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Old 24-07-2017, 12:43   #1
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Value of a USCG Captain's License?

For those with no intention of doing commercial skippering, what is the value of a USCG captain's license? It occurs to me that it could be useful in dealing with insurers or government bureaucrats in some situations. Anyone have any experience? Also, in a similar vein, would you recommend doing more ASA courses than one needs for pure educational purposes, just to build one's sailing CV?
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Old 24-07-2017, 12:48   #2
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

Our insurance company offers a discount for licensed captains (don't know how much). Also, there is a personal improvement and satisfaction factor to take into consideration. My wife and I plan to pursue it for personal growth and knowledge, if nothing else.
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Old 24-07-2017, 13:00   #3
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

I have a captain's ticket, and it is useful to me only for commercial purposes (I work as a captain). IMO, unless you need it to make money with, it is a completely useless and expensive document--it doesn't make you a better seaman, unless you learned all the info just for the sake of the ticket, in which case you don't qualify.
If you want it for bragging rights (like to be able to legally call yourself "Captain XXX"), you need to grow up.
Ouch. I guess I'm kind of a wet blanket--please don't take it wrong, just know that it's purposeless unless you have a specific purpose.
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Old 24-07-2017, 13:05   #4
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

I think it is good to have and I did have one myself. I let it expire as I wasn't doing any work but I might go and "re-up".

Call me a skeptic if you will but I do feel there is a downside. If you are ever in a situation with authorities involved and it is minor enough they have some discretion, they might hold you to a higher standard as you "were trained, or should have known better" while letting a lesser person go with a warning.

I know, I know, I sound paranoid!
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Old 24-07-2017, 13:51   #5
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

My wife has a USCG Master's ticket and it has been very valuable for two reasons:

The first was that she learned a great deal that greatly increased her competence and confidence level, at night big ship deck officers realize they are dealing with a fellow professional who knows the rules.

Second, she is Hispanic and in South and Central America the license gains her great respect from officials and marina people...Senora Capitaine Nell, they relialize, is to be treated with great respect.
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Old 24-07-2017, 14:11   #6
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

I think that for most boaters in the USA, it means nothing. In most states, people over a certain age need no proof of any boating skills or knowledge to operate a recreational boat. You can even walk into some marinas and rent a boat for the day. No experience needed.


If you want it to impress people, that's a reason to get it but it won't impress everyone. Dock a big boat in a small slip in a storm without hitting anything - that will impress people.
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Old 24-07-2017, 14:49   #7
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

For the record, I'm not interested in impressing anyone.

...well, except insurance agents/bureaucrats who might otherwise screw me.
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Old 24-07-2017, 15:10   #8
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

I had a Master 25ton w/ sail endorsement and let it lapse several decades ago.
Was thinking about getting it reactivated. While talking to several CG examiners, all asked about my reasons.
Basically, I plan on no "for hire" work. No ferry/passenger/cargo work. No chartering. And I don't give a hoot about being called Capt..

All said not to do it.
Having a license will hold you to a higher standard in case of an "incident", over being a land luber driving a boat.

Also, I found that since Geico took over BOAT US insurance, I really saw no noticeable rate decrease.

And the final kicker was that beings my Lic. lapse, I would have to take ALL of the tests over again.

To me it is/was a no brainer !
Continue being a land lubber driving a boat.
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Old 24-07-2017, 15:17   #9
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

I got a six pack. I have done one small delivery due to having it. Unintentional, just able to help someone out.

I think the main motivator for me was that people would call me "Captain" and I felt a fraud. Somehow having even the lowly 6 pack eased my mind in that regard.

I think it was worth it from the sense that I have a somewhat better understanding of what is required for professionals and I got to meet others who were interested. I have gotten insurance discounts, but they are not much.
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Old 25-07-2017, 00:19   #10
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

For Information in many countries and all of European waters if you wish to hire or use a pleasure type charter vessel you must hold a suitable license, in many cases authorities are also asking what ticket you hold even in private use, (these cases seem to be a way of harassment/bribes more than any thing else!) but it's coming,

The RYA seems to be the official UK and European body issuing the credit card sized boat license in varying categories,

Many international insurance companies are now also asking for a minimum ticket such as boat master/yacht master etc before issuing a policy, as for being a waste of time I personally dont think as I regularly run across individuals that dont even the rules of the road let alone basic navigation or what the various marks mean on a chart, let alone international Cardinal Marks or that the US is one of the few countries that has it's Port and Starboard channel markers the wrong way around, (),(System A).

