citizenship status and boating experience.

The two main captain’s licenses issued by the USCG are the Operator (OUPV/Six-pack) and the 25/50/100 Ton Master. There is no requirement to start with a OUPV/Six-pack – you can go straight to Master license!

The USCG Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV/Six-Pack Captain’s License) allows the holder to carry up to six paying passengers on uninspected vessels up to 100 gross tons (about 75-90 feet long). These are usually smaller vessels that normally engage in charter fishing, SCUBA diving, or tour cruises. As such, these vessels are limited to six paying passengers plus crew-hence the term “Six-Pack.”

The OUPV License is issued in three forms:
OUPV Inland License: The OUPV Inland license is restricted to operation shoreward of the boundary line, excluding the Great Lakes. This license is valid on uninspected vessels to 100 gross tons.

[*]This license requires at least 360 days of documented experience in the operation of vessels, with 90 of the 360 days occurring in the last three years. Experience gained prior to 15 years of age may not be counted.


[*]The OUPV Inland License can be upgraded to an OUPV Near Coastal License once 90 days experience seaward of the boundary line has been achieved.

OUPV Great Lakes & Inland: 360 total with at least 90 days service on the Great Lakes.

OUPV Near Coastal: This license is valid on vessels up to 100 gross tons and out to 100 nautical miles.
The OUPV Near Coastal License also requires at least 360 days of documented experience in the operation of vessels, 90 of which must be gained seaward of the boundary line. Ninety of the 360 days must be in the last three years. Experience gained prior to the age of 15 will not be counted.

The USCG Master License allows the holder to operate inspected vessels as well as uninspected vessels. Any vessel that is certified (authorized) by the USCG to carry more than 6 paying passengers plus crew must have a Captain who holds a 25/50/100 Ton Master license. Ferryboats, harbor tours boats, whale watch boats are examples of inspected vessels.

There are 4 different Master Licenses a mariner may qualify for such as the Master Inland or Master Near Coastal. Both the amount of sea service time and the size vessels you have been on will influence the license you are eligible for. Master licenses are tonnage rated at 25 GT (gross tons), 50 GT, or 100 GT. The tonnage you are awarded is determined by the size vessels you’ve gained experience on in the last 3 years – it’s called “recency experience.” You are not required to advance through the different licenses one at a time. If you meet the USCG requirements for the master 100GT Near Coastal, you’ll get that license as your first license.

The 4 types of up to 100GT Master licenses are listed below along with the requirements:

[*]Master Inland: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 360 days in the last 3 years. Completion of approved Course and Test.[*]Master Inland/OUPV: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 360 days in the last 3 years; 90 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines.[*]Master Inland/Mate N.C.: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 days of those 360 days in the last 3 years; 180 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines. Completion of the Mariners Learning System™ Coast Guard approved Course.[*]Master Near Coastal: 720 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 720 days in the last 3 years; 360 of those 720 days outside the boundary lines.

Additional Requirements Include:

The Coast Guard requires the following items before they can issue your license:

[*]Application for license[*]TWIC Card[*]Documentation of sea time experience – letters or sea service forms signed by the vessel’s owner or captain or sea service forms signed by you for your own boat(s) or DD2-14 and Transcript of Service for your military sea service (if applicable).[*]Proof of vessel ownership – if you are submitting forms for your own boat(s)[*]Physical Exam (within 1 year, on USCG Forms) There are certain medical conditions and/or prescription drugs that may disqualify you for a license or require a waiver. Ask for info if applicable.[*]Drug Screen (within 6 months, on USCG Forms or proof of random program)[*]Proof of U.S. Citizenship for Master/Mate (Birth Certificate or Passport) or Proof of Permanent Residency for six-pack OUPV[*]Complete a First Aid & CPR approved course within the last year[*]3 Letters of character reference

The licensing process is relatively straightforward. I personally believe that you would have a hard time finding another opportunity with an equal return. The only regret I have with regards to getting my Captain’s License – I wish I did it sooner!
Does Navy sea time count any toward the days?
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Old 09-10-2011, 19:54   #3
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Re: Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

