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Question: Captains license required?

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by purpleK, Jan 8, 2006.

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  1. purpleK

    purpleK New Member

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    Tulsa OK
    At what length and or diplacement is a captains license required?
    Specifically owner operation of private not for charter liveaboard in 70-85 ft
    range? U.S. west coast/Canada/Alaska operation area.
    The real question is where do I go to get that information?

    Thanks :)
  2. captroynsteph

    captroynsteph New Member

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    Longboat Key
    As long as it is under 200grt and strictly for private use, no liscense is required by the USCG but your insurance company may have other plans.
  3. awayocean

    awayocean New Member

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  4. purpleK

    purpleK New Member

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    Thanks for the help.
    Insurance always wants my money!:(

    Thanks for the USCG link. That will be a great help.:)

    My copy of "Piloting" did not cover this area.

    Keith
  5. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    I captained a "Johnson 70" for a guy that had planned to operate it himself.
    The insurance company wanted a licenced captain on any boat over 70'.

    The owner tried to BS the insurance company by saying the vessel was only 69'8" long.
    They did not buy into it
    Then he tried to get his own ticket, but busted the exam and gave up.

    Then he drove the boat himself without adult supervision, ran aground twice and hit 3 different boats trying to get into the slip.

    Reluctantly he had to hire a Captain. :D
  6. awayocean

    awayocean New Member

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    The hard way. :D
  7. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Yeah, that guy was a trip.

    When he ran aground he could not tell the insurance company, so he shelled out $8K for new props under the table.

    The boat was brand new but never commisioned right.
    Lots of fancy stuff and electronic toys, but it didn't work or was hooked up wrong.

    Before we left the dock for a trip to the Keys, I went to West Marine and bought a handheld Garmin GPS and a handheld ICOM VHF so we could navigate and communicate if everything else failed.

    Thread-creep, sorry.

    As for the original question, when is a captain's licence required.?

    As stated above, ya can drive your own boat up to 199 tons without a ticket.
    That is tonnage, not displacement.
    Some guys move a door or a bulk-head to decrease the tonnage and sneak below the limit.

    Some of those owners/operators of big boats do an out-standing job of driving, maneuvering and managing the vessel, but many others don't.
    After all, the only qualification for driving those things are a line of credit.
    No common sense required and it shows occasionally here in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding area:
    Spectacular groundings, fast driving close to slower vessels with serious wake and potential damage, shaky dockings, sloppy radio work, etc, etc.

    Not a pretty picture, but the marine industry certainly benefit and they lobby hard to keep the rules the way they are.

    Some countries in Europe requires a licence (albeit not commercial) for anybody operating a private boat over 40 feet.
    Take a course, write an exam, demonstrate proficiency in maneuvering and so on.

    Don't think we will ever see that around here, so in the meantime, the insurance companies set the rules.

    Good for job-security...:cool:
  8. awayocean

    awayocean New Member

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    More problems for them-more $$$$ for us.Lots of people want to do my job for free.Well...........GOOD LUCK.:D
  9. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Yeah, well but ya can't blame the owners for wanting to drive their own toys.
    Even if the size and tonnage is usually up there with the ego's, the experience and skills may be lacking now and then.

    Lets not kid ourselves:

    To be a good Captain you have to go out there and Do it and Do it over the years.
    Some of us do the boating thing for a living, whereas the owners do their thing full-time and they are good at whatever it takes to make money and pay for boats and crews. Whatever.

    We all have our niche and expertise and I wish the owner-operators good luck if they have the talent and the time to hone their skills and drive as a Pro.

    If not, call the crew agency and be prepared to pay the going rate.:cool:
  10. purpleK

    purpleK New Member

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    Well said by all.
    I would hire a qualified captain to come out and teach me how to run the boat after taking the mentioned classes/ tests myself. Then when that captain is satisfied I would practice my butt off on docking skills and tight manueving skills until I am satisfied. I am pretty picky about that sort of stuff,used to drive an 18 wheeler.
  11. walford1809

    walford1809 New Member

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    Where does a person go to acquire a captains license?
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    As everyone stated, under 200 tons you don't need a license according to the USCG for private use. Finding an insurance company that will cover you is going to be the big problem. It's not totally impossible, I have 2 owners that come to mind that were covered without a Captain, one was on a 63' Ocean SF, and another on a 75' Hatteras MY, both had worked their way up to that size jumping 10' or so each time after years of experience.

    What is your boating experience as of right now? What leads you to believe that you will be competant at the helm of a 70' vessel, even after practice with a Captain. 70' is a size that most long term boat owners simply would not be able to Captain even after years and years of experience on '50<. Having 18 wheeler experience is good as you should be able to think logically about what happens next with a larger vehicle and think ahead of how to maneuver it in tight spots.
  13. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    J, You realized you replied to a 7 year old post, right? :)

    Personally I don't find the actual maneuvering to be the challenge on bigger boats, it s the maintenance/upkeep, system knowlegde and the deeper draft which is harder for owners operator.

    Norseman, I realize you posted that story back in 2006... I ve been running a Johnson 70 since 2008... Previous owner operated the boat and there was indeed mention of a few bent wheels in the file and log book :) wonder if it is the same boat...
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I just posted because someone else did and it was in the new thread.......Wonder if he ever did get his own 70 footer.....hahaha
  15. wscott52

    wscott52 Senior Member

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  16. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    PM coming your way...

    I lost track of the boat, it was new in 2002 and I only worked it a short time, next time I looked it was for sale.
    It had some strange "Owner Induced solutions", such as no windshield wipers so after a hard day of running at 29 knots the plastic windshield was covered in salt and hard to see out off for docking. One time I had the owner rig a hose and spray the "windows" (Isinglass I think) as we got close to the dock..

    It had the MAN 1350 HP option and a $90K Electronic suite on the fly bridge, as well as 25 HP Sleipner bow and stern thrusters. (Now called Side-Power) .
    Strange for this sail boater to go sideways into the fuel dock.:D
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Smart owner. Can't use wipers on plastic, especially Isinglass. One or the other will get ripped up. Also wipers are useless and will get torn up on dried salt. Big wet sponge is the thing to use.
  18. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    No, a smart owner would have stayed with glass and wipers, we had neither..:(
  19. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Different one... No wipers / washer is plain stupid!
  20. captainwjm

    captainwjm Senior member

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    If you are a novice, I'd recommend starting with a USCG Auxiliary or US Power Squadron boating class, then the advanced classes from USPS. Then, if you really want that license, I'd recommend Sea School for test prep, and assistance in the paperwork and other requirements for licensing. Well worth the time and money.

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