Boat owners who are dedicated to spending time on the water should consider becoming a boat captain. If you own a vessel, this makes the decision even easier. Turn your passion into a career or as a means of putting a little extra cash into your pocket. Whether you’re into fishing or pleasure cruising, your hobby can turn into a business. What are the steps to becoming a boat captain?

What type of license should you get?

The Coast Guard offers a variety of licenses, but the Six-Pack the way to go for the majority who are using a small craft. A six-pack license allows you to take up to six passengers and crew on your vessel. 

How much experience is necessary to obtain a Six-Pack Boat license?

  1. To become a boat captain three hundred sixty days of sea time is required.
  2. Ninety days of the three hundred sixty must be offshore.
  3. Of the three hundred sixty days, ninety of those days must be within the past three years.

How do you document time at sea?

  1. If you are utilizing your personally owned boat to document sea time, you must submit proof of ownership to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in your application.
  2. Document sea time by submitting letters or sea service form CG-719S.
  3. You will have a head start if sea time was obtained while in the military, use form DD2-14.

What else is required to obtain a captain’s license?

  1. Complete a USCG application and Oath.
  2. Schedule a physical within one year of completing the entire application process—complete form CG-719K.
  3. Enroll in a random drug test program and have a drug test completed within six months of completing the application process. 
  4. Now you must obtain a First Aid and CPR card from an institution that is approved by the Coast Guard.
  5. Prove that you are a resident of the United States.
  6. Apply and receive a Transportation Workers Identification Card. 
  7. A background check will be completed on you, and a National Driver’s Registry Report will be generated for review. 
  8. All applicable fees must be submitted with the application.
  9. An approved training course certificate is the final piece of the puzzle.

What do you learn in boat captain’s school?

Captains schools generally offer class options in the evenings or daytime. A Captain school with evening schedules are typically not completed as quickly because classes are not quite as long. Here are a few of the things you can expect to learn when becoming a boat captain. 

  • How to navigate
  • Calculating tides
  • Vessel construction and stability
  • Seamanship
  • Both Inland and International navigation rules
  • Meteorology
  • Methods for mooring and anchoring
  • Knot tying
  • Planning routes
  • Safety including firefighting
  • Maneuvering a boat to and from the dock
  • Marine regulations
  • Understanding the parts of the vessel
  • Learning and understanding buoys. 

What fees are associated with earning a six-pack captain’s license?

The class generally cost between five hundred and seven hundred dollars, depending on the institution.

The Coast Guard requires an evaluation fee of one hundred dollars, an exam fee of ninety-five dollars, and an issuance fee of forty-five dollars. 

Being aware of the requirements needed to obtain the license can make some apprehensive and fearful of the challenge. The certified institutions hire highly qualified instructors to walk you through the process. Not only will they be sure you are well educated, but the staff will also assist in completing the paperwork properly before submission. 

Once you have earned your six-pack United States Coast Guard License, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment. Although the initial cost may be high, you can quickly recover the fees by running fishing or cruising charters. Do some research on local companies to determine the right price point and throw in a little advertising to kick things off. Congratulations captain.