Captain’s Licenses: Financial Benefits

Lucrative Ventures: Income Opportunities for Licensed Boat Captains

How much money does a boat captain make? 

There is no set amount for how much you earn as a commercial boat captain, but there are many lucrative options. With your captain’s license, you’ll have the freedom to embark on a wide range of careers and business ventures. Common opportunities for holders of captain’s licenses include:  


Transporting yachts for customers: The cost of transporting a boat more than 8 feet wide by land can be very high, making boat delivery by water an attractive solution. A typical delivery captain will charge $275 to $475 per day. 


Charter boats or fishing charters: Fishing boats that charge per person are known in the industry as head boats or party boats and can be lucrative operations. A charter boat captain can charge upwards of $625 for a four-hour fishing trip. 


Providing water taxi services: This is a great way to get your foot in the door. While not the highest-paying opportunity, water taxi operations are always looking for extra captains. 


Conducting sea trials: Many boat brokers and dealers use licensed captains to conduct sea trials on behalf of potential buyers. 


Being a ferry boat captain: A captain running a ferry boat can make $45,000 to $85,000 or more per year.  


You can find out more opportunities for commercial captains here


Can I get an insurance break with my captain’s license?  

For insurance purposes, while holding a captain's license, one can expect anywhere from a 10-30% reduction in insurance cost year over year.  Please reach out to your insurance company for specifics. 


Can I be fined if I don’t have a captain’s license while having paying passengers aboard? 

The fines are stiff if you are caught charging passengers a fee (consideration) to go out on your boat without being a USCG Licensed Captain. How does $10,000 per occurrence sound? And to make matters worse... If you are not enrolled in an approved random drug testing program, you can add another $5,000 for each day you are caught doing so. Well, it’s true! 


Read our blog: Fines for Running Charters Without a License