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Should YOU Get Your Captains License?

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On: Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 1:12PM | By: Florida Marine Times

This discussion is about the U.S Coast Guard-approved certification that allows you to take passengers in your vessel for hire. Its official name is... the O. U. P. V. (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel), once called the “Six Pack” which allows you to take up to six persons for hire.

Now, the Questionnaire:
• You read Florida Marine Times and various other marine publications and became envious of the charter Captains who frequent the fishing reports and articles? Y / N

• You are an active boater and fisherman? Y / N

• People are impressed by your knowledge of the local waters and fishing success? Y / N

• You have an outgoing personality that people are attracted to? Y / N

• You feel the lure of the salt life beckoning you to