What kind of boating time qualifies for captains license?
Can time as a yacht tender and pilot for a family member qualify as time towards getting a captains license? The vessel is 29ft twin engine yacht, docked at a 3,000 acre lake. I am interested in eventually piloting a small passenger ferry boat on a major river.
To become a Ferry Boat Captain in the United States, one must first accumulate at least 365 days of service while holding a second mate’s license. Then, must attend approximately 13 weeks of classes and pass a series of examinations given by the United States Coast Guard.
Similarly, one must have worked as a third mate for 365 days to have become a second mate.
There are two methods to attain an unlimited third mate’s license in the United States: to attend a specialized training institution, or to accumulate “sea time” and take a series of training classes and examinations.
Sea time however is very difficult to prove and get approved. For one, it must be logged, and two, it must be in the appropriate waters ie: Great Lakes, Inland Waterways (Rivers), or Coastal and/or Offshore. So all total, you will need a lot of verifiable sea time.
A “six pack” will not work for you for two reasons: 1. I assume by “small passenger ferry” you are still carrying more then six passengers, and 2. All passenger ferries also fall under the control of the local Transportation Authority and they won’t allow anyone without a full Captain’s license operate a ferry of any size.
Training institutions include the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Naval Academy, as well as some (approved) State maritime colleges, as well as the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. There is also an “alternative” three-year apprentice mate training program approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The best place to start your research is at the U.S. Coast Guard, as they ultimately are the ones that will approve (or disapprove) everything… Don’t get mislead by anyone selling you classes, curriculum, online studies, or anything else without USCG verification of the schools approval.
The link is below…
Happy & Safe Boating,
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