Master Captain Upgrade: Your OUPV or “6-pack” license allows you to have up to six paying passengers on your vessel. The Masters upgrade allows you to carry as many paying passengers as the vessel is rated to carry.
There are three Master tonnage ratings: 25-ton, 50-ton and 100-ton. Generally, if you have been running vessels under 25 feet you will most likely qualify for a 25-ton endorsement. If you have been running 25 to 50 foot vessels, you will most likely qualify for a 50-ton endorsement. If you have been running vessels from 50 to 100 feet, you will most likely qualify for a 100-ton endorsement. The 100-ton endorsement allows you to operate vessels from 25 to 125 feet, which covers a lot of ground… head boats, ferries, etc.
You can use the same sea time that you used for your OUPV documentation to document sea time for a Masters upgrade.
The only reason not to go for the Masters Endorsement is if you are content with doing small charters on your 6-passenger vessel. If you plan on getting hired in the marine industry, want to move boats up and down the coast, or want to work for a commercial towing outfit, then you should plan on getting the Master Captain Upgrade. Most employers are looking for captains with a tonnage rating. The OUPV license allows you to run boats up to 100 tons (with a maximum of 6 passengers) but most insurance companies require a Master Captain rating equal or above the vessel’s weight class to operate.
Master vessels are inspected vessels. OUPV vessels are uninspected passenger vessels. In short, if you run an OUPV vessel, it is not subject to annual USCG inspections. If you run a Master vessel, it is subject to USCG inspections and rating requirements.
The course is 24 hours in one weekend.
Assistance Towing Endorsement: This endorsement allows you to tow vessels commercially. If you want to work for a commercial towing outfit, you should get this endorsement. Most employers in the industry are looking for Master Captains with a Towing Endorsement.
This is a 4-hour class.
I always suggest to students that they get the biggest license they can right out of the gate.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You must be at least 19 years old and a U.S. Citizen to qualify for a Master Captain Upgrade.
CAPTAIN JACK’S CAPTAINS COURSE
Master Upgrade Course $400.00
Assistance Towing Endorsement Course $200.00