I was recently called to investigate a yacht on the rocks which didn't under stand the Port and Starboard channel marks and ran aground, telling me in the US where he sails the lights are (RED RIGHT RETURNING)(System A) includes Japan/Philippines/Korea.Well not in HK!! green to green red to red all is good go ahead (on Returning!)(System B)the rest of the world,perhaps if he had studied for a boat license he would have it correct!!, another claim was a yacht damaged trying to go between a seismic ship and her tail buoys over 200 meters long at night(actually 10 kilometers between ship and tail buoys), again well correctly lighted but the skipper had no idea what the three white lights on the mast meant? All of the above situations are covered in a license ,

Cheers Steve (IIMS surveyor-Lloyd's Accredited)
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Old 25-07-2017, 01:31   #11
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

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Originally Posted by Captsteve53 View Post
as I regularly run across individuals that dont even the rules of the road let alone basic navigation or what the various marks mean on a chart, let alone international Cardinal Marks or that the US is one of the few countries that has it's Port and Starboard channel markers the wrong way around, (),(System A).

telling me in the US where he sails the lights are (RED RIGHT RETURNING)(System A) includes Japan/Philippines/Korea.
Maybe a little brush up needed...

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Old 25-07-2017, 08:42   #12
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

It is excellent training and will make you a better sailor.

It makes it possible to accept money on a casual basis. I've had people (tourists) walking the dock, stop and admire my boat....and offer up a substantial offer for a day on the water.

Your friends may up front pitch in for a passage vacation with is technically illegal without a license.

And...if anything happens and you end up before a board of inquiry you will be held to a higher bar. Worth considering.
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Old 25-07-2017, 08:52   #13
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

I was strongly thinking about getting a captain's license as I was thinking I would take people out on my boat for a fee as part of team building curriculum I created and have been delivering for free to groups I know. I actually was in the process with Mariner's online system. I then got to thinking about the added risk associated with authorities coming down harder on a Captain vs regular boat owner should something go sideways. I have decided against it as the money from taking people out on my boat is trivial (small boat). If I want to take people out for a fee I'll make sure I have a big enough boat to support enough people to make the economics worth it; and such a boat would come with a captain leaving me to lead the team building/learning stuff. At least that is my thinking.
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Old 25-07-2017, 08:54   #14
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz View Post
I have a captain's ticket, and it is useful to me only for commercial purposes (I work as a captain). IMO, unless you need it to make money with, it is a completely useless and expensive document--it doesn't make you a better seaman, unless you learned all the info just for the sake of the ticket, in which case you don't qualify.
If you want it for bragging rights (like to be able to legally call yourself "Captain XXX"), you need to grow up.
Ouch. I guess I'm kind of a wet blanket--please don't take it wrong, just know that it's purposeless unless you have a specific purpose.
I agree with Benz X 2

Get a Captain license only if you plan on using it to make money or to make it your career.

Captains are held to a much higher standard than a cruiser is and so are your liabilities.

Its an expensive license and it has to be renewed and approved by your doctor.

You are subject to random drug testing.
You have to be DNA tested.
You have to be fingerprinted.

If you use the Captains license to make money this is all well and good.

To a cruiser, its a LARGE LIABILITY.
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Old 25-07-2017, 09:07   #15
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Re: Value of a USCG Captain's License?

I have my license. It did provide a great learning experience as well as personal satisfaction. It does not result in any insurance discount under my policy. With the new regulations in effect in Europe for chartering it also meets these requirements should you plan to do a bareboat charter overseas. I also got my Assisted Tow Endorsement. I have a relative who for many years owned a dive resort in the Florida Keys. Amazing how many times Captains and Crew failed to show up for work leaving him scrambling to find someone to fill in. We plan to leave the USA and sail to Canada then onto the Caribbean next June and although I will be seeking employment, the license and endorsement may allow me to pick up a dollar or two here or there if need be, but it will be nothing that I will use as full, or even part time employment.
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