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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Plymouth MN
    Posts
    95

    Captains license

    What’s the best route to get a captains license. I'm hoping to get it done this winter. I live near Minneapolis. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,503
    I had to look back and find a post from another site I visit. These are excerpts from a charter training captain and Marine Assist operator in response to someone that basically asked what completing the captain's class allowed them to do. The response outlines extent of the process that has to be completed. It's more than passing a test. Here's the text...

    The training classes are basically prep classes to help an otherwise sea qualified person obtain a captains license needed for their line of employment. They are very effective training tools, because they basically teach you how to pass a government test and jump through all the hoops.

    If you are not employed in the marine field or seeking to be employed as a professional captain for hire, there is no reason to obtain a captain's license, unless you just want to hang it on the wall for conversation sake.

    Topics taught at these classes include learning the Navigation Rules of the Road inside and out, navigation in wind, tide and currents without the aid of electronics, lighting and day shapes, buoys and markers, and learning all kinds of answers to the pool of over 3000 possible deck exam questions the Coast Guard maintains for their tests. You will do charting and advanced navigation on charts for the Rhode Island area and you will be required to plot a course using tide tables, current wind reports, reference Coast Guard Notice to Mariners, and some dead reckoning to find your way on paper to your destination safely and be graded on it.

    Passing the test is only a part of the entire process of being approved for the issuance of a license. You have to meet a minimum number of documented days on the water where you want your license to grant you operating range. You also need to pass a physical the Coast Guard dictates and be in good physical health with no real issues in your past. You also have to submit to a criminal background check, not be a convicted felon, pass a drug test and belong to a random drug testing consortium. You are also supposed to get a TWIC card, which involves parts of a federal background test and biometric storage of fingerprints and other data. A lot of this is because licensed captains need un-escorted access to secure areas now and then, depending on their territory where they work. A licensed captain who tests over .04 will be convicted of DUI / BUI. People prescribed pain killers or with heart or other serious issues in their past will have a very difficult time being approved.

    From start to finish a person can expect to invest between $1200 to $2000 in the process, as well as several days and some travel to the company that handles the TWIC card issuance and possibly to a Regional Exam Center. You will also need to be certified to perform CPR and be issued a certificate from an accepted agency certifying you. The physical has to be performed by a PHD or Nurse Practitioner. A chiropractor doing DOT physicals will not be accepted.

    Captain's Licenses are good for 5 years.

    Anyway, I'm sure I am leaving something out somewhere. Again, not trying to be discouraging here. Just want to make sure you understand exactly what is being offered. I had my latest two captains hired run through the process using a company up in Cincinnati. In all, it took them about 8-12 months, if I remember correctly to get ti all done.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Ellison Bay, WI
    Posts
    5,141
    did my Masters license 4 years ago through this training org. https://explorersguidellc.com. I like the experience and thought they did a great job. I've heard the sea time requirements for a Master are increasing on Jan 1st so you might want to check that. I also paid a company (Sea K's) in Michigan to review, submit, & "manage" my application through the USCG process. That was about $150, but well spent to avoid back and forth with USCG for not filling out papers right. good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Ellison Bay, WI
    Posts
    5,141
    and I agree with play doughs details

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Manitowoc, WI
    Posts
    99
    I took the class through Explorers Guide Maritime Academy this fall. Very good class with an excellent instructor. As previously mentioned this is step 1 in the process. After passing you need a coast guard approved physical, drug test, first aid certification, CPR certification, TWIC card, mariner application, documented sea service, and I'm sure there are other things I left out. I sent all my paperwork in at the end of December and got my medical certificate back and now that the government is open again hoping the rest of my application gets reviewed in the coming weeks. It's a long process but fairly easy if you have everything organized. Good luck.

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