Masters 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. So why not just go for the Masters? (Why settle for an Associates degree when you have the credits for a Bachelors?)
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, or 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 Masters endorsement. Most employers are looking for captains with a tonnage rating. The OUPV license allows you to run boats to 100 tons (with a maximum of 6 passengers), but most insurance companies require a Master rating equal or above the vessel’s weight class to operate.
Master vessels are inspected vessels. OUPV 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 and Captain Jack’s Boating School offers the course on the weekend after most scheduled OUPV courses.
Towing Endorsement: This endorsement allows you to tow vessels commercially. If you want to work for Sea Tow or Boat US, or work on a tug, then you should get this endorsement. I have many former students making very good money in the towing industry. Again, most employers in the industry are looking for Masters with a Towing Endorsement.
This is a 4-hour class and is offered by Captain Jack’s Boating School in conjunction with your OUPV course.
I always suggest to students that they get the biggest license they can right out of the gate. You only pay one fee for your application to the USCG. If you add endorsements later, you will need to go through the application process and pay the fees again. Do it now! You are in the learning mode… keep going… get your OUPV, Masters upgrade, and Towing endorsement all at the same time.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You must be at least 19 years old and a U.S. Citizen to qualify for a Masters Upgrade.
CAPTAIN JACK’S CAPTAINS COURSE
Masters Course $400.00
Towing Course $200.00