The USCG Captain’s License
What is a Captain’s License?
A Captain’s License is professional credential required to operate a vessel carrying passengers or cargo for hire. If anyone onboard is paying to be there, or you are being paid to transport goods or cargo, you are required to have a Licensed Captain aboard.
Types of Captain’s Licenses
Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV) This license allows a mariner to operate an uninspected vessel that carries up to 6 passengers for hire. Also known as a “6-Pack” License.
Master Mariner License Qualifies mariners to operate a USCG inspected vessel up to qualified tonnage with up to the maximum certified passenger carrying capacity. This License meets requirements for OUPV license. The Master Mariner License is broken into categories of 25, 50, or 100 gross tons.
Auxiliary Sail Endorsement This is an endorsement placed on a Master Mariner License that allows the mariner to operate inspected sailing vessels. 180 days sea service on a sailing vessel required for Inland Endorsement and 360 days sea service on a sailing vessel required for Near Coastal Endorsement. OUPV licenses allow the mariner to operate uninspected sail and power vessels without endorsement.
Assistance Towing Endorsement This is an endorsement placed on a Master Mariner or OUPV License that allows the mariner to engage in commercial assistance towing. No additional sea service needed.
Inland License License holder may operate a vessel for hire shoreward of the demarcation line separating high seas from harbors and rivers. (The Great Lakes and Western Rivers require additional endorsements)
Near Coastal License Holders may use their license seaward of the demarcation line 100 nautical miles for OUPV and 200 nautical miles for Master Mariners.