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Old 08-12-2012, 20:50   #1
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Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

I'm thinking about getting a Coast Guard Captain's license, and I'd be interested in hearing from people who've done this as to whether they found it worthwhile...

Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2012, 20:57   #2
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

I took my captains license course last year, and I would say that it is worthwhile. Ive been on the water all my life, and I learned lots of stuff that I would have never known. Most of it was safety, which I think is invaluable. Good Luck
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Old 08-12-2012, 21:33   #3
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

It can give you another option regarding income. One can never have too many options.
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Old 08-12-2012, 22:25   #4
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

I've just renewed my license for the 5th time; started with a USCG 50 ton and now have USCG 1600/3000 ton ocean and MCA 3000 ton. It's been a great ride with lots of travel and opportunity to work in different parts of the industry.
For 18 years it's been my full time job (part time before that) so yes, I'd say it's worth it if you're serious about advancing. A OUPV (six pax) or 100 ton is pretty limiting but you can work if you want.
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Old 08-12-2012, 23:25   #5
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

Pally,

I rarely used my as a work ticket, other than doing some deliveries. But I learned a lot taking the class that I wouldn't have known otherwise. And it has helped my insurance rates significantly.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:26   #6
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

You don't need to take a class to get this. Accredited schools let you take coursework in lieu of the test. All you need is to pass the written test, document enough days at sea, pass a physical exam, and maybe pee in a cup, I'm not sure. If you do get it though, please don't ask us to call you captain.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:42   #7
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

I let my license go. In my opinion, unless you choose a career that require's a ticket, it isn't worth it. My biggest fear is that with a license, you are held to a higher standard in a court of law. As knowledgable and careful as you can possibly be, accidents do happen, and in my opinion you are leaving yourself in a more vunerable position. I'm not sure, but I think holding that license, you should carry liability insurance if you are using it for compensation. i used to deliver boats to the Newport Boat Show for a dealer friend, both before and after having the license, and with the insurance company liking me having a license, they could hold me responsible. As far as income, so many people hold tickets, that the pay scale for doing small, one trip jobs, unless you are lucky, isn't great. It is so easy to get a license, and so many people lie about sea time, that the competition is fierce. However, when you get your first license, it does give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. It allowed my grand children to call me "Cappy", rather than a trite Grandpa, which I rebelled against.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:03   #8
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

Got mine about a year ago and other than a break on Insurance, kind of a waste. When you complete the medical questionaire - DO NOT volunteer any information.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:43   #9
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

Does the sea care if you have a license? My landlocked friends ask me if I have a captains license; I reply: " you don't need a license, you need a boat"!
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:48   #10
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

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.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:49   #11
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Of course the sea doesn't care, unfortunately sometimes the authorities do.

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Old 09-12-2012, 07:37   #12
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Re: Coast Guard Captain's license - worth it?

Capt. Frank M's advice is spot on. As others have said too the sea does not care if you have a Captain's license or not. All you need is a boat. Of course from some things I have seen on the waters it does not care if you have any common sense either. But, employers, insurance companies and the Coast Guard do if you plan to try and earn a living on the water.
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