Filing out formFor your boating experience to count towards a Captain's License you must document it. Learn how to fill out the Small Vessel Sea Service Form. You must complete one form for each vessel you are claiming experience on. For service on vessels under 200 gross tons, owners of vessels may attest to their own service; however, those who do not own a vessel must obtain evidence from the owners of the vessels listed. The documentary evidence that you submit must contain the amount and nature of your experience, the vessel name, gross tonnage, official numbers, the routes upon which the experience was acquired, and approximate dates of service.

Section I -  Application Information
This section contains information about the applicant, the vessel and the body of water the vessel was operated on.

Section I Sea Service Form

  1.  Only one vessel per Small Vessel Sea Service form.
  2.  If you do not know the Gross Tonnage (GT) of your vessel and you know the width, length, and depth, you can use this calculation to get the GT: Length x Width x Depth x .67 divided by 100.
  3. Select the capacity which you served on this vessel.
  4. Lakes, Bays, sounds, Rivers, and Inter Coastal Waterways are considered shoreward/Inland (i.e., Chesapeake Bay or San Fransisco Bay are considered shoreward/Inland water).

 Section II - Record of Underway Service
This section is where you count your days of experience; treat it like a calendar. List the number of days that you were underway for each month of each year, based on your best recollection.


  1. The total number of days should be the sum of the days listed in the months above.
  2. Most CG Regional Exam centers (REC's) will accept 4 hours to count as one day for the OUPV/Six-pack/Charter Boat Captain or 25/50/100 Ton Master License. In no case will this period be less than 4 hours.
  3. The first box should be a breakdown of the number of days spent on the Great Lakes, the second box should be a breakdown of the number of days spent shoreward of the boundary line (or Inland Waters), and the third box should be a breakdown of the number of days spent seaward of the boundary line (or on Near Coastal waters). The total of these three boxes should match the total listed in Box #1.
Helpful Hints for Section II:
  • Do not list underway days per month repetitively. For example: If you record being underway 30 days for every month for 5 years this will raise a red flag. You will be sent an Awaiting Information Letter from the National Maritime Center requiring an accurate accounting of this time underway.
  • Do not list the same underway time on multiple vessels. For example: Indicating 25 days underway for the month of March 2012 on the vessel Impossible, AND 25 days underway for the month of March 2012 on the vessel Can't Be. There are only 31 days in March not 50. If for some reason you were working 4 hour shifts on multiple vessels you will need to send an explanation of this.

Section III - Signature and Verification

Completing this section is considered documenting your sea service experience. It must be signed by the applicant and the vessel owner, operator or master. If the applicant was the vessel owner than proof of ownership, such as state registration or vessel documentation, must be included.
  1. Applicant will always sign and date this line.
  2. If you are the OWNER of the vessel listed on this form, proof of ownership must be provided. Proof of ownership should include your name (name of applicant) and the official number or state registration number of the vessel. Acceptable forms of proof of ownership include registrations, proof of insurance, and bills of sale. If you are signing as the owner of a company such as an LLC, then you will need to include proof of ownership of the company such as articles of incorporation.
  3. If you are the applicant and owner of the vessel on the form, you do not need to sign and date this section. If you are the applicant and do not own the vessel on the form, then you will need to have the owner, operator, or master sign, date, and provide his/her address and phone number. If you are the Master of the vessel but not the owner, you cannot attest to your own service. You must have the owner of the vessel complete the days underway and sign in this section and give their address and phone number.

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