Masters or OUPV Six-Pack License

MarinersMariners Posts: 29 Greenhorn
What License Should I Get?

We recommend that you get the best license you qualify for! There are a couple of options depending on your citizenship status and boating experience.

The two main captain’s licenses issued by the USCG are the Operator (6 pack) and the 25/50/100 Ton Master. There is no requirement to start with a 6 pack – you can go straight to Master license!

There are several basic differences, the Operator (6 pack) license is for uninspected vessels up to 100 gross tons, up to 100 miles offshore, and the Master is for inspected (vessels carrying 7 or more passengers) or uninspected vessels up to 100 gross tons, up to 200 miles offshore or on inland waters. Your boating experience may limit the tonnage to 25, 50 or 100 gross tons. Inland licenses are also available if you are operating primarily on inland waters. If you do not have enough sea time to get your Master Near Coastal (offshore), you should consider the Master Inland, Mate Near Coastal, and Operator (6pk) Combo. I for example have a 50 Ton Masters Inland License with an OUPV Near Coastal six-pack with a Towing Endorsement so keep in mind that you can obtain a dual purpose license based on your sea time.

U.S. Citizens - Fast Track your license

Skip the Six-Pack and go straight for your Masters! Don’t let anyone tell you that the six-pack is required to be the first step. Even if you have only 360 days of sea time, you can fast track your license by skipping the six-pack and getting your 3 in 1 Masters License.

Why skip the six-pack and go straight for the 3 in 1 Master?
1. You remove the uninspected vessel – 6 passenger limit on inland waters
2. You keep the full Six Pack Captain authority offshore up to 100 miles
3. You can serve as the Mate on inspected vessels up to 200 miles offshore!

You’ve earned your Masters! Don’t limit yourself to the six-pack…


  • MarinersMariners Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    Sea Time Requirements

    USCG Operator’s License (6-pk)

    Uninspected vessels <6 passengers up to 100gt/100 miles offshore At least 360 days of boating experience including 90 days offshore. 90 within past 3 years. If you do not have coast-wise experience, you can get an inland license. Non U.S. Citizens may be restricted to undocumented vessels with a 5 net ton limit.

    USCG Master Inland/Mate Near Coastal

    Inspected or Uninspected vessels up to 100gt on Inland Waters At least 360 days of boating experience including 90 within the past 3 years. If you have 180 days of offshore experience, you can also get Mate Near Coastal (200 miles) license. If you only have 90 days of offshore time, you can also get OUPV near coastal. If you do not have any near-coastal sea service, apply for a Master Inland. If all sea time is under 5gt you will get 25gt, If 90 days is over 5gt, you will get 50gt license, If 180 are over 34gt, you will get 100gt license.

    USCG Master Near Coastal

    Inspected or Uninspected vessels up to 100gt on up to 200 miles offshore At least 720 days of boating experience including 360 days offshore and 90 within past 3 years. If all sea time is under 5gt you will get 25gt license, If 180 days is over 5gt, you will get 50gt license, If 360 is over 34gt, you will get 100gt license.

    Note: When you get the sea time for the full master near coastal, you simply process the paperwork through the USCG. No further testing is required!

    All Coast Guard Licenses are based on documented Gross Tonnage. (volume not weight).

    Calculating Gross Tonnage:

    A vessel’s gross tonnage should be listed on its documentation form. If your vessel is state registered instead of federally documented, you can calculate the gross tonnage using the following empirical formula:

    L x B x D (depth not draft) x .67 (for power) or .5 (for sail)
  • MarinersMariners Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    License Requirements for an OUPV-Six-Pack Upgrade to Masters

    The 25/50/100 Ton Master Upgrade course provides an opportunity for the holder of an OUPV (Captain's) license to raise their grade to a Master-level license. The 25/50/100 Ton Master Upgrade allows the holder to operate inspected vessels as well as uninspected vessels. The 25/50/100 Ton Master License is required by the USCG for any inspected vessel certified to carry more than six paying passengers. Such vessels would include head-boats, assistance towboats, large passenger capacity tour boats, etc.

    What are the USCG Requirements for the 100 GT Master Upgrade?

    There are three different Master Upgrade Licenses for which a mariner may qualify. Both the amount of sea service time and the sizes of the vessels you have been on will influence the license you are eligible to be issued.

    Master Upgrades are tonnage-rated at 25 GT, 50 GT, or 100 GT. The tonnage you are awarded is determined by the size vessels you've gained experience on in your lifetime, as limited by the size of vessels with experience on in the last three years. Time served in obtaining your OUPV License may be applied to the requirements for the Master Upgrade requirements.

    Master Inland: 360 days underway experience since age 15. Ninety of those 360 days are required in the last three years. Completion of a USCG-approved Master course and test.

    Master Inland/OUPV: 360 days underway experience since age 15. Ninety of those 360 days are required in the last three years, with 90 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines.

    Master Near Coastal: 720 days underway experience since age 15. Ninety of those 360 days are required in the last three years, with 360 of those 720 days outside the boundary lines. Completion of a USCG-approved Master course and test.

    Additional Requirements Include:

    * Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC)
    * Minimum age: 19 years old
    * A physical exam if more than three years has elapsed since the last exam
    * Drug test unless enrolled in a USCG-required random drug program for at least 60 of the last 185 days, and with no failure or refusal to participate in a chemical test for dangerous drugs
    * Completion of a USCG-approved OUPV Upgrade to Master course
    * U.S. Citizenship

    Upon successful completion of a USCG program and passing the proctored multiple choice test, the student receives a certificate of completion which the Coast Guard will accept in lieu of taking their exam if you test with an authorized school

    Note: As you gain experience on larger vessels, tonnage ratings can be increased up to 100 tons without re-testing.
  • MarinersMariners Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    So You Want To Be a Captain – Medical Disqualifiers

    For a vessel to be operated safely, it is essential that the crew members be physically fit and free of debilitating illness and injury.

    The seafaring life can be grueling, often hazardous, and the availability of medical assistance or treatment is generally minimal.

    The following guidelines are just that—guidelines. They are not intended to be absolute or all encompassing.

    Some individuals may have other medical conditions or physical limitations that would render them incompetent to perform their duties aboard a vessel.

    Others may be quite capable of working at sea without posing a risk to themselves, their ship, or shipmates even though one of the listed conditions exists.

    As the industry continues its trend toward smaller crews, the ability of each crew member to perform his or her routine duties and respond to emergencies becomes even more critical.

    Here are the top 5 medical conditions that can delay your Captain’s License application or cause the application to be denied:

    1. Cardiac Disease

    1. Diabetes

    1. Psychiatric Disorders

    1. Sleep Apnea

    1. Chronic use of Narcotics

    It is extremely important that you provide medical documentation from your Doctor if you have one or more of these medical conditions.

    Any cause for rejection is disqualifying only while the condition persists or is likely to cause disqualifying complications.
  • MarinersMariners Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    So You Want to Be a Captain – Documenting Sea Service Time

    To qualify for a Captain’s License the Coast Guard requires that you have a minimum number of days experience on the water. The total number of days required is dependent on the license that you wish to earn.

    Most license applicants self-certify their days of sea time spent aboard their own boat. Proof of ownership for the boat that you are claiming days of sea time on must accompany your application. If your time was spent on friends or family members boats then you must provide a Sea Service form signed by the owner of the boat you intend to claim time on.

    To “document” your experience on the water use the Small Vessel Sea Service Form CG-7195 and record to the best of your recollection the number of days that you were on the water in any given month and year.

    The Coast Guard is not looking for logbooks or official records to certify this time. If you have these documents and records… Great! You can use them to reconstruct the time you spent on the water if you do not – No worries…

    One “day” of Sea time is supposed to be eight hours on the water, however, in many cases the National Maritime Center (NMC) will accept a day as being just four hours when applying for a OUPV/six-pack or 25/50/100 Ton Master License.

    A single calendar day can only be counted once. So, if you spent eight hours on your boat and on the same calendar day went out for another eight hours on your friends boat this would count as just one day. A “day” can never be counted twice whether the time was spent on your boat or any combination of other boats.

    Sea service you have acquired while serving in the military may count towards your Captain’s License. Generally, military sea time will be creditable at a rate of 60% credit for each qualifying day of military service served on board a military vessel. To be considered qualifying time, the time must have been served in a capacity relevant to the type of license you are applying for.

    You may provide satisfactory evidence of U.S. military service in the form of an official Transcript of Military Sea Service, certified History of Assignments, or certified Statement of Creditable Sea Service (a DD-214 on its own is not generally sufficient evidence of sea service).
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