September 19, 2022

How to Get a Boating Captain’s License

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)
  • Master’s 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:

  • Bays
  • Rivers
  • 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:

  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or Green Card
  • Proof of application fee payment
  • Proof of captain’s exam completion
  • Copy of your TWIC card
  • Three character references
  • Medical certificate no older than one year
  • Valid CPR and first aid certification
  • Results of a random drug test from the last six months

Submit your application and wait for your license!

Get Your Boating Captain’s License

Having a boating captain’s license opens the door to multiple opportunities. In the state of Florida, you need to meet these requirements to legally captain a boat or charter.

Maritime Training Center offers courses to those interested. Check out our course schedule now to get started.

How to Get a Boating Captain's License

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