The average Charter Boat Captain makes $82,865 per year, but the job can easily lead to a six-figure position.
If you’re into captaining boats and making big bucks, consider getting your boating captain’s license. Keep reading to learn the regulations and requirements.
How to Get a Boating Captain’s License
Before learning how to get a boating captain’s license, you should know that there are different types of licenses to choose from. The most commonly sought-out licenses are:
OUPV License (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel License)
The OUPV License is also referred to as the 6-Pack License. A 6-Pack License allows captains to carry up to six paying customers on charters. This license falls into two subcategories: Inland and Near-coastal.
An Inland License covers the following waters:
Lakes (Great Lakes have additional requirements)
A Near-coastal route covers everything an Inland License covers in addition to ocean waters up to 100 miles offshore.
A Master’s License lets you carry up to six paying customers on charters on a boat up to 100t in weight. A head boat captain will need this license type.
Spend Time on the Water
One of the main requirements of a boat captain’s license is spending enough time on the water.
To qualify for an OUPV License, you need 360 days of crewing or piloting a boat. At least 90 of those days have to be in the last three years. If you want a Near-coastal License, 90 days have to be on the ocean.
For a Master’s License, you’re required to have 720 days of sea time and 90 have to be within the last three years. 360 days of sea time need to be offshore.
You can count these hours if you own a boat, but if you are gaining hours on someone else’s boat, they have to certify that you were crewing or piloting it.
Hit the Books
To become a USCG licensed captain, you have to pass the coast guard exam or pass an exam you take through a captain’s school. Completion of a USCG-approved course is a safe option because it will prepare you for the water.
Maritime training programs can guide you through the coursework and tell you what to do once you pass the exam.
An OUPV course will cost you $699 through Maritime Training Center (MTC). If you want to upgrade to a Master’s License course, you’ll pay an extra $260.
Captain’s License Requirements
After spending enough time on the water and passing your exam, you can apply for your license. You’ll need these documents to submit with your application:
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