Options for USCG Boating Licenses in the Maritime Industry

A Look into the Various Types of USCG Captain's Licenses

Types of USCG Captain's Licenses

When it comes to pursuing a career in the maritime industry, having the right qualifications is essential. One crucial aspect of this is obtaining a USCG Captain's License, also known as a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC). These licenses come in several types, each granting different privileges and qualifications. In this article, we will explore the main types of USCG Captain's Licenses and what they entail.


Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV) License

This is commonly called the "Six-Pack" license. It allows the holder to operate vessels carrying up to six passengers for hire. OUPV licenses have various endorsements for specific activities, such as fishing, sailing, or towing.

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Master License

The Master License allows the holder to operate vessels of different tonnage and passenger capacities. It is categorized based on the vessel's Gross Tonnage (GT) and the number of passengers it can carry. Master licenses range from 25 GT to unlimited tonnage and passengers.

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Mate License

The Mate License is a step below the Master License. It allows individuals to serve as mates or second-in-command on vessels. Like the Master License, it is categorized based on tonnage and passenger capacity.


Towing Endorsement

A USCG Towing Endorsement is designed for individuals who operate towing vessels involved in commercial towing operations. It is a certification that confirms the license holder's compliance with USCG standards and demonstrates their proficiency in the essential knowledge and skills required for safe and efficient towing operations. 


Sailing Endorsement

This endorsement is added to the Master License and allows the holder to operate sailing vessels carrying seven or more passengers commercially.



While the specific requirements for each USCG captain's license type may vary, there are common prerequisites that candidates need to meet. These include age requirements, sea service experience, completion of necessary training and courses, passing the USCG examination, and meeting medical and physical fitness standards.

If you're an aspiring captain, it's vital to consider your intended operations and career goals when choosing the correct license. To align with your aspirations, please take the time to review the USCG regulations, seek guidance from trusted maritime training institutions such as Mariners Learning System, and get the required sea service experience. This will ensure you meet all the specific requirements for your desired license type.

Obtaining the appropriate USCG Captain's License is a significant milestone in a mariner's career, ensuring they have the qualifications to operate vessels safely and professionally within their designated capacity. Whether their goal is to carry passengers, engage in commercial fishing, or perform towing operations, having the correct license is key to a successful and compliant career in the maritime industry.