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Captain's License


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There are several members that are interested in getting a Captain's License. With all of the Charter Captains on board, we should be able to come up with the requirements.

What are the requirements for getting a Captains license?

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These are the general requirements for obtaining a USCG captain's license. I know it seems a lengthy, but it's really not that bad. As far as some of the other requirements such as CPR, First Aid, etc... most captain's training facilities offer these classes as well. I got my license through Captain Bryan and would recommend him to anybody wanting to get their endorsement.

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BASIC REQUIREMENTS OPERATOR OF UNINSPECTED PASSENGER VESSELS (6 passengers or less)

(18 years old): 360 days of experience in operation of a vessel. 90 days of the 360 days on ocean or near coastal waters or may be limited to inland. License will be limited to vessels of less than 100 gross tons and limited to near coastal waters not more than 100 miles offshore. If not U.S. citizen, the license will be limited to undocumented, uninspected vessels.

MATE, Near Coastal (19 years old): 360 days of experience in operation of a vessel, of which 180 days on near coastal waters.

MASTER, Inland, Not More Than 100 GT (19 years old): 360 days of experience in operation of vessels on any waters. License will be limited to vessels of not more than 100 gross tons and limited to inland waters. Endorsement for Sail or Auxiliary Sail available with 180 days of Sail of Auxiliary Sail time (may be part of the 360 days and may be prior to license issuance).

MASTER, Near Coastal, Not More Than 100 GT (19 years old): 720 days of experience in operation of a vessel. 360 days of the 720 must be on near coastal waters. To be eligible for a 100 GT license, 360 days must be on a vessel of at least 35 GT otherwise, the license will be limited to 25 GT or 50 GT. License will be limited to vessels of not more than 100 gross tons, limited to near coastal waters not more than 200 miles offshore. Endorsement for Sail or Auxiliary Sail available with 360 days of Sail or Auxiliary Sail time (may be the same or part of the 720 days).

COMMON TO ALL THE LISTED DECK LICENSES

4 hours minimum to count as one day. (Only one day for each date) 90 days recency in the past 3 years is required. First Aid within the last 12 months (Could be Standard First Aid) and current CPR is required U. S. Citizenship, you will need original passport or birth certificate. Military time goes to Headquarters for evaluation and foreign time is evaluated by Coast Guard (REC).

Pass a routine physical. Vision must be at least 20/200 uncorrected in each eye and correctable to 20/40 in each eye. Color sense must be satisfactory. Must be within the past 12 months. (Waivers available in some cases). Drug screening also required. Free of drug or felony convictions for past 3 years, or past 10 years depending on severity of offense.

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Following are some additional hoops you have to jump thru:

- Pass four CG written tests. The easiest way to do this is to take a class by a CG approved instructor (6 days I think) and he can give the tests

- You must physically go to a CG Regional Exam Center (e.g., toledo or St. Louis) to show IDs, get fingerprinted, and give an oath.

For Michigan charter boat captains you

- Must be a member of a random drug test group (I think this is Michigan requirement not federal). The easiest way to do this for most people is to join the Michigan Charter Boat Association.

- Have your boat pass inspections by the Michigan DNR (both drydock and dockside). The boat must be reinspected every two years.

You can get a packet that explains the Federal requirements and gives you the proper forms by calling a CG Regional Exam Center. A packet of materials can be obtained from the Cadillac DNR office that gives the Michigan requirements. A discussion I had with Wisconsin licensing officials makes me believe that the requirements there are different than in Michigan.

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Following are some additional hoops you have to jump thru:

- Pass four CG written tests. The easiest way to do this is to take a class by a CG approved instructor (6 days I think) and he can give the tests

- You must physically go to a CG Regional Exam Center (e.g., toledo or St. Louis) to show IDs, get fingerprinted, and give an oath.

For Michigan charter boat captains you

- Must be a member of a random drug test group (I think this is Michigan requirement not federal). The easiest way to do this for most people is to join the Michigan Charter Boat Association.

- Have your boat pass inspections by the Michigan DNR (both drydock and dockside). The boat must be reinspected every two years.

You can get a packet that explains the Federal requirements and gives you the proper forms by calling a CG Regional Exam Center. A packet of materials can be obtained from the Cadillac DNR office that gives the Michigan requirements. A discussion I had with Wisconsin licensing officials makes me believe that the requirements there are different than in Michigan.

JJ, not really nessasary to go to Toledo. We had an officer come to our class and swore all of us in at once. All ID(birth certificate and SS id) and fingerprints were sent in with our application. Id info was sent back after being approved.

