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Charter captain

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There is quite a bit to it James. Let's start with where you are from, and your experience, type of boat, and your intentions. Start out by finding your local charterboat association, ask, they can answer and give you packets on the trade I'm sure. There's also MCBA, try their website too. Most go to a capts. school also for starters. Good luck.

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Two years ago I went through the process of obtaining my captains license. What I didn't know the cost of the course is only the beginning of the costs associated with the process of getting all your paperwork in line. So I thought id share for all of those considering so your not surprised like I was.

The course I signed up with was with Mariners Learning System and was a self study program that I was overall happy with and would recommend. The cost of the course is:

6 Pack License - $595

Masters Upgrade - $325

1 day off work and a hotel and a 4 hour drive each way for testing (Hotel and gas $150)

Because of a paperwork mistake on my part I had to retake the Masters portion so I decided to just do the towing endorsement since I had to go back to the testing center again anyways. Since this particular testing location was near my parents and I was going to see them anyway no travel expenses were figured.

Towing - $125

1 more morning of testing

You need a red cross first aid and CPR card there was a center about an 45 min away offering coarse.

Red Cross Enrollment Fee $90

Its about a 6 hour class so plan taking time off work and for me about another $20 in gas

I got a steal on a physical and drug testing from a local clinic

Physical and Drug testing - $55 TOTAL, great deal you probably couldn't find everyday.

For the TWIC card my closest center was 4 hours away and you need to go there twice

TWIC processing fee $131

2 days off work 16 hours in the car between the 2 days and about $120 in gas ( I get great mileage in my cavalier)

I had to have a notary administer the oath

Notary $15

Finally the USCG processing fee once you have everything done to actually get your license

USCG processing fee $145.

Everything totaled out to be over $1700 and more then 5 days off work since I work Monday thru Friday and cant do any of it on my days off. Not everyone will have the same expenses but I was very surprised how it all added up.

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Wow, thanks for the breakdown on that Ryan. I was really thinking of working towards my capt. license just to say I have it and maybe try to get a couple of jobs running boats for rich people around the great lakes. Either way, it would be cool to have but for 1700 bucks I think I could better spend my money on something else... Maybe new electronics???

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Ryan made a very accurate statement about todays new charter requirements. I do believe though, that the TWIC card is no longer required. The rest though, is right on. The amount of hoops and related costs have gone thru the roof these days. It wasn't anywhere near this much in the old days....lol. You are also required to belong to an org. that has you on a random drug test program year around, that's about another $150 for memberships, plus you have to renew your license every 5 years with a new physical, that's another $250 or so. Then you have to get your boat, or the charterboat being used, inspections from the DNR for about another $250, depending. Then the charterboat has to have a lot of new safety equipment and such, including special marking on PFD's with special doo-dads, another $500+. By the time you're done, you have a nice fat wallet drained. You are also now a part of Homeland Security, background checks back to birth, and you can't have any legal problems at all. The amount of federal paperwork is voluminous at best. You are now approaching about $3,000. This isn't for the faint of heart, nor the guy just showing off for fun. Good luck.

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If you getting your captains license for the first time you need to at least apply for the TWIC and its up to you if you want to go pick it up because your not required to hold the card. The purpose of that is when you apply for the TWIC card they do an interview and background check as well as fingerprints and want to have all that on file.

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I got mine done for a 1000$, 612 for the class, 125 for the twic, 125 for the uscg, first aid safely was 25, random drug testing was free from MCBA. Oath was 3$ from my local bank.

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Ryan made a very accurate statement about todays new charter requirements. I do believe though, that the TWIC card is no longer required. The rest though, is right on. The amount of hoops and related costs have gone thru the roof these days. It wasn't anywhere near this much in the old days....lol. You are also required to belong to an org. that has you on a random drug test program year around, that's about another $150 for memberships, plus you have to renew your license every 5 years with a new physical, that's another $250 or so. Then you have to get your boat, or the charterboat being used, inspections from the DNR for about another $250, depending. Then the charterboat has to have a lot of new safety equipment and such, including special marking on PFD's with special doo-dads, another $500+. By the time you're done, you have a nice fat wallet drained. You are also now a part of Homeland Security, background checks back to birth, and you can't have any legal problems at all. The amount of federal paperwork is voluminous at best. You are now approaching about $3,000. This isn't for the faint of heart, nor the guy just showing off for fun. Good luck.

Ed...your right about the TWIC card not being required...but I do know the Coast Guard licensing center in West Virginia asked for a current issue photo copy of it when I did my license renewal this last February....So its kind of like you don,t need it from local Coast Guard people but need it for license renewal...go figure I guess....We,ve talked about this at MCBA board meetings and still do not have a 100% firm answer from Coast Guard officials .

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Ed...your right about the TWIC card not being required...but I do know the Coast Guard licensing center in West Virginia asked for a current issue photo copy of it when I did my license renewal this last February....So its kind of like you don,t need it from local Coast Guard people but need it for license renewal...go figure I guess....We,ve talked about this at MCBA board meetings and still do not have a 100% firm answer from Coast Guard officials .

I called the national maritime center when I was fulfilling my application and their answer is posted above. When I got my license they already had repealed the TWIC card requirement for renewals but I still needed to apply. This was as of spring 2012 when I got my license for the first time.

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I got mine done for a 1000$, 612 for the class, 125 for the twic, 125 for the uscg, first aid safely was 25, random drug testing was free from MCBA. Oath was 3$ from my local bank.

Who did you take the course through?

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In Wisconsin you also need:

sport trolling liscence $100

guide liscence $40

permit to charter through county $350. for another 500 bucks

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I guess I could also mention that testing with the USCG changed quite a bit in recent years. There are many more hoops, as far as sections of tests, that require testing. There are also a lot more differing tests given, in the old days, maybe 2-3 tests. You could take a class, and the teacher would know in advance which test you would take, and prep you on that specific information/questions. Some of the tests also require a 90% pass grade, some require 80%. If you fail any part of the assorted tests, you have to retest again, before a year elapses, or start all over again. You will also have to pay to retest again, travel, stay-over, gas, etc.. The sport trolling license in Michigan was $100 for about 5 years or so, and discontinued. We also have no guides license unlike Wis., and perhaps other states. Many seasoned capts. have all the credentials, and are great fisherman, then suddenly, lose their license due to any physical ailment that may show up in a physical exam. It's no catwalk anymore, and for the non-serious person, not doing it full time, and wanting to make a living from it, I don't recommend it.

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