USCG Captain's License Requirements: MMC Eligibility

Navigating the Requirements: Becoming a Certified Captain in the Maritime Industry

Obtaining a USCG Captain's License, also known as a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC), is required for individuals aspiring to become licensed captains in the maritime industry. However, candidates must meet specific eligibility requirements for a USCG Captain's License. This article serves as a comprehensive guide, outlining the various criteria and qualifications necessary to obtain a USCG Captain's License.


Age Requirements

Applicants must meet the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) minimum age requirements to be eligible for a USCG Captain's license. Generally, the minimum age is 18 years for an OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels) License and 19 years for higher-level licenses, such as the Master or Mate License. Verifying the specific age requirements for the license category you are pursuing is important.


Sea Service Experience

Sea service experience is vital for obtaining a USCG Captain's License. Applicants must accumulate a specific number of days at sea, which varies depending on the license category and desired tonnage. The USCG typically requires at least 360 days of documented sea service experience for the OUPV License and higher experience levels for more advanced licenses.


Training and Courses

Completing the necessary training and courses is essential for qualifying for a USCG Captain's License. Successful applicants must complete required courses, such as navigation, safety, firefighting, and first aid training. These courses equip the candidates with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate vessels safely and efficiently. Coast Guard-approved courses that meet these requirements are available through Mariners Learning System.


Medical and Physical Fitness Standards

Applicants must meet medical and physical fitness standards to obtain a USCG Captain's License. The USCG requires individuals to undergo a thorough medical examination by a designated medical practitioner. The examination assesses the applicant's physical and mental fitness, ensuring they can perform the duties of a licensed captain.



Meeting the eligibility requirements is essential for obtaining a USCG Captain's License and pursuing a successful career in the maritime industry. By familiarizing yourself with the age requirements, sea service experience, training, medical and physical fitness standards, and character requirements, you can ensure you meet the qualifications necessary to apply for a USCG Captain's License. Complying with these requirements shows your commitment to professionalism and safety, setting the foundation for a rewarding and fulfilling career as a licensed boat captain.