How to Become a Successful Boat Captain in a Few Short Months!
If you are a boat owner and an avid boat enthusiast then there is a very good chance that you are looking to become a boat captain as soon as possible. Certainly you wish to enjoy being the one to direct the boat, the go-to person for anyone on board and most importantly, being able to cruise where you please. Follow these tips to navigate the process easier.
In order to become a boat captain you need to get a license, as any other profession, which you can get over the age of 18 through a written exam. The second thing you need to do is spend at least 90 days on sea throughout a course of 3 years as a member of the crew, not a passenger. So if you really are invested in becoming a boat captain, make sure you allocate enough time of your life to this quest. After this, all there is left to do is complete the application process and its requirements.
Requirements to becoming a boat captain
The first thing you have to do to become a boat captain is figure out which of the two available licenses you want to get. The first one is called a Six Pack license and it is meant for captains who can only accommodate 6 passengers on their vessel at all times. The second license is called a Master’s and it means the boat captain can manage as many passengers as the boat allows for. The latter is only available to US citizens while the first one can be granted to non-US citizens as well.
Secondly, you need to know that there are three areas in which you can sail with the license. The first area covers rivers, lakes and bays. The second area includes coastal waters not exceeding 200 miles from the shore. The third one includes all open waters determined by the boundary lines. Make sure to choose the right one, depending on the waters you wish to cruise in, before starting the application process.
Thirdly, to become a boat captain you need to be in good health and complete a medical form signed by your family doctor. In addition, you have to complete the so called DOT five-panel drug test. You also need to provide a criminal background check and a national security check to make sure you do not pose a threat to anyone. A photograph is needed as well. Other documents might be required in the application form so make sure to read everything thoroughly before you submit it.
You will also be asked to take a test verifying your knowledge on deck, coastal navigation and the rules of the road so make sure you read upon those topics and absorb as much information as you can beforehand. This includes information on fire safety, marine laws and regulations, procedures, terminology, signals and more. You can use TheBoatApp to have some of this information available to you at all times.
Furthermore, make sure to pay all the application fees required in the process. Applications requirements and procedures may change from one place to another so ask for information in your area before you start the process. Lastly, be positive and enjoy the process. You will soon be a boat captain. Fair winds and following seas!