Captain’s Licenses: Timeline

Timeframe from Course Enrollment to License Issuance

How long does it take to get my captain’s license? 

Once you have the required amount of boating experience, it’s just a matter of taking a course that prepares you for the captain’s license test, gathering the required materials, and completing a physical and drug test. The process may take anywhere from a few months to a year. 


You have one year from when you activate the online course to complete it and pass our final exam. You can take your exam online through our system!


Once you pass our final proctored exam; you have one year to submit your certificate and application package to the Coast Guard.  


Application Process Timeline


WARNING: It takes the Coast Guard 4 – 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) to issue you the official credentials. You CANNOT operate professionally until you have your license in hand. 


How long is the captain’s license good for?  

Once you get your captain’s license, it is good for a lifetime. However, you will need to get the license renewed every five years. You will need 360 days of sea time on any waters within five years since the license was issued. If you do not have this sea time, you can complete our Deck License Renewal course.  


You have a one-year grace period after that where you cannot use it, but still have time to renew it. However, if you are outside this time, you will need to go through the licensing process again.