How to Get Your Captain’s License?

Are you interested in pursuing the marine merchant profession? Do you enjoy spending time aboard? If you are interested in answering these questions, you are in the right place. We will explain all the criteria that you require information about in pursuing your marine interest. In this article, we will give details of all the requirements, eligibility criteria, exams that are pivotal in becoming a licensed captain.

You require a captain’s license to operate in the U.S. shores as an owner of a vessel carrying passengers. It is a mandatory requirement enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard. This requirement is strictly applied to promote legal commerce and negate illegal cross border activity. Such a legal barrier is

beneficial for the people that have a captain’s license.

If you are a person who wants to enroll in a USCG-approved captain’s license course, you should be eager to know the requirements and the criteria that make you eligible to apply. We will cover these details in this article. You might want answers to some questions listed in the following:

  • How to become a captain?
  • Studying for a Captain’s Exam.
  • What are the different types of captain’s license?
  • What are the requirements for all captain’s licenses?

How to Become a Captain?

Becoming a captain might seem an arduous and overwhelming process, but it is not that difficult if you focus on the primary requirements. These are the following:

  • Experience Aboard

You need to stack up experience aboard either on your vessel or as a crew member on someone else’s boat. Even if you are not a paid crew member, it will still add up to your experience. Most people start as a lower member of the vessel crew to gain knowledge of how overall operations in a vessel get carried out. This way, they gain the necessary experience of operation management in a charter vessel.

  • Clearing the USCG Exam

The person looking to become a licensed captain needs to clear an exam that is approved by the USCG (the United States Costal Guard). That exam covers technical topics like navigation, deck general. If you want a complete course, a guide to help you clear your captain’s license exam you, do not need to look any further as we provide the ultimate guide that covers all the advanced concepts related to the technical aspects of the exam.

  • Submitting Additional Forms

Once you complete the course, you will submit different certificates and forms related to your sea services, medical examinations, drug tests, etc. to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Studying for a Captains Exam

The study course that we offer in our Maritime school is a comprehensive preparation tool. Giving it the proper time will guarantee success. We offer both captain’s 6-pack and master’s courses. You can either buy them online and study them yourself or join us on-campus for proper classes. Choosing the right plan accounts for the majority of your chances in the captain’s license exam.

Choosing the instructor also makes you prepared for the worst scenarios that can transpire aboard. Our instructors provide proper mentorship and practical education. They know how to bridge the gap between theoretical studies and practical application. You need to put in the effort required to clear this captain’s license exam. You might encounter people that may say they struggled throughout their course and that they will never enroll again. But that is because their instructors were not able to explain theoretics adequately. Our instructors provide students with the best knowledge that helps them understand key concepts throughout the course.

Different Types of Captain’s License

We will discuss the 3-types of captain’s license firstly and then enlist the details of the requirements for them. The type you are eligible for depends upon your boating experience.


OUPV is also commonly known as a 6-pack license. You can have 6-passengers on board at a time in an uninspected vessel. Uninspected vessel means that the safety and quality provisions are not as strict, and U.S. Coast Guard does not need to inspect you.

Sea Service Requirements

The 6-pack license you are issued depends upon the sea services you have offered either, Inland and Great lakes or new coastal.

  • Experience of 360 days of sea service.
  • 90 days of those 360 days of sea time must be in the range you are applying.

General Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship or endorsements limited to undocumented vessels only.
  • Minimum 18 years of age.
  • Must hold a valid Medical Certificate.
  • Drug testing compliant.
  • You must pay mariner fees.


This license lets you operate inspected and uninspected vessels in a confined boundary, mainly harbor and lakes. You can use this license to serve as a mate on coastal ships.

Sea Service Requirements

The sea service experience required for this license is:

  • You require 360 total days of service in the deck department 90, of which on great lakes.
  • You require 360 days of experience on any waters for inland.
  • Experience of 90 days in the past 3-years on vessels of any tonnage.

General Requirements

  • Must have U.S. Citizenship (No endorsements).
  • Minimum 19 years of age.
  • Must hold a medical certificate.
  • Drug testing compliant.
  • You must pay mariner fees.

3. Master Near Coastal

This license lets you operate inspected and uninspected vessels on inland waters. You can be 150 to 200 miles away from the U.S. coast.

Sea Service Requirements

  • You require 720 days of sea time on all waters.
  • You require 360 days of sea time on ocean waters.

General Requirements

  • Must have U.S. Citizenship (No endorsements).
  • Minimum 19 years of age.
  • Must hold a medical certificate.
  • Drug testing compliant.
  • You must pay mariner fees.

Universal Requirements for all Types of Licenses

Some requirements are similar in all 3-types of captain’s licenses:

  • You are a certified First aid and CPR provider.
  • Course completion certificate instead of Coast Guard examination.
  • You need to Complete CG exams or approved courses.

Types of Endorsements

Apart from the license, you will require specific endorsements. The following are a few:

  • Sailing Endorsement.
  • Assistance Towing Endorsement.
  • STCW Endorsement.

Trả lời

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