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Originally Posted by Rakoerber View Post
Does Navy sea time count any toward the days?
Sea time is sea time.
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Old 09-10-2011, 20:02   #4
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Thanks. So if I spent 2 years on an aircraft carrier in the early 80's I can count that time toward a liscence? Sorry for my double check as I have heard different versions. Thanks
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Old 09-10-2011, 20:04   #5
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Re: Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

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Originally Posted by Rakoerber View Post
Thanks. So if I spent 2 years on an aircraft carrier in the early 80's I can count that time toward a liscence? Sorry for my double check as I have heard different versions. Thanks
As long as you can document that you were on a vessel and underway, then yes.
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Old 09-10-2011, 20:10   #6
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Re: Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
As long as you can document that you were on a vessel and underway, then yes.
This answer is incorrect.

Talk to the NMC for the correct info.

(They evaluate your experience for currency... it is somewhat subjective).
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Old 09-10-2011, 20:25   #7
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Re: Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

Hmm, ok, well I guess there does indeed seem to be a little controvery on this subject. It's not what I was taught, so I apologize for the misinformation.

I did also find this:

•Time acquired on vessels larger than 300 tons will not be considered.
• Time acquired on military vessels is up to 60% applicable.
Your local Coast Guard REC will provide you with forms for military time.
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Old 09-10-2011, 20:26   #8
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Thanks All
I will review with the NMC and see what they say.
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Old 09-10-2011, 20:32   #9
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Re: Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
Hmm, ok, well I guess there does indeed seem to be a little controvery on this subject. It's not what I was taught, so I apologize for the misinformation.

I did also find this:

•Time acquired on vessels larger than 300 tons will not be considered.
• Time acquired on military vessels is up to 60% applicable.
Your local Coast Guard REC will provide you with forms for military time.
Again,

You NEED to talk to the NMC. The '60% rule' was a subjective standard... it varied between REC's. They have been working to get on the same page.... but the answer from the horse's mouth is the only one that matters.

OBTW, the reason it matters to me that folks get this right is that I had valid days on a USN ship (bridge crew).... had way over the minimum days to qualify so I tested to 200 ton, oceans.... THEN had my final cert decertified and reduced to 50 ton because the REC changed their policy...

Do not proceed on what you hear on the internet... contact the NMC with your questions directly.
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Old 09-10-2011, 22:15   #10
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Re: For Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify ?

A very well put and simplified article. Good post!
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:55   #11
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Re: For Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify ?

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Originally Posted by Rakoerber View Post
Does Navy sea time count any toward the days?
As others have already answered, it all depends. First, you have to provide appropriate documentation for time served, position held and vessel served on. A DD214 is -not- sufficient documentation but most REC's will accept a "transcript of sea service". If you sailed in a non deck or non engineering position, your sea time will likely not count. The size of vessel (and if you're applying for an engineering license) and type of propulsion will also be evaluated. Sea time on a destroyer, frigate, etc. would only count towards an unlimited tonnage license. If your sea time passes these tests, then the REC will apply only 60 percent towards your sea time qualifications.

Another bit of info I'll pass along is that there can be considerable difference on how your sea time is evaluated from one REC to another. I've had students who were turned down by one then sent their packet to a different REC and was accepted. You also don't have to take the test at the same REC that you were evaluated by.

Last bit of advice is, "if in doubt, check the CFR's". In order to pass your exam you'll need to become intimate with the CFR's anyways so might as well dig in and start learning now. Answers to this and many other questions can all be answered there (and yes, they are available on line).

I am a retired USN officer, hold a 100 ton oceans master, unlimited tonnage oceans 3rd mate, and was formerly an upper level license instructor. Now I drive a desk.
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Old 11-10-2011, 13:11   #12
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Re: For Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify ?