Our class was 9 hours per day for 9 days. 80 hours and then took the test right there.

BTW, I took the class in Mt.Clemens at Great Lakes Charter training.

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I used an at home study course. I also tested myself online at boatus/seatow site.

I think that while it was probably a little more difficult, it allowed me to learn at my own pace without taking a week in a hotel.

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Has anyone ever taken the test without taking a course?

I was asked that same question by someone. Although anything is possible, I'm sure you would find it very difficult. We had so many quizes and reviews that it would have been hard not to pass. You will probably find the charting the most difficult. We spend about a good 2 1/2 days on it.

We were taught only what we had to know. (highlighted only the important stuff and disreguarded the rest (filler)).

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For a quick look at what it takes to pass the 6-pak license and to take a sample test go to the coast guards website at www.uscg.mil/stcw.

You may want to pick up a Chapmans seamanship book and look it all over, everything in the book is fair game for the questions on the test. There are a number of traveling schools out there, I know one is at www.takethetest.com and in NE Wisconsin the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has a class set up. I had a tutored class and then went to Toledo OH to take the test, two days of tests that were set up in 4 parts, best advise STUDY!

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As of January 13, 2006 you MUST go to Toledo, OH to get finger printed. It is part of the new expansions on Homeland Security. I went earlier last month to Toldeo to renew my license and it was not fun. They have to verify your identity with a Passport, Driver's License, Birth Certificate, finger prints, and other things. The MCBA is working on eliminating this process as there are a lot of complaints, etc. They are trying to get it back to a local government institution like it used to be and not have the National government involved in Charter Fishing Captains.

Captain Jon

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 8 years later...

I realize this is an old post but I just recently took the OUPV 6 pack class and first aid/CPR training through Explorers guide LLC. I have had the physical and drug test and working on obtaining TWIC card is next! I will be guiding inland waterways in Michigan! My next question is i don't see anywhere in the CG APPLICATION about where to get on going drug testing for myself and a mate! I asked out local CG commander and some other captains from the area and got mixed answers. The commander said not required for OUPV 6 pack only for the application?? The other captains told me they are not in an ongoing testing programs either?? I thought this was a requirement?? None of the captains belonged to MCBA either! At this point i guess I'll send in everything i got once the TWIC comes in and figure it out from there! Any help would be appreciated! Seems like there is a misunderstanding between state and federal requirements. How can a captain have guided for the last 20 years and tell me he never had a drug test except for the application?? Well i found a section in my coursework book under required documents that says proof of random drug testing. Any crew member or individual of the company who is required to be part of a random drug testing program, must be able to provide the evidence of such participation upon demand of an inspecting officer! Who is required and who is the inspecting officer?? Clear as mud to me at this point! :)

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I believe Michigan Charter Boat Association has information on drug testing.

Thats the program we go through for our drug testing.

If your work or his work has it for their job, you can have the company send in paper work saying they are in a random drug testing program.

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NACO, (Natl. Assoc. of Charterboat Operators), also offers the random test program. You DO have to test before you send in your application, with the results. The TWIC program, last I knew about 2 years ago, was discontinued and not required anymore. That whole program was intended for capts. and other transportation workers at large ports where security concerns for terrorism was the main issue. Not really intended for us 6 pack capts. on charterboats.

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  • 1 month later...
NACO, (Natl. Assoc. of Charterboat Operators) The TWIC program, last I knew about 2 years ago, was discontinued and not required anymore. That whole program was intended for capts. and other transportation workers at large ports where security concerns for terrorism was the main issue. Not really intended for us 6 pack capts. on charterboats.

Hi all,

TWIC is still required to get your initial license, it is the only way they can do the background check after doing away with the fingerprinting.

If you are renewing here is a link for a letter to include with your application or just include a photo copy of your TWIC

Feel free to contact me if you need help obtaining or renewing your license.

616.403.5000

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Hi all,

TWIC is still required to get your initial license, it is the only way they can do the background check after doing away with the fingerprinting.

If you are renewing here is a link for a letter to include with your application or just include a photo copy of your TWIC

Feel free to contact me if you need help obtaining or renewing your license.

616.403.5000

Sue is a great resource for anyone looking at obtaining a captain's license!

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With regulations on captains changing yearly, it's hard to keep up. Having said that, I was talking about renewal captain licenses, sorry. Didn't know beginners still need it. Anyhow, that's the US Gov't. for you. Take another $150 or so for something that will not be needed again, and let the citizen pay out more, and do more work, basically, for naught.

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