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25/50 or 100 Ton Master's License Requirements

Make sure you meet all the requirements by the time you submit your application packet to the Coast Guard to be issued a 25/50 or 100 Ton Master's license.

The USCG Masters License allows the holder to operate inspected vessels, as well as uninspected vessels. Any vessel that is certified (authorized) by the USCG to carry more than 6 paying passengers plus crew must have a Boat Captain who holds a 25/50/100 Ton Master license. Ferry boats, harbor tours boats, whale watch boats are examples of inspected vessels.


Note: The Masters license is issued with a tonnage restriction and operational area based on your boating experience. 


The 3 types of up to 100GT Master licenses are listed below along with the requirements:

  • Master Inland: 360 days underway experience since age 16; 90 of those 360 days in the last 3 years. 
  • Master Inland/OUPV Near Coastal: 360 days underway experience since age 16; 90 of those 360 days in the last 3 years; 90 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines. 
  • Master Near Coastal: 720 days underway experience since age 16; 90 of those 720 days in the last 3 years; 360 of those 720 days outside the boundary lines.

You can also be issued Great Lakes operation based on your Great Lakes boating experience. 


You are not required to advance through the different licenses one at a time. If you meet the USCG requirements for the master 100GT Near Coastal, you'll get that license as your first license.


Note: Experience gained prior to the age of 16 will not be counted. 


Sea Service experience can be counted on your own vessel. A Small Vessel Sea Service Form and proof of ownership are required. Experience on other people's vessels can also be counted. In this instance, to verify experience claimed and vessel details, a completed Sea Service Form with the owner's signature must accompany the application.


Additional Requirements Include:

  • Minimum Age: 19 years old
  • US Citizenship Required
  • Pass a Physical Examination
  • Pass a Drug Test
    • Unless enrolled in a USCG-approved random drug program for the last 185 days, and with no failure or refusal to participate in a chemical test for dangerous drugs.
  • Obtain a Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC Card)
  • Adult CPR/ Basic First Aid Training
  • Completion of MLS Masters program
  • Complete a USCG Original License Application Package

Note: No testing at the USCG Regional Exam Centers is necessary. All testing is done through our company! 


Upon successful completion of the Mariners Learning System™ online Masters course, the student studies the materials and takes a proctored exam ONLINE with us.


Once the student passes our multiple choice exam, they will receive a Mariners Learning System™ certificate recognized by the United States Coast Guard.

Simply submit, within one year, the original certificate along with your application package and applicable fees to the USCG Regional Exam Center. Upon their approval of your package, they will send you your original License.