PC Sweeney’s Captain’s License

-PC Sweeney

As part of the plan to put together the actual 501(3)c for the Story Sailboat I need to get my captain’s license. I have enough days at sea since I’ve been sailing since I was 19, but I want to make sure that I have the knowledge to pass the Coast Guard Test after the class in April. My plan is to keep track of a lot of the resources I use to learn what I need to learn before taking the test. I’m going to record a lot of that here so that any of you who may be planning on getting your captain’s license can learn from my failures or my successes. Hopefully, they will be more successes than failures but we’ll see. Here’s a little background information about getting your captain’s license to start;

Types of Captain’s Licenses

OUPV (6-Pack)

Master

Beyond

Inland

Near Coastal

Inland

Near Coastal

To carry up to 6 paying passengers on uninspected vessels in inland waters

To carry up to six paying passengers on uninspected vessels up to 100 miles offshore

For more than 6 passengers on inspected and up to six on uninspected vessels on inland waters

For more than 6 passengers on inspected and up to six on uninspected vessels on inland waters and up to 200 miles offshore

Auxiliary Sailing endorsement:
For any license

Requires one additional test and 360 days sea time aboard a sailing vessel

Requires 360 days on water experience since age of 15, no offshore requirement

Requires 360 days on water experience since age of 15, with a minimum of 90 days offshore

Requires 360 days on water experience since age of 15, no offshore requirement

Requires 720 days on water experience since age of 15, with a minimum of 360 days offshore

Commercial Assistance Towing endorsement: For any license

Requires one additional test

Other requirements:

Minimum age 18

Social security number

US Citizenship not required

Other requirements:

Minimum age 18

Social security number

US Citizenship not required

Other requirements:

Minimum age 18

Social security number

US Citizenship required

Other requirements:

Minimum age 18

Social security number

US Citizenship required

Tonnage based on determined expeience:

20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1600, 3000 or unlimited tons

With an OUPV NC Endorsement, you may operate an OUPV vessel to 100 miles offshore

Additional routes: all oceans

Additional qualifications/endorsements:
Not a comprehensive list

Radar Endorsement

FCC Marine Radio Operators Permit & GMDSS

Oceans and Celestial

STCW

Firefighting

Engineering

Medical

The test from the US Coast Guard is exceptionally hard. It turns out that the USCG test can be derived from over 14,000 questions from the Coast Guard’s list of questions. Many of these are things you should never have to know. I know that there are many things that you shouldn’t have to know because I bought all the questions and realized that many of them are completely outdated and unnecessary. As I was studying these I was thinking that there was no way that someone could memorize all these answers.

Luckily, I knew someone who had their Captain’s License and had even taught people to get their license. He explained to me that hardly anyone takes the test from the Coast Guard and instead there are schools that will teach you for a USCG test that they administer. Basically, you enroll in a course that last two weeks in a classroom setting, for 4 weeks in the evenings, or you can take it online. Throughout the course you are taught whatever it is that you need to know for the USCG approved test. You then have a year to file your paperwork. So even if you are just close to having all your sea time you can take the course and test and finish your sea time later.

After I looked into it a little bit more I found out that there are quite a few of these schools in the Bay Area to choose from. For whatever reason, the one that I liked the most was the Maritime Institute. Not just because they had the most legitimate and non-sketchy website but because they seemed to offer the most diverse options for licenses. The cost is 1,250.00 and they hold classes both online and in person all over California. I’m going to take the series in Monterey since my Crewmember Andrea lives there and said I could crash on her couch while I was taking the course. Besides, Monterey California is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Some of my future posts are going to be about what I’m learning in preparation for the test, what resources I’m using to learn, and how I’m practicing what I learn. You can follow along and learn with me! I’m excited to go on this journey with you.

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One thought on “PC Sweeney’s Captain’s License

  1. Pingback: Top 10 things sailing has taught me about being a Library Manager | PC Sweeney's Blog

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