Extra cash awaits many boat owners, but their skills are rotting away on a marina. Even worse is setting sail without any passengers for hire. With a captain’s license, you can carry passengers for hire, go on a sightseeing adventure and fishing.
It may seem like a tedious process at first, but the benefits far outweigh the hassles. The few weeks in school paying close to $500 and $800 doesn’t compare to when you’ll first make your first charter on your own boat.
How to apply for a captain’s license
First off, you need to decide the type of captain’s license you need. There are two:
• The Master License: This license is issued to inspected vessels, those that can carry at least 7 passengers and can travel 200 miles on inland waters or offshore.
• The Operator License: This license is issued to uninspected vessels, those that can carry up to 6 passengers, can travel 100 miles offshore and weigh not more than 100 tons. They are also known as a 6-pack license.
After you’ve decided which license you need, you’ll need to present the following documents:
• Valid identification to prove you’re 18 years and above.
• Basic health information like a passed physical exam, basic first aid training within a year and a drug screen.
• 360 days on the water. 90 of the 360 days should be in the past 3 years.
The remaining process includes enrolling in a captain’s license course and passing the respective exam and finally getting your license from the USCG. You can find more information on aceboater.
The course will cover three main areas which are the “rules of the road”, deck knowledge and coastal navigation. The question from USCG exams cover areas like boat terminology, boating regulations, nautical charts, tides, lights and signals and safety. In addition, you can access past questions and practices online.
It shouldn’t be too hard, especially if you’re an ardent boater since you already know most of these topics. If anything, the captain’s license will only refresh your memory on difficult topics such as regulations. It will also prepare you for the exam which is a mixture of written questions, plotting on a navigational chart and multiple-choice questions.
For you to qualify for a license, you have to hit the 70% minimum score in the general portion section and a minimum of 90% when it comes to Rules of the Road.
You have to find the nearest USCG Regional Examination Center to sit for your exams. However, there are approved centers that offer exams and the classes.
After you pass your exams, all that is left to do is sending your paperwork to the US Coast Guard. After a few weeks, you should be in possession of a brand-new captain’s license.
A captain’s license can open financial avenues you didn’t think of. But now that you know the process you need to follow and the requirements for a captain’s license, don’t waste any more time. Enroll today and start reaping the benefits. You can recoup your costs in a weekend of charters.