Are you a seasoned boater who loves taking friends and family out on the water? Or perhaps while growing up, you spent a lot of time out on the water and being around people who love boating? Do you daydream about nautical charts and make plans for the fun of it? If yes is your answer to any of these, then becoming a charter boat captain may be a suitable profession for you.
Charter Boat Captains
In resort and vacation destinations, some of the most popular charter boat experiences are sightseeing, fishing and water sports. Now that anyone can easily rent a boat from a private owner, being a boat captain has become an even more appealing career option. In most cases, the renter is not qualified or experienced enough to operate the boat and has to hire a licensed and knowledgeable captain.
This is where you come into the picture.
Though it depends on the demand, geographic area, and your experience level, a charter boat captain can make a significant amount of money by simply doing what they love, which is being out on the water.
The United States Coast Guard is responsible for issuing a charter boat captain’s license. It is based on total days of service, waters served upon, and the weight of the vessel.
There are four main categories of charter boat captain’s licenses. Let us go through each of them.
- Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vehicles (OUPV) – Also known as a “6-Pack” license, the OUPV is a very popular boat captain license that typically applies to diving, fishing and sightseeing boats. This license limits you to carrying no more than six passengers on uninspected vessels of not more than 65 feet in length. Moreover, this license cannot be obtained without 360 days’ experience on inland or near coastal waterways.
- OUPV Limited Credential – This license has a very specific purpose, which is to allow the captain to operate an uninspected vessel but only for a short period of time. This may include transporting individuals from a dock to a larger boat moored out in the water. At least 90 days of experience on the type of vessel that will be operated is needed before you can apply for this license. You will also have to finish a USCG-approved Safe Boating Course. It is also known as a “launchtender’s license”.
- Limited Master Credential – Those who have passed the USCG inspection and earned an inspection sticker should apply for the Limited Master Credential. To apply for this license, at least 120 days of service on the type of vessel that will be used is required. Completing a USCG-approved Safe Boating Course is also required. If the captain completes 120 days of service on a sail-powered vessel, the license can be extended to cover sailing vessels.
- Master, 100 Tons Credential – This type of license allows the captain to operate vessels weighing up to 100 tons. The vessel can have as many passengers on board as it will legally hold. To apply for this license, at least 360 days of service on any vessel is required. You can also qualify for a tow boat assistance license by taking a separate exam.
There are many lucrative job opportunities for charter boat captains. You can join a company like Trusted Yacht Delivery as a captain and be the man in charge of fishing charters and sightseeing tours. You can also embark on diving and snorkeling trips as well as sunset and dinner cruises. Moreover, you can join towing companies such as Tow Boat U.S. or Sea Tow. You can also be a ferry boat captain for entertainment, recreation or transportation. The opportunities are bountiful, and it would be a waste of good talent if you don’t put your love for boating to good use.