How To Get Captain License in Florida?

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 26, 2022
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The process of getting a captain’s license in Florida is straightforward; you have to meet the minimum requirements for sea time and training as spelled out on the U.S. coast guard website, prove experience in operating a boat, have an identification document from the department of homeland security then pass a physical test.

Key Takeaways

  • There are two types of captain licenses available in Florida: Inland and Near-coastal licenses and a master’s license
  • The Inland and Near-coastal licenses are considered as Six-pack Captain’s License and this type of license allows the captain to carry up to six paying customers on the vessel
  • In order to get a captain’s license in Florida, you have to pass the coast guard exam
  • You will also have to go through a medical test to get the license and the medical test includes a vision test

Requirements for acquiring a Captain’s license in Florida

Requirements for acquiring a Captain's license in Florida

Even though acquiring a license can be viewed as an easy task, this is not the case. The reason behind acquiring a license, especially in Florida, is to make sure not only the fitting individuals have the licenses.

There are two types of captain licenses in Florida; 

  • the Inland and Near-coastal licenses are characterized as Six-pack. A six-pack Captain’s License gives a captain the advantage of carrying up to six paying customers on the vessel. There is confusion between a Masters’s License in Florida and a Six-pack license. 
  • A master’s license allows the navigation of passengers on a water body on an inspected vessel.

The Inland license is the license that allows the Captain to only sail within or on an inland route at any given time. This covers all the bays, rivers, and lakes within that specific region.

The Near-coastal license is the license that covers all the routes included in the inland license as well as an extra one hundred miles offshore. This license gives an extra added advantage to cover the water bodies further.

 Nevertheless, the following are the requirements for an individual to acquire a license:

  1. You need to have spent enough time on the water, at least 360 days in the water with a crew on any water vessel. It is also required that you should have spent in water in the last 90 days in three years. This also comes with a minimum of 90 days offshore in the sea.
  2. Passing the coast guard exam is also compulsory. An individual can decide to attend a training school that will provide the individual with all the necessary skills and educational content so that you pass the exams. They also come with the advantage of providing a replacement paper or Exam in place of the coast guard exam.
  3. After successfully passing the Coast Guard exam, then you will need to acquire the United States Social Security, Card
  4. It is also compulsory to have proof of U.S citizenship or an exception of a Green Card
  5. An application form, namely the CG 719B, is also a requirement and should be well filled out.
  6. Next, you will need to have paid your application fee and prove that you have paid the fee. The proof can also be a receipt as long as it is legit and shows the payment
  7. After that, you should have proof that you have done the Exam and have successfully passed. It involves both practical and theoretical parts.
  8. You will also be required to provide a copy of your TWIC card. This is a background check conducted by USCG  to check on The Driver’s registry report. It is used to try and find some added information about your driving, sailing, and all that. If you cannot submit the card as it is still being processed, then proof of application might as well come in handy.
  9. Character references are also significant when it comes to any job. This one here is also unavoidable when applying for the license. The references should also be reliable.
  10. A medical test certificate is also important. There are three main things that it should not fail to indicate. This includes the vision test, valid CPR, and a first aid certification.
  11. Documentation of a previously taken drug test is also essential. It should have taken over six months.

After the application, and you are sure to have provided all the required requirements, you have to wait for further communication. During the waiting period, which may be a week or two, the submitted documents are reviewed. Your application is passed to the National Maritime Centre, which will decide whether you qualify. After the waiting period and approval, you can start rocking the waterways as you have acquired the awaited license.

What size of the boat requires a Captain’s License in Florida?

The size of a vessel is always essential for acquiring a license. It is essential to know that as the Captain, the safety and safe arrival of the passengers is in your hands. Therefore, it is wrong to take responsibility for a vessel that you can efficiently manage or control. It is wrong, but it may cause many issues in matters relating to your career, such as defaming and loss of employment.

With either the 25,50 or the 100 Ton Master License, one is given to operate both the inspected and the uninspected vessels. As earlier mentioned, a Captain who holds a Master’s License can operate a vessel authorized to carry more than six paying passengers. 

How long does it take to get a Captain’s License?

How long does it take to get a Captain's License

An average student can take between twenty-five and thirty hours of learning to complete the Six pack course fully, also referred to as OUPV. 

For the Masters’s Level, an average student is expected to take between thirty-five to forty hours of learning. However, the hours mentioned do not apply to everyone. People are different; therefore, the time taken is also expected to vary. Some people may take hours, days, weeks, and even years to finish their desired program. 

What are some of the topics covered under the License learning program?

Different schools have different management and control of how they carry out their teaching. However, under the Maritime managing association in Florida, the following are the main topic branches set in the Final examination. The topics are:

  1. The OUPV/Six-pack Captains License 
  2. The Captains License Ton Upgrade
  3. Assistance Towing Endorsement
  4. Auxiliary Sailing Endorsement
  5. Marine Rdio Operator Permit
  6. The Ton, Master Upgrade
  7. The License Renewals and Original Application Consulting.

Is a Captain’s License required for a personal boat in Florida?

For a personal boat, mainly for personal use only, then a Captain’s license is not required. However, some people go deeper and take the courses to sharpen their skills and gain a feeling of achievement by acquiring the licenses. I can advise you to take the courses as these opportunities are very important. Once you are qualified and certified with the licenses, you can have side hustle jobs which can also be a source of income.

Can I captain my yacht in Florida? 

Yes, why not? However, this is only applicable to experienced captains and not just anyone. However, if you are considering captaining a vessel for greater than 75 feet, then this is challenging as it is tough to handle such lengths alone. Therefore, in Florida, it is a requirement that if you take more than 50 feet, you are to have a crew. This is compulsory, and if caught not obeying the law, you may serve a sentence.

What size boat requires a skipper license?

What size boat requires a skipper license

Boats of average of nine meters in length and have a power of around 15HP can have a skipper certification. This is for national clarification and certainty. They can also have the vessel’s certification for the nation or state.

Final word

One of the world’s remarkable waters is said to be in Florida. This is one of the main reasons they are very keen to make sure that all the required courses are available to educate the people so that they are qualified ad later they are given licenses to prove it. For any captain, the safe arrival of the vessel, passengers, and crew is always crucial. With licensing, the Captain shows some level of professionality. However, many captains have been detected to have false licenses in the current corrupt world. Therefore, the level of skill of any captain must still be tested despite having the Captain’s license.


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