For those of you who are ex-Navy. Being on a USS ship does not automatically give you sea time toward a license... There are a few Rates where it does... BM, GM, QM, SM, & RD, any of the deck watch ratings. That is for deck license... And Engineering has it own qualifying Ratings also. But if you were an Airdale or a cook, or yeoman... you are not going to get your Navy seat time to count.
And the last part of that seatime has to have been acquire in the last three years for all of it to count. But submitting your papers does stop the clock on time experations.
Mark
USN BM1 Ret.
1600 Ton Master / 2nd Mate Unlimited up on Oceans...
Plus all of the necessary hoops that I had to jump through.
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Old 11-10-2011, 14:46   #13
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Re: For Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify ?

British Equivalent:
We have a number of Non-Brit's going on our courses in the UK, most of whom are from the U.S. (Check out UKSA.org)
"British Yachtmaster" Offshore (Not "Yachtmaster Ocean") Exam Pre-requisites
Minimum sea time 50 days, 2,500 miles including at least 5 passages over 60 miles measured along the rhumb line from the port of departure to the destination, acting as skipper for at least two of these passages and including two which have involved overnight passages. 5 days experience as skipper. At least half this mileage and passages must be in "Tidal Waters" displaying an ability to create tidal vectors, (Caribbean does not count).. All qualifying sea time must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
Form of exam Practical
Certification required. A restricted (VHF only) Radio Operators Certificate or a GMDSS Short Range Certificate or higher grade of marine radio certificate. A valid first aid certificate (first aid qualifications held by Police, Fire and Armed Services are acceptable).
Minimum exam duration 8-12 hours for 1 candidate, 10-18 hours for 2 candidates. No more than two candidates can be examined in 24 hours and no more than four candidates can be examined in one 2 day session.
Minimum age 18

The exam will include an assessment of your skippering skills, boat handling, general seamanship, navigation, safety awareness and knowledge of the IRPCS, meteorology, and signals. The boat used must be between 7m (23ft) and 24m (78ft) and be in sound, seaworthy condition, equipped to the standard set out in the RYA book Cruising Yacht Safety (code C8). The boat must be equipped with a full up to date set of charts and navigational publications and be efficiently crewed, as the examiner will not take part in the management of the boat during the exam.
Before you book your exam please check that you:
can provide a boat, have completed the required mileage and experience as skipper, hold a VHF Radio Operators License or Short Range Certificate, hold a valid first aid certificate, have read the syllabus in RYA publications; G15 (sail) or G18 (power) have read and comply with the pre-requisites above.
If you need a Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence in order to work on board a commercial craft subject to the MCA's codes of practice, you will need to get it commercially endorsed. You can then work as a Master of commercial vessels of up to 200gt in category 1 to 6 waters - that is up to 150 miles from a safe haven.
The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence can be used commercially in its own right. It is also a pre-requisite for the MCA's Officer of the Watch qualification, which enables you to work worldwide on vessels of up to 3000gt.
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Old 11-10-2011, 15:00   #14
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Re: For Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify ?

Some interesting info here...I was a licensing instructor and former USCG officer (helo pilot) with 100 ton master and qualed to teach to that level including assistance towing end. The impression I got from all my students and experience with the former RECs was as follows.....

I believe that they will credit sea time at some ratio they choose to use for ANY rate as long as you were underway on the vessel for lower licenses...for upper I believe they get pickier.

What's the difference between a cook on an aircraft carrier or being drunk and asleep on your dad's sportfish when it comes to lower level sea time?
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Old 25-10-2011, 22:05   #15
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Some interesting info here...I was a licensing instructor and former USCG officer (helo pilot) with 100 ton master and qualed to teach to that level including assistance towing end. The impression I got from all my students and experience with the former RECs was as follows.....

I believe that they will credit sea time at some ratio they choose to use for ANY rate as long as you were underway on the vessel for lower licenses...for upper I believe they get pickier.

What's the difference between a cook on an aircraft carrier or being drunk and asleep on your dad's sportfish when it comes to lower level sea time?
Thanks for all the info. I agree, at least in the Navy you were working and participating in drills, fires,docking and other training relative to safety etc. Drunk on dads boat qualifies you for nothing. We'll just have to see if they allow me any time.
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