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Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

Discussion in 'Becoming a Captain' started by MarinersSchool, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. MarinersSchool

    MarinersSchool Captain

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    So You Want To Be a Captain – Part 2

    Which USCG Captain’s License Can I Qualify For?

    By Captain Bob Figular

    Which License should you get? We recommend that you get the best license you qualify for! There are a couple of options depending on your citizenship status and boating experience.

    The two main captain’s licenses issued by the USCG are the Operator (OUPV/Six-pack) and the 25/50/100 Ton Master. There is no requirement to start with a OUPV/Six-pack – you can go straight to Master license!

    The USCG Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV/Six-Pack Captain’s License) allows the holder to carry up to six paying passengers on uninspected vessels up to 100 gross tons (about 75-90 feet long). These are usually smaller vessels that normally engage in charter fishing, SCUBA diving, or tour cruises. As such, these vessels are limited to six paying passengers plus crew-hence the term “Six-Pack.” The OUPV License is issued in three forms:

    OUPV Inland License: The OUPV Inland license is restricted to operation shoreward of the boundary line, excluding the Great Lakes. This license is valid on uninspected vessels to 100 gross tons.

    * This license requires at least 360 days of documented experience in the operation of vessels, with 90 of the 360 days occurring in the last three years. Experience gained prior to 15 years of age may not be counted.

    * The OUPV Inland License can be upgraded to an OUPV Near Coastal License once 90 days experience seaward of the boundary line has been achieved.

    OUPV Great Lakes & Inland: 360 total with at least 90 days service on the Great Lakes.

    OUPV Near Coastal: This license is valid on vessels up to 100 gross tons and out to 100 nautical miles.

    The OUPV Near Coastal License also requires at least 360 days of documented experience in the operation of vessels, 90 of which must be gained seaward of the boundary line. Ninety of the 360 days must be in the last three years. Experience gained prior to the age of 15 will not be counted.

    The USCG Master License allows the holder to operate inspected vessels as well as uninspected vessels. Any vessel that is certified (authorized) by the USCG to carry more than 6 paying passengers plus crew must have a Captain who holds a 25/50/100 Ton Master license. Ferryboats, harbor tours boats, whale watch boats are examples of inspected vessels.

    There are 4 different Master Licenses a mariner may qualify for such as the Master Inland or Master Near Coastal. Both the amount of sea service time and the size vessels you have been on will influence the license you are eligible for. Master licenses are tonnage rated at 25 GT (gross tons), 50 GT, or 100 GT. The tonnage you are awarded is determined by the size vessels you’ve gained experience on in the last 3 years – it’s called “recency experience.” You are not required to advance through the different licenses one at a time. If you meet the USCG requirements for the master 100GT Near Coastal, you’ll get that license as your first license. The 4 types of up to 100GT Master licenses are listed below along with the requirements:

    1. Master Inland: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 360 days in the last 3 years. Completion of approved Course and Test.
    2. Master Inland/OUPV: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 360 days in the last 3 years; 90 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines. Completion of the Mariners Learning System™ Coast Guard approved Course.
    3. Master Inland/Mate N.C.: 360 days underway experience since age 15; 90 days of those 360 days in the last 3 years; 180 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines. Completion of the Mariners Learning System™ Coast Guard approved Course.
    4. Master Near Coastal: 720 days underway experience since age 15; 90 of those 720 days in the last 3 years; 360 of those 720 days outside the boundary lines. Completion of the Mariners Learning System™ Coast Guard approved Course.

    Additional Requirements Include:

    The Coast Guard requires the following items before they can issue your license:

    * Application for license
    * TWIC Card
    * Documentation of sea time experience – letters or sea service forms signed by the vessel’s owner or captain or sea service forms signed by you for your own boat(s) or DD2-14 and Transcript of Service for your military sea service (if applicable).
    * Proof of vessel ownership – if you are submitting forms for your own boat(s)
    * Physical Exam (within 1 year, on USCG Forms) There are certain medical conditions and/or prescription drugs that may disqualify you for a license or require a waiver. Ask for info if applicable.
    * Drug Screen (within 6 months, on USCG Forms or proof of random program)
    * Proof of U.S. Citizenship for Master/Mate (Birth Certificate or Passport) or Proof of Permanent Residency for six-pack OUPV
    * Complete a First Aid & CPR approved course within the last year
    * 3 Letters of character reference

    The licensing process is relatively straightforward. I personally believe that you would have a hard time finding another opportunity with an equal return. The only regret I have with regards to getting my Captain’s License – I wish I did it sooner!
     
  2. oilman66

    oilman66 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Olive Branch, Ms.
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    Capt. Bob, I work on a Tension Leg Platform in the Gulf of Mexico (for 15 years) and currently hold an AB/LB (MODU). From your experience and knowledge of the USCG and considering the huge difference between an oil/gas producing facility and a small motorboat, would any of my sea time be applicable in obtaining the OUPV/Six-pack?
     
  3. Blue Sparkle

    Blue Sparkle Captain

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Chesapeake Bay
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    Nice summary! I have a few questions:

    I didn't realize that tonnage was assigned based only on the size vessels one has/had served on in the past three years. I know that 90 days of sea time in the 3 years prior to applying is required, but I didn't know that if you served on a vessel of a larger tonnage, say, 4 years ago that it wasn't counted toward your rating. I don't see this wording on the checklists either... am I missing something?

    (Link to page with checklists for application Checklists - USCG National Maritime Center )

    Is the specific "Mariners Learning System™" requirement new?

    I realize your post is from last August, and this may have changed since then:

    I thought I had read that a TWIC was no longer being required for certain vessels (I don't remember the exact details, but the gist was that those smaller ones that do not go into certain ports would no longer require TWIC-ed mariners). So it made me wonder: are people who are getting licensed to operate those vessels (say, OUPV license) still required to get a TWIC?

    I don't see the TWIC mentioned on the OUPV checklist at Checklists - USCG National Maritime Center (whereas it is listed on the 100-200T checklist). So maybe this requirement for OUPV has now been dropped? (Again, I realize you wrote this last August.)

    Blue Sparkle
     
  4. mitchsea

    mitchsea Captain

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
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  5. nolatom

    nolatom Captain

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Orleans
    1,156
    527
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  6. Anoop Shiloh Nanda

    Anoop Shiloh Nanda Garibaldi

    # of Dives:
    Location: Granada Hills, California, United States
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    Sorry but here are a couple of stupid questions. 1. what does shoreward seaward and boundary line mean? and 2. for the experience on the vessels, can the experience be just operating the boat or does it have to be for hire work?
     
  7. nolatom

    nolatom Captain

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Orleans
    1,156
    527
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    1. I think that's the Colregs demarcation line? usually it's at or near the mouth of rivers or bays. Inland rules inside, International rules outside. look at a chart of the area you have the experience in, it will show the demarcation line.

    2. Experience can be on any boat, I believe, whether you get paid or not. It 's the nature of the experience (eg, the "deck department") rather than whether its professional or recreational.
     
  8. Anoop Shiloh Nanda

    Anoop Shiloh Nanda Garibaldi

    # of Dives:
    Location: Granada Hills, California, United States
    2
    0
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    Is tonnage calculated by full load or half load displacement
    thanks
     
  9. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
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    Its not the colregs line. Each district draws boundaries where inland changes to near coastal and where near coastal changes to ocean. This is NOT the same as the colregs line and not shown on charts. Best thing to do is ask your local school where the lines are so you can determine what category your sea time falls into

    ---------- Post added February 12th, 2013 at 08:36 AM ----------

    Neither, tonnage is a measure of the interior volume of the ship. It is unrelated to displacement.
     

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