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Need for license to pilot a 58+ yacht

 
 
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Need for license to pilot a 58+ yacht

Do you need a license to pilot your own yacht say from 58 foot to 75 foot long (non-commercial) ? I have run smaller boats in the 20 foot range, but didn't know if there was a certain length of boat that was a threshhold for needing a license. Any information would be appreciated as well as any helpful web sites someone may want to recommend.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by igloo
Do you need a license to pilot your own yacht say from 58 foot to 75 foot long (non-commercial) ? I have run smaller boats in the 20 foot range, but didn't know if there was a certain length of boat that was a threshhold for needing a license. Any information would be appreciated as well as any helpful web sites someone may want to recommend.
No need for a license, but there is a good chance that your insurance company will require you to have a captain aboard for a period. It'd be a very good idea anyway for the first couple of years even if you want to "drive". You'll find there is a big difference between running a 20 something footer and a 50 footer and a huge difference with a 75 footer. Just today we had a momentary bilge alarm. We have 6 bilge pumps plus 2 manual pumps, plus the main engines can be used as pumps. Having just cleaned the bilges I was surprised to find that I completely missed the bilge area by one of the pumps which is where some water collected to trip the alarm. How does that equate to your experience on 20 somethings? That's the long way to tell a short story.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NYCAP123
No need for a license, but there is a good chance that your insurance company will require you to have a captain aboard for a period. It'd be a very good idea anyway for the first couple of years even if you want to "drive". You'll find there is a big difference between running a 20 something footer and a 50 footer and a huge difference with a 75 footer. Just today we had a momentary bilge alarm. We have 6 bilge pumps plus 2 manual pumps, plus the main engines can be used as pumps. Having just cleaned the bilges I was surprised to find that I completely missed the bilge area by one of the pumps which is where some water collected to trip the alarm. How does that equate to your experience on 20 somethings? That's the long way to tell a short story.
No requirement for a license in any state, and certainly not at the federal level. However, if you have no experience handling large boats you just might want to pay somebody to teach you. I can't count on both my hands the number of times I have seen someone embarrass themselves trying to back into a slip.

Also, most "hull" insurance deductibles for 50+ foot yachts are around 10 grand. Know what you are doing before you go banging into a tight marina.

Last week I ran my 53' Viking for the first time in about 6 months and when it came time to dock, everything clicked; you never really forget.
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Also, most "hull" insurance deductibles for 50+ foot yachts are around 10 grand.
Actually, I've been seeing 10% deductables. On a new 50 that heads up towards 200 grand.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with what everyone else is saying but would like to add this. Get yourself a full time Captain at least for the first year. There is a lot of information to learn how to safely navigate and run a 58-75' yacht from a 20'. Also a 75' yacht is twice as much boat as a 58' in almost all aspects. A lot heavier, a lot physically larger, a lot more systems, and a lot less forgiving if you screw up. Also, a yacht needs constant maintanence and you'll need to learn how to keep up with that as well, it's not like a car where you just park it in a garage.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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license/certification aka taxes vary by state but applies to all vessels, regardless of size.

there are no USCG or Fed. requirements for licenses based on size for private vessels. You insurance underwriter will have a say though and may force you to have a captain on board for a period of time. It will depends on your experience, the type of boat, size, power, cruise speed, value, etc...

Personally, I find that, GENERALY SPEAKING, the larger the boat the easier it is to handle. Once you get beyond the 35/40' range, you're not going to manhandle that boat by pushing, shoving, pulling lines or fending off so it doens' matter if the boat is heavier, the larger boats will be less prone to sailing in the wind.

systems and maintenance become an important part of ownership. as boats get larger and more complicated, there are more things to maintain and it becomes more difficult for an owner/operator to keep the boat to high standard, unless experience and semi retired with a lot of free time. The threshold will vary depending on the boat, the owners experience and available time, but once you get around 60/70' a part time or even full time captain starts making sense to manage the boat and keep this in shape.
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Old 06-13-2009, 05:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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there are no USCG or Fed. requirements for licenses based on size for private vessels.
Hmm, not so sure about that:

Anything over 199 tons needed a licenced Captain the past.

Agree on the rest however: Take courses AND hire a Captain/Instructor for the first few months.

You can even take a Coast Guard "Captains" course and the exam, although you may not be able to get the ticket due to lack of experience.
By taking the course it will force you to learn stuff you would never have to know by just running your own private vessel.

The course is of the "Cram" type, like drinking water from a fire-hose: 2 weeks of schooling and do 100 to 200 questions after class to practice for the test.

Not pleasant, but again, it will force some knowledge into your head..
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