How many types of boat captain licenses are there, and what kind of training is involved?

by | Monday, June 30, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

There are three distinct types of captain’s (master’s) licenses the United States Coast Guard recognizes, each with their own set of training and boating experience requirements.

Types of Boat Captain Licenses

There are three different types of boat captain licenses from which to choose, categorized according to passenger capacity of the vessel and the location of operation:

  • 6 Pack License – the 6 Pack captain’s license is for uninspected vessels that are capable of carrying up to six passengers. Boating experience necessary to qualify for a 6 pack is as follows: 360 days of boating experience, including at least 90 days offshore.
  • Master Inland License – the Master Inland license is for those with vessels that can hold seven passengers or more, weigh 100 gross tons or less, and operate on inland waters. To qualify, you must have at least 360 days of boating experience, at least 90 of which must have been within the last three years.
  • Master Near Coastal License – master near coastal licenses are for operators of vessels of the same size as the master inland but who travel much further offshore. With a master near coastal license, operators can traverse as far as 200 miles offshore. The sea time requirements are much stiffer with this designation; you have to have 720 days of boating experience, half of which need to be offshore, and 90 of which need to have been within the past three years.

Boat Captain License Requirements: Training

To obtain a captain license, you’ll need to complete an appropriate USCG-approved captain’s course. The type of master’s course you are required to take depends upon the type of boat captain license for which you are applying.

The USCG does not host courses or proctor exams, but it does provide a listing of approved course providers and approved courses on its National Maritime Center (NMC) website.

Classes may be offered online or at a training facility. In the approved course NMC online database, you can select the type of endorsement you seek for a listing of appropriate approved courses. For instance, the database provides the name of the following two brick-and-mortar schools, which teach a USCG-approved Master 100 Tons course:

  • American Marine Training Centers; and
  • Mountwest Community & Technical College.

Captain’s Course Requirements

You can contact each school prospect and learn about course requirements, determine what the examination will entail and shop around for the most economical course prices.

For example, American Marine Training Centers provide the following details about their Master’s 100 Tons course:

  • 80-hour course that runs every day from Monday through the following Wednesday in Washington from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.;
  • successful completion of the course requires that all materials are completed and 100 percent attendance; and
  • the course amounts to $1,100.00, which includes a workbook, the Rules of the Road book, a certificate and a licensing packet.

Staying Up to Date on Boat Captain License Requirements

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