Captain's License Application Checklist Video
Coast Guard statistics indicate that most delays in the licensing process are due to mistakes and oversights in the preparation of the application paperwork. An application package will vary depending on the license you’re applying for, but the necessary requirements are covered in the video and the following paragraphs.
What are the Requirements to Get Your Captain's License?
Questions in Video
- What are the requirements for the USCG captain’s license application?
- What are the OUPV first aid requirements?
- How do you submit your captain’s license application?
Common Questions About Applying for a Captain's License
What are the requirements for the USCG captain's license application?
Most applicants begin the licensing process by reading and accurately completing CG form 719-B. This form is used for all Coast Guard credentials both for original first time Coast Guard applications and also for license renewals. Included with your application package, you must provide evidence that you either hold or have applied for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card. To obtain a TWIC card, an individual must provide biographic and biometric information such as fingerprints and sit for a digital photograph and successfully pass a security threat assessment, which is conducted by TSA.
The Coast Guard requires that you document the time you’ve spent on the water. Sea service requirements will vary considerably depending on which license you’re applying for. This information is recorded using the Small Vessel Sea Service form CG 719-S or with sea service letters provided by your employer or employers. If you’re submitting sea service forms to claim time on your own vessel or vessels, you’ll be required to demonstrate that you did in fact own the boat you wish to claim time on. This can be accomplished simply by providing records of your boat registration, vessel documentation, insurance card, or a sales receipt.
You’re required to take and pass a physical exam within one year of applying for your captain’s license. A physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner can fill out and record their findings on form CG 719-K. Certain medical conditions that may disqualify you for a license or require a waiver, such as:
- Cardiac disease
- Psychiatric disorders
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic use of narcotics
You must have taken and passed an approved Department of Transportation or DOT drug test within six months of applying for your captain’s license or provide proof of your active participation in a DOT-approved random drug testing program.
If you’re applying for a 25, 50, or 100-ton Master license, you must provide proof of your US citizenship. A certified copy of your birth certificate or passport will meet this requirement.
You can find the required captain’s license application forms here.
What are the OUPV first aid requirements?
You're required to complete an adult first aid course within a year of submitting your application for an OUVP license. The American Red Cross, Heart Association, and PADI all offer four-hour courses that will meet this requirement.
And finally, you’ll need to include in your application package three signed and dated character reference letters from non-relatives that will attest to your truthfulness of character and ability to captain a vessel.
How do you submit your captain’s license application?
Mariners may mail their applications directly to their local Coast Guard regional examinations center. Remember to include a return address on the envelope just in case there’s a problem with the mail. And if you’re sending original or certified copies of documents, it’s highly recommended that you use certified mail or another mail service that provides tracking capabilities. Originals will be returned to you after verification. In-person visits to the recs are no longer required.
What do you need for a captain's license renewal application?
- Complete Form CG-719B Application for Merchant Mariner Document (MMD), License or Certificate of Registry
- Complete Form CG-719S Small Vessel Sea Service Form
- Take and pass a DOT 5-panel drug test
- Submit a form for a physical that was conducted within the last 12 months
- Submit a scanned copy of your current license (front and back)
- Pay $95 for evaluation via your credit card or bank account
How do you check the status of your captain's license application?
The Coast Guard website has a Merchant Mariner Application Status form on their website, which you can use to check the status of your captain’s license application.
The Definitive Guide To Becoming A Licensed Captain
Learn how to get your Captain's License, determine which license is right for you, and understand the USCG license requirements
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