To get a Captain's License you'll need to take a variety of different courses, including boating safety, navigation, signaling, knot tying and first aid. You'll also need to take a drug test and a vision test and have a significant amount of boating experience before you can sit the final test to get the license.
Check the United States Coast Merchant Mariner Licensing Web site for information about requirements for getting a Captain's License and where to find courses in your area (see Resources below).
Compare courses according to availability, price and how inclusive the syllabus is. Make sure that the course you choose will satisfy all the requirements of your license. There are too many to list here so use the link provided in the Resources section to find out what the specific requirements are.
When selecting a course, make sure to choose one which is approved by the United States Coast Guard.
Sign up for courses, once you find a course which fulfills all your requirements. Be prepared for an intensive study schedule.
Once you have fulfilled the license requirements (including drug and vision tests and 360 days of boating experience), you must take and pass a final test before you can get your license.
- Getting a Captain's License is a very big undertaking. Be prepared for many hours of classes, many requirements which must be met and lots of studying for the final test.
- In most cases, drug tests are not included as part of the course. See the United States Coast Merchant Mariner Licensing Web site for details on how to organize a drug test--click the "Drug Test Info" link on the Home page.
- Captain's Licenses must be renewed every 5 years. This is a fairly simple process as long as you renew it before it expires. See the United States Coast Merchant Mariner Licensing Web site for details on how to renew your license.