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Old 26-08-2018, 21:17   #1
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USCG master - worth having? benefits?

Had I begun logging my boating experience when 16 years old, I would meet the experience requirements for a master's ticket. I'm logging time now in case I decide to pursue it.


I'm wondering if there are any benefits beyond being able to work commercially in the U.S. Insurance rates, recognition by bareboat charter operators, ease of dealing with bureaucracies here and abroad.


If worth pursuing, any reason to obtain 100 ton rating rather than OUPV?
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Old 26-08-2018, 22:38   #2
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

Definitely worth doing. You get to wear one of these

and can call yourself Capt Jammer.



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Old 27-08-2018, 01:01   #3
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

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. I'm wondering if there are any benefits beyond being able to work commercially in the U.S. Insurance rates, recognition by bareboat charter operators, ease of dealing with bureaucracies here and abroad.
The main benefit is that you learn something and may become a better boater.
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Old 27-08-2018, 02:08   #4
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

Most of the tour boats and service boats have captains with 100 ton license. The 100 ton is about the starting point. Around here (Columbia River), the boats servicing ships - taking pilots, CG inspection teams, etc., are all 100 ton captains. Commercial fishing over 200 tons requires a license. Party boat more than 6 passengers require 100 ton.
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Old 27-08-2018, 02:44   #5
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

The difference between the OUPV and the master's is a one test, mostly centered on crew management, cargo handling and emergency procedures. The difference between the OUPV and the Master's is that the assumption is that with a master's license, you will operate boats that have a crew, where the OUPV holder is usually a single-hander. Neither of these assumptions may be true, but that is that.

Given that it's only one additional test and given that the benefits are increased employment opportunities, it's worth the extra effort to go for the Master's ticket.

That being said, getting the ticket is easy. Getting someone to hire you can be difficult.
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Old 27-08-2018, 04:33   #6
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

Most insurance company's will give some discount for having a Masters license.
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Old 27-08-2018, 06:51   #7
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Had I begun logging my boating experience when 16 years old, I would meet the experience requirements for a master's ticket. I'm logging time now in case I decide to pursue it.


I'm wondering if there are any benefits beyond being able to work commercially in the U.S. Insurance rates, recognition by bareboat charter operators, ease of dealing with bureaucracies here and abroad.


If worth pursuing, any reason to obtain 100 ton rating rather than OUPV?
If you have the hours on suitable boats, then go for the tonnage license--but if you are not going to be using this to make a living, do investigate the cost of renewing your license. It can get expensive between the physical, drug test, fees, etc, etc. You also need to document sufficient ongoing sea time or pay for a refresher class. All that can add up to several hundred dollars, not saying it is not worth it, just don't be surprised...

And be aware, the rules are in the process of changing. The USCG is being somewhat more restrictive on tonnage class licenses that they used to be. 50 and 100 ton licenses are no longer distributed to a warm bodies who sat in a dinghy.

The 25 ton licenses are getting to be more a "thing" as they tighten requirements for sea time on appropriately sized vessels. There is some grandfathering going on right now, so if you are serious, start sooner than later.

Finally, your log of sea time only works for boats that YOU have owned and can prove ownership of. For boats owned by others, you will need them to sign off on your sea time either by official form or appropriately worded letter.
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Old 27-08-2018, 07:41   #8
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

Having a 200 ton Masters/500 ton mates tickets helped when doing deliveries. It gave the owners and insurance company some credibility. The difference between a 6 Pack and a limited Masters is more than just one more test. It requires twice the documented sea time. I have forgotten the tonnage that required the firefighting course. It was several days and pricy. Give one of the big schools a call and ask what classes and costs to get a Limited Masters. I think you will be surprised. I let mine lapse when raising a family and when I checked into renewing I think the course was about $900 and that didnt include the medical/firefighting class and some other expense. It can get costly, so if you are not going to use it for income it probably isnt worth it. Just my thoughts. ____Grant.
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Old 27-08-2018, 07:51   #9
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

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I have forgotten the tonnage that required the firefighting course. It was several days and pricy.
200 ton. There are a LOT of extra requirements to get the 200 ton and greater licenses. Maintaining a 200 ton license is very expensive, and not just a few hundred dollars... It is difficult to maintain the seatime on vessels large enough unless it is your full time profession.

I would question the premise that a 200 ton ticket helps with deliveries more than a 50 or 100 ton... except (of course) on superyachts. The offshore endorsement instead of the coastwise ticket is likely to be a bigger benefit. I could be convinced otherwise, but it is not my experience.
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Old 27-08-2018, 08:20   #10
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

Unless you are going to be commercial work...it's fine to use the classes as a learning opportunity but no real value getting the license.

Really though, I would look at other training if I just wanted to learn more. Not much point spending a lot of time and money learning about the rules for getting a license that you don't need. Better to get training focused on what you need to learn.
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Old 27-08-2018, 08:31   #11
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

My sister has kept her Master's up since she was 18 (over 40 years) even without having a commercial need for a while. I don't see the need, but understand her keeping one active. Always felt that the info gained while getting the license is excellent, and that it does come with some added responsibility.

Even though I have worked on commercial craft and have continously owned boats for over 50 years. I don't currently have one or want a license. Retired and just not needed. If you need one, then you need one. They do give you options in working on the water.
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Old 27-08-2018, 09:05   #12
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

Perhaps previously mentioned, but should you wish to get involved in deliveries, the insurers of boats worth 1/4 million and up frequently require a licensee on board. RYA Ocean may very well be a requirement than USCG 100 ton, but it won't hurt to have the latter. Getting paid to deliver nice boats to and from often exotic places is kind of like having your cake and eating it too.
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Old 27-08-2018, 09:26   #13
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

I took the Sea School course to get my 100 ton Masters with sail and towing endorsements. Can't say that I learned much other than lights and sounds for towing, much of which I immediately forgot! The instructor stated that his job was NOT to teach us anything about boating, we were already supposed to know how to handle a boat and have the requisite number of days of experience. His job was to teach us how to pass the tests! To that end, he gave us techniques to remember lights, sounds, shapes, rules of the road, and some of the trick questions we were likely to see on the tests. I've used my license to operate commercial boats, but have never gotten any insurance discount for having it. At the time I got mine (1998), the total cost including the school, physical, govt fees, etc., was about $1,200. As others have pointed out, it's not inexpensive to keep the license in force what with renewal fees, cost of physicals, cost of being in a random drug program, etc. If you're not planning to work the license, you got to decide whether it's worth the $$$ to have/keep it.
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Old 27-08-2018, 09:40   #14
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

Also, worth noting that coast guard will only grant 100 ton license if you can document sea time on vessels of 50 tons plus.
I was awarded the 50 ton master license because my time was spent on a 25 GRT ( gross registered tons) boat.
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Old 27-08-2018, 10:06   #15
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Re: USCG master - worth having? benefits?

If you have an OUPV, you already have enough days for a 100 ton inland license. I did it so I could add the sail endorsement. The study was fun and the exam was very straightforwsrd. There is a certain satisfaction to having mastered the information and skills needed to qualify. I donít know that it makes one much more employable, but it comes with a mate-near-coastal rating, too.
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