I got my license in 2005, and have used it ever since. I have taught sailing for a variety of schools in the Chesapeake Bay
area and - in the interest of full disclosure - I taught OUPV and Master's classes
in Virginia and North Carolina
for three or four years.
Having said that, my recommendation would be that, unless you have a career path in mind that requires a license or you already have a job lined up, don't bother with the license.
The Coast Guard has, for all intents and purposes, turned over the education and testing parts
of the license to the private companies. The private companies use the Coast Guard's database of questions to create tests, which they then teach to. The tests that they create are comprehensive - the Coast Guard requires that - but the courses focus on the material you need to know to pass the tests.
The OUPV test consists of four sections - Rules of the Road, General Navigation
, Plotting and Deck
Operations. The first three are important information, but you can get just as good an education from the Coast Guard Auxiliary's courses on basic seamanship and basic coastal navigation
and a fraction of the cost. As for Deck
Operations, the course of study is a hodge-podge of things like how to use a radio
and how a diesel engine
works. There are some good sections on fire-fighting and basic damage control, but again, you can get the same education (or better) through any of a half-dozen organizations.
Finally, in addition to the cost of the classwork, you have to get a Transportation Worker's Identification card, undergo a physical and document sea time, all of which costs time or money
. All in, a license is going to set you back $1,000 or more and, unless you are making money
with it, you can get the same value elesewhere.