You cannot obtain a captain's license without boating experience.
Want to get your boat captain's license but do not have any experience? Mariners Learning System breaks down the USCG's boating experience requirements.
The vessel must have at least a 5 HP engine and not exceed 200 GRT. You need to have been underway for at least 4 hours in the day and not be docked or anchored.
If it is a sailing vessel, you must have at least a 5 HP engine on board. You do NOT need to use the engine; however, without the motor, only 20% of your boating experience will count toward the total number required.
Now if you have the time, jump right in and get started today!
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If you are shy on the required boating experience, but still want to start the course, here are two suggestions:
Option 1: You can take the course for its educational benefit now. However, you will not take your final exam just yet.
The reason why is because once you successfully pass our final exam, we will issue you a certificate of completion that is valid for 12 months. Failure to submit for your license within that 12-month period will result in taking the course over again and paying for the system, for a second go-around.
When you acquire your boating experience or are close, you can purchase a course extension (if a final exam was not taken) for $95.
This would be my recommended option as the supporting video in the online courses I have found to be highly beneficial.
Option 2: Purchase our Deluxe Edition course; this will come with hard copy books in addition to the online course and final exam. While acquiring sea time, study the books for the educational benefit to apply on the water.
Then, when you are close to your boating experience, login and activate your course.
Your 12-month timeline does not begin until you log in and ACTIVATE your course for the first time.
Also, some ways you can obtain more boating experience are:
- Work as a deckhand
- Use a friend's boat
- Join a local Marina/Boating club
- Use your boat
Although the Coast Guard does not require a practical exam, being a captain of a ship is an important role and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Therefore, you need to show you've got the adequate experience to navigate the open water. There are no prerequisites to taking our course, so you can jump in and start learning today!
Check out this blog: What Will I Learn in the OUPV/Six-Pack Course?