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Old 08-02-2017, 14:00   #1
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License question

Hey guys and gals. I'm a long time lurker, like years long. It's time to get the boat.

So with that I recently came across a very good deal on a ....Tug boat! I haven't bought it yet but I am really considering it. My question is, if I make it into a live aboard, will I need a license to operate it even if I will not be doing anything commercial with it. Thanks
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Old 08-02-2017, 14:22   #2
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Re: License question

Where are you? How big is it? (length, tonnage, etc.)

Generally, in the US, you don't need a license to own... but you may need to prove to your insurance company that you'd be able to safely operate the boat... and a USGC license is one way to sorta-kinda do that. (The one with least stringent requirements needs you to have a minimum of 360 full days on the water, underway. you can see more at Credential Application Process )

Another way sometimes is to hire a captain to move you around, and/or hire a captain to teach you how to safely operate the boat.

But there's a whole lot of "it depends" involved...

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Old 08-02-2017, 14:47   #3
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Re: License question

It's on the East Coast of the U.S. I don't have the specifics yet. It looks to be one of those old army harbor tugs about 65 feet in length not sure of the tonnage.

She is pretty beat up but that would be no big deal to refurbish her.She floats still so there is that.
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Old 08-02-2017, 14:49   #4
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Re: License question

4X value to refurb at a minimum
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Old 08-02-2017, 14:51   #5
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Re: License question

Insurance will probably require a "safe boating course" which you can do online. Other wise as long as you are over 26 years old you don't need a license if you are operating it recreationally. If commercial you will need a captains license through the us coast guard. And that depends on tonnage.
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Old 08-02-2017, 15:27   #6
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Re: License question

Thanks for the replies. The cost of refurbishing will depend mostly onwhat I want in it and I would think I will be able to add it all over time.

I looked at the boat 2 days ago and the fella that told me about it let me walk around a bit, he wasn't the owner but from what I seen, It definitely has a lot of potential to be a interesting cruising boat. My imagination can run wild for sure.
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Old 08-02-2017, 15:43   #7
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Re: License question

I believe the license requirement kicks in at 65', take a look at your documentation for specifics of the vessel's overall specs.
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Old 08-02-2017, 16:31   #8
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Re: License question

If that is truly the case. That would surely end any ideas I had.
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Old 08-02-2017, 16:50   #9
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Re: License question

I ran 100'+ tugs. Get a book on tug handling and remember you have much more weight than a similar length yacht. Don't dock in heaver winds and currents until you've learned the boat. You will get requests to tow. If you take payment, you enter into commercial rules and your insurance may not cover accidents and the USCG will want to see your license. If you tow for free, get another book on towing.
Many people have retired tugs that they operate for recreation w/o a captains license.
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Old 08-02-2017, 16:50   #10
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Re: License question

Don't take my word for it, that was a long time ago when I heard that. Getting a license is not a bad thing, it would help you be safer on the water.
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Old 08-02-2017, 16:51   #11
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Re: License question

USCG has a nice web site that will answer all your questions.
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Old 08-02-2017, 17:11   #12
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Re: License question

So I can operate it without a license then? I'm starting to feel like a yoyo..lol
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Old 08-02-2017, 18:35   #13
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Re: License question

Quote:
.

She is pretty beat up but that would be no big deal to refurbish her.She floats still so there is that.
No big deal to refurbish an old tug?
Hat off to you Sir.
Pls send before and after pictures and if steel, reports on hull thickness before and after, or if wood, re-planking and re-framing reports. Oh, and that pesky engine and tranny with 20,000 hours, no big deal to refurbish either?
Wish I had your optimism, and I would love an old tug in good shape, to live on and for the occasional pull or push for money. Great idea.
(Already have a charter operation and license, but no tug)
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Old 08-02-2017, 18:39   #14
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Re: License question

BTW how big is the fuel tank and what is its range? I wonder whether all tugs are designed for distance cruising if that's what you had in mind.
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Old 08-02-2017, 18:47   #15
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Re: License question

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Originally Posted by dlymn View Post
BTW how big is the fuel tank and what is its range? I wonder whether all tugs are designed for distance cruising if that's what you had in mind.
You may also want to consider the fuel consumption: i.e., gallons per hour used at cruising speed.

Draft may also be an issue. A tug passed us going out of Ilwaco to the Columbia River and mentioned he drew 15 feet! Was about that size, too.
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