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Why Get A Captain's License

  • To work as a paid captain or mate

  • To use your boat for charter

  • To learn or refresh your skills in navigation, chart plotting, rules of the road, safety & regulations, buoyage systems, basic weather, basic stability, and much more!

  • To earn a credential that shows your experience and may even reduce insurance costs

  • To improve your resume if you want to get a job on a bigger boat

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 Master. There is no requirement to start with a 6 pack – you can go straight to Master! 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. Another option worth considering is the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Yachtmaster Program, which is valid on foreign flagged yachts up to 200gt.

Sea Time Requirements

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

Captain's Licenses

Qualification and Application Requirements

In addition to completing your certified course, the Coast Guard requires the following items before they can issue your license. The application package does not need to be completed before taking your training program. You have up to 1 year after finishing the course to submit your paperwork to the USCG, but the sooner you submit it, the sooner your license will be processed. The USCG Application forms listed below can be sent to you upon request.

  • Application for license (with Oath done at MPT)
  • Documentation of sea time experience - letters or sea service forms signed by the vessel's owner or captain or sea service forms signed by you for your own boat(s) or DD2-14 and Transcript of Service for your military sea service (if applicable).
  • Proof of vessel ownership - if you are submitting forms for your own boat(s)
  • Physical Exam (within 1 year, on USCG Forms) There are certain medical conditions and/or prescription drugs that may disqualify you for a license or require a waiver. Ask for info if applicable.
  • Drug Screen (within 6 months, on USCG Forms or proof of random drug test program or consortium)
  • Proof of Permanent Residency for six-pack OUPV
  • T.W.I.C. Card; The USCG Conducts a criminal background check and National Driver's Registry Report on all applicants. Certain offenses within recent years can disqualify you for a license. Please ask if you need more information.
  • Course Certificate from MPT's Certified Course within the last year
  • First Aid & CPR Certificate from MPT or other USCG Approved course within the last year
  • Take Oath in person at MPT
  • License Processing Fees (evaluation/ issuance paid to USCG)

Captain's License Classes

MPT's Captains License classes are USCG Approved, NO TEST AT THE USCG.

This course is available at two levels. The first level is 8 days in length for daytime students or 2 weeks of evenings and Saturdays for Night Students. This first level is USCG Approved for candidates applying for their Six-Pack - Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) License.

The second level affords the student three additional days of classes and is USCG Approved for Master and Mate Licenses. The USCG does not require you to get a Six-Pack License before you get your Masters, so if you qualify, you can take the full 11 days and get your Master or Mates license! Most students do qualify for a Master or Mate license. Please refer to the Qualifications section of this manual for more information or just ask one of the MPT student services representatives in the admissions office. The Masters level earns you the respect you have earned with years of boating experience as well as giving you the ability to serve on either inspected (7 or more passengers) or uninspected vessels as you choose. Another benefit is with the near coastal (offshore) route, with 6 pack you can go up to 100 miles offshore and with the Master you can go up to 200 miles offshore!

Subjects Include:

Both levels of Captains License classes include training on:

  • navigation
  • tidal calculations
  • international and inland rules of the road
  • coastal pilotage
  • meteorology
  • anchoring and mooring
  • marlinespike
  • docking and undocking
  • buoyage systems
  • safety
  • voyage and passage planning
  • general ship knowledge regulations
  • stability and vessel construction
  • seamanship

Written Exams:

This course is USCG Approved. No Tests at the Coast Guard. You will take written final exams administered at MPT at the end of the program. They include a selection of the topics covered in the course. We work with everyone until they pass! Do not worry. Class participation and study will get you through the exams. One of the bonuses of attending MPT's captains license classes is that we give every student the certification to operate a commercial assistance towing vessel - for free! The USCG authorizes Masters with this certification to operate assistance towing vessels of any size within their tonnage and Six-Packers to operate assistance towing vessels of up to 26 feet.

MPT has always been known for going the extra mile, and this course is no exception. MPT has incredible USCG Licensed instructors with a passion for teaching, a love for boating and a desire to see you succeed!

Why Get a Captain's License ?

  • To work as a paid captain or mate or to charter your own boat
  • To learn or refresh your skills in navigation, chart plotting, rules of the road, safety & regulations, buoyage systems, basic weather, basic stability, and much more!
  • To earn a credential that shows your experience and may even reduce insurance costs
  • To improve your resume if you want to get a job on a bigger boat

Why Choose Maritime Professional Training?

USCG Approved Courses - Train Here & Test Here No Test at the Coast Guard No waiting to test after your USCG Course is completed, No extra fees for at school testing


Yachtmaster Oceans: Certificate of Competency

This is a comprehensive shore based theory course in Celestial (Astro) Navigation, Passage Planning and Meteorology is accredited by the RYA and designed to upgrade your RYA Yachtmaster Offshore to an RYA Yachtmaster Oceans Certificate of Competency. After completion of this course, you will conduct a voyage of at least 600nm/at least 96 hours and at least 50nm from land (on your own vessel) taking sights and completing passage planning and then schedule an Oceans Oral Exam with the Royal Yachting Association. This course when endorsed on your CoC fulfills YM Ocean Prerequisite for MCA (Yacht) C.O.C. Upgrades when Commercially Endorsed. Note: This course assumes that you are still familiar with the Offshore Navigation Subjects.

Yachtmaster Offshore or Yachtmaster Coastal: Certificates of Competency

This is a three week course including exams, combining shore based theory and practical hands-on skippering techniques. This course is accredited by the RYA and MCA Recognized for service as Captain or Mate (OOW) up to 200gt/24meters up to 150 miles offshore. The Yachtmaster meets STCW A-VI/1 and section A-VI/1-4 when combined with the STCW Basic Safety Training Courses. The commercially endorsed Yachtmaster fulfills the prerequisite for MCA OOW 500 and 3000gt and the MCA STCW Command Certificate for Master 200gt.

Based on your experience and expertise, upon successful completion, the RYA Examiner will award you with either the Yachtmaster Offshore or Yachtmaster Coastal level of Certificate of Competency. You must also meet USCG Application, additional sea time, STCW, and citizenship requirements. Call and ask for details or refer to the qualifications section of this manual for USCG Licenses of up to 200grt.

Subjects Include:

A comprehensive shore based theory module with assessment papers including navigation, tidal calculations, international and inland rules of the road, coastal pilotage, meteorology, anchoring and mooring, docking and undocking, buoyage systems, safety, voyage and passage planning, general ship knowledge and seamanship.

The Yachtmaster offshore practical course module is conducted on board one of MPT's Yachts. These yachts are up to 48' and are twin screw motor yachts. This part of the instruction covers seamanship skills such as nautical terms, tides, marlinespike seamanship, anchor work, boat handling, docking, general yachting skills, basic weather, navigation and passage planning. This course will be a preparation course for your final Yachtmaster Offshore Examination.

Written Exams:

The written exams are administered at MPT at the end of the shore based theory segment of your program. They include all of the topics covered in the course.

Practical Exam:

All of the shore based courses and experience criteria must be fulfilled before the RYA Examiner will conduct the practical assessment. The final exam will be conducted by an independent and unbiased RYA Yachtmaster examiner and takes the form of an extensive oral and practical test on a motor yacht. The practical exam will take an additional day and is scheduled when the examiner is available and generally at the end of the course, weather permitting.

We will teach you the knowledge based subjects during your shore based theory week and also fine tune your boat handling skills during your practical course, but you should be familiar with the following areas when you join the class and proficient by the exam date.

  • Knowledge of the International and Inland Rules of the Road
  • Safety. The candidate will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a yacht.
  • Boat Handling, Maneuvering, Docking: Yachtmaster Coastal students will be expected to answer questions & demonstrate ability in simple situations only. Yachtmaster candidates are expected to demonstrate ability in more complex situations and will also be expected to show a higher level of expertise.
  • General seamanship, including maintenance.
  • Responsibilities of the skipper
  • Navigation, Basic Weather
  • Radio Communication & Signaling
  • Command presence, management and direction of crew