Become a boat captain.

Print anything with Printful

Becoming a boat captain requires meeting specific licensing regulations, which vary by region. In the US, applicants must contact the US Coast Guard for exams, provide documentation of 360 days of boating experience, pass a rigorous written exam, and undergo a physical exam, background check, and drug test. Recommendations and CPR/first aid certification are also necessary.

The requirements needed to become a boat captain depend a lot on where you live and what the specific licensing regulations are in your region. In the UK, for example, you should contact the Royal Yachting Association as they can provide you with information on licensing procedures and other requirements. The United States (US) has other requirements and most applicants will need to contact the US Coast Guard for the necessary testing and examination procedures. In either situation, you can help yourself by gaining experience working on a boat, be it a commercial fishing boat or a luxury cruise ship.

While specific requirements may change from country to country, there are some general guidelines you can consider when working towards becoming a boat captain. Consider what it takes in the US to become a licensed boat captain, and you’ll have a good idea of ​​what you might need to do, regardless of your region. In the US, you need to contact the US Coast Guard for a local Regional Exam Center to take the necessary exams required by US law to work as a boat captain.

You will need to provide documentation of 360 days of boating experience, with at least four hours at sea per day. Those days must have been within the last five years, but that time could be spent doing any kind of service on a boat or ship. Documentation may be the most important part of that time required to become a boat captain, so keep your time properly recorded and have the captain you serve sign your records.

There is a pretty rigorous written exam you must pass to become a boat captain in the US and proper preparation for this test is strongly suggested by those who pass it. The material covered in the test goes beyond what can easily be learned just by working on a boat, and several prep courses and books are available to help you study. Questions on this test range from proper deck and safety procedures to general boating knowledge and even various boating issues that require the use of a sliding ruler to accurately triangulate locations.

A complete physical exam with an eye exam is also required, as well as background checks, fingerprints, and drug tests. You will also need to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid, and Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and American Red Cross locations can help you with these requirements. Expect to also need several recommendations; so consider who you know with skippering or yachting experience who can give you a solid recommendation.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content