Captain's License - 25/50 or 100 Ton Master Requirements

A Master license is issued for operation on the Great Lakes, Inland and Near Coast waterways.

The USCG Master 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.

There are 4 different Master Licenses a mariner may qualify for such as the Master Inland or Master Near Coastal. Both the amount of sea service time and the size vessels you have been on will influence the license you are eligible for. Master licenses are tonnage rated at 25 GT (gross tons), 50 GT, or 100 GT.

The tonnage you are awarded is determined by the size vessels you've gained experience on in the last 3 years - it's called "recency 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.

The 4 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. Completion of approved course and test.
  • Master Inland/OUPV: 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. Completion of the Mariners Learning System™ Coast Guard approved course.
  • Master Inland/Mate N.C.: 360 days underway experience since age 16; 90 days of those 360 days in the last 3 years; 180 of those 360 days outside the boundary lines. Completion of the Mariners Learning System™ Coast Guard approved course.
  • 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. Completion of the Mariners Learning System™ Coast Guard approved course.

Additional Requirements Include:

  • Obtain a Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC Card)
  • Minimum age: 19 years old (U.S. 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.
  • CPR/First Aid training
  • Completion of Mariners Learning System™ USCG-approved Master 25/50/100 Ton online course
  • Complete a USCG Original License Application Package

No testing at the USCG Regional Exam Centers is necessary. All testing is done at our facilities.

Upon successful completion of the Mariners Learning System™ online OUPV course, the student studies the materials and takes a proctored exam at one of our Coast Guard approved testing sites. Once the student passes our multiple choice exam, he or she 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.