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Old 07-03-2017, 00:20   #1
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License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

Hi everybody,

We'll be sailing the ICW and up the Hudson river later this year. Both my wife and I ahve all the Danish licenses possible to get (Yachtmaster Ocean etc) and I also have the commmercial skippers certification on top of my Yachtmaster Ocean.

Here's the question - Does the US require any special licenses for sailing the Inland waterways - In Europe you need the Cevni license ( I have one).

If a special license is needed - can this be taken via the internet or do we have to go to a school somewhere?

Thanks for the help

Carsten
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Old 07-03-2017, 00:30   #2
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License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

No qualifications required at all. Really all you need to know is what vhf channel the commercial traffic, bridges and locks work on.
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:47   #3
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

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No qualifications required at all. Really all you need to know is what vhf channel the commercial traffic, bridges and locks work on.
And legally, you don't even need a vhf, let alone how to use it (foolish not to though).

FYI - the inland waterways typically refers to the inland river systems (Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Hudson etc.) not so much the ICW which is generally treated as more coastal even though it often gets quite far from the open ocean. (there is probably a legal definition but in common discussions this is how it's treated).
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:45   #4
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

Great Lakes has/is it's own designation, but otherwise anything within 10 miles of shore is considered inland. Anything between 10 and 100 miles is considered coastal.


ICW is inland, Chesapeake Bay is inland. Long Island Sound and Block Island Sounds are Inland. If you can see the shore, you are likely in what the US Coast Guard considers inland water at least from a licensing perspective.


You do not need a license unless you are charging a fee for a service. If you are recreational, you do no need a license. US Citizens in most states of the United States are required to get a Safe Boater certificate from an approved school, but I don't think that applies to you, and you have your Danish certificates that would satisfy it anyway if asked.
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:56   #5
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

Basically, you need no qualifications to operate a boat in USA waters. However, the various states are allowed to set qualifications or requirements in their own waters. This may be nothing at all, a boating safety certificate for boaters under a certain age, or for all boaters operating in that state's waters.

I believe New Jersey does require a safe boating certificate, but your certificates should qualify. You might want to check just to be sure. You could do that by email.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:06   #6
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

There are no license requirements for the Atlantic ICW, but you might find some areas restrictive with your near 7' draft. I would consider taking an offshore passage from Jacksonville, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston has much to offer for a visit. Then, a second passage from Charleston to Beaufort, North Carolina. This would bring you inside the ICW and avoid Cape Hatteras via a passage into the Chesapeake at Norfolk, Virginia. Most of the difficulties with your draft and shoaling in the ICW would be in Georgia and the Carolinas.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:42   #7
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Hi everybody,

We'll be sailing the ICW and up the Hudson river later this year. Both my wife and I ahve all the Danish licenses possible to get (Yachtmaster Ocean etc) and I also have the commmercial skippers certification on top of my Yachtmaster Ocean.

Here's the question - Does the US require any special licenses for sailing the Inland waterways - In Europe you need the Cevni license ( I have one).

If a special license is needed - can this be taken via the internet or do we have to go to a school somewhere?

Thanks for the help

Carsten
There is an online route to a boat safety certificate that you are almost certainly exempted by age to needing. Florida requires this cert for those under a certain age (born post 1988 I just googled) which I forget as I passed it by half a century or more. I took the test online and have my card, never shown it to anyone and frankly passing the test is so easy it is laughable but it probably helps total numpties. I lost my link but Google found this one below. THE questions multiple choice answer type ones often with possible answers that will have you shaking with mirth or rage or even both, coming from Europe..

https://www.boat-ed.com/florida/?cam...-vYRoCI3nw_wcB
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:02   #8
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

License no but cruising permit yes.
I noticed all the thread responders are from the US.
I am a Canadian registered boat and require a Cruising Permit to cruise the waters of the USA which I have done for years.
I have been stopped numerous times on the ICW and the Hudson River (usually on a Sunday afternoon) by the USCG and the first document they want to see is the cruising permit.
If you are not a US registered boat you will need a Cruising Permit. I tried not flying a Canadian flag, but still got stopped for "a courtesy check". Officers were always friendly and courteous but I don't know how they treat you without a permit.
The permit is good for six months then you have to go offshore (Bahamas usually, or Canada) and return to reapply.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:37   #9
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

This webpage link to customs may help, appears to say vessels from "certain" countries may get a cruising permit from first port of entry. You could call or they have a place to e-mail them a question.
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...ering-the-u.s.
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Old 07-03-2017, 18:50   #10
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

US CPB via water is a joke. I forgot to get a decal to return to the US from a trip to Cuba. We went to the local office in Key West before we left. They had no idea what we were talking about. They had to google it. They said not to worry, that they were not going out to inspect any boats.

Coming back, we were to call them before we reached port to secure a re-entry number. No one had any idea what we were talking about.

Needless to say, we sailed to Cuba and back, with all these supposed regulations and requirements, with no issues.
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Old 08-03-2017, 00:37   #11
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Re: License Needed for US Inland Waterways?

I believe the US will want you to have a base license for your VHF radio on board. In Canada all that is required is a radio operators cert with DSC I believe as of 2017. For boats going to USA waters, I believe they require a station license for the radio as well. a mobile radio license for the boat. I get mine from Industry Canada for travels in the USA.
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