Captain's license requirements

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by rfleet1066, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. rfleet1066
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    rfleet1066 rfleet1066

    I'm building a very large pleasure boat for protected waters. At what point is a captains license required?

    Ryland
     
  2. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    philSweet Senior Member

    What is very large? (I'm pretty sure you don't need one to build it);)
     
  3. keysdisease
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    keysdisease Senior Member

    For the United States:

    Any vessel taking more than 6 passengers for hire needs a Coast Guard licensed Operator with the proper endorsements.

    Any vessel taking more than 6 passengers for hire needs to have its keel laid in the United States and needs to conform to "CG inspected rules" for its given size and passenger load. There is a change in requirements at 50 or more passengers.

    It does not matter what kind of water you operate on, these rules apply to any vessel taking more than 6 passengers for hire on any body of water, fresh or salt, big or small.

    For example the ferry at Lake Buena Vista in Orlando that makes like a one mile trip from a parking lot to Disney World is an CG inspected vessel.

    The term "inspected vessel" is literal, the Coast Guard actually comes to the build site and inspects the vessel at various stages of construction to be sure it conforms to the very specific rules, this after the basic design is reviewed. There is also a stability test involved.

    Steve
     
  4. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    A bit more complicated.

    Only boats operating on federal navigable waters are subject to federal regulations on crew licensing and boat inspection. Lake George in New York State is not a federal navigable waterway and boats carrying passengers for hire on it are subject to state, not federal, regulation. This was discussed in the press after 20 people drowned in the capsize of the Ethan Allen on Lake George in 2005.

    Boats over 100 tons can carry 12 passengers (in navigable federal waters) without being inspected.

    Sub-chapter T of USCG regulations applies to (http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/46/175.110)
    (a) Except as in paragraph (b) of this section, this subchapter applies to each vessel of less than 100 gross tons that carries 150 or less passengers, or has overnight accommodations for 49 or less passengers, and that—

    (1) Carries more than six passengers, including at least one for hire;

    (2) Is chartered with a crew provided or specified by the owner or the owner's representative and is carrying more than six passengers;

    (3) Is chartered with no crew provided or specified by the owner or the owner's representative and is carrying more than 12 passengers; or

    (4) If a submersible vessel, carries at least one passenger for hire; or

    (5) Is a ferry carrying more than six passengers. ​

    Larger vessels are regulated by sub-chapter K.
     
  5. rfleet1066
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    rfleet1066 rfleet1066

    Large pleasure boat

    She's in excess of 70' depending on where you take the measurement. The hulls are 65' but the deck is 72' long.

    As I read the statutes, if the vessel is private and not for hire, then the license is not required.


    Ryland
     
  6. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    My understanding is there is an upper limit on vessel size which can be operated on federal navigable waters without a licensed captain, even if the vessel is not carrying passengers for hire. The only references I've found are indirect. One claims the limit is 90 feet in length, the other claims the limit is 200 tons.
     
  7. keysdisease
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    keysdisease Senior Member

    My apologies rfleet, I misread your question and assumed it was a "pax for hire" question.

    Often an insurance company will require a licensed operator for a vessel of a certain size plus. I'm not aware of any Coast Guard or Federal restrictions on the operator of a private vessel, ask the Coasties, they should be able to answer.
     
  8. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    If you operate the vessel yourself strictly as a recreational vessel you don't need a license. If you hire a professional to operate it they must be licensed, depending on the size (tonnage and type, motor, sail). If you carry passengers for hire, then the captain must be licensed whether that is you or a Captain for hire.

    However, The comment about insurance is true. Insurance on a vessel of that size and value would most likely have to be marine insurance. I doubt very much it would be insured the way most small recreational boats are. In order to insure a vessel of that size the insurance company would most likely require it be built to a known standard such as MCA, USCG rules for passenger vessels, Lloyds, ABS, or various others. Plus they would want to know it was being operated by a competent person so you might have to get a license but it would probably be a six pack (uninspected vessel carrying six or less passengers for hire) to satisfy the insurance company.

    I am qualifying all these statements with things like "most likely" because each case is different.
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Ike would be a good person to ask, but I don't know of any size requirement on a protected waters vessel, used privately. I know a guy that owns a 110' houseboat and uses it fairly often without any licenses.

    As mentioned, if you take passengers (6 or more), then you've got to be licensed.

    Damn Peter, you where typing as I was talking about you.
     
  10. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Thanks PAR, I already answered him.
     
  11. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  12. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Post a picture, I will be interrested to see your building.
    Ask the Costa Concordia captain :D
     
  13. masrapido
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    masrapido Junior forever

    You cannot be a captain of a leisure boat. You need a skipper's licence. To be a captain you need to study nautical science (how to drive and load/unload a freighter or a passenger ship - although there are countries that issue "captain's licences left and right for various sizes of ships) first.

    The laws differ from country to country, but in any event unless you have a skipper's licence you cannot leave your country's territorial waters with your leisure vessel.

    Many civilised countries in the world have a captain's exam that you sit for after at least 5 years of Being a First Mate (of the deck), and you are promoted into a captain within your company, when you get your first ship to hoon with around. Passing the captain's exam doesn't necessarily mean you are a captain. It all depends on local laws. To get the right info you should ask for it in the nearest Captain's Office/Port Authority in your country. Only whatever they say goes.
     
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  14. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Careful....each country has its own rules. If you plan on international cuising Get a operators license, a radio license and carry insurance or you will be denied entry.

    I am constantly asked to produce a Certificate of Seaworthiness, Operators License, Insurance plus Proof of ownership or a notarized letter of authorization if your name doesn't match the ownership document.

    Commonly this is required for boats over 3 meters LOA and 5 kw power.
     

  15. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    The US does not issue "Captain's Licenses" or "Skipper's Licences", though those terms are sometimes used informally. Rather it issues licenses to individuals as "Masters" and "Operators of Un-Inspected Vessels". Both require a combination of "sea-time" and passing an exam. There are various endorsements to each which restrict the vessels an individual's license is applicable to.

    In the US the term "captain" is generally used for a person in command of a vessel and does not depend on holding a particular license. I'm not aware of it having any legal significance.

    This is not true for many countries. For example there is no requirement for any type of license to leave the territorial waters of the US in a leisure vessel. Requirements for entering the territorial waters of another country are a different question. For example I can visit Canada in my boat and do not need a license or operator's certificate for short visits.

     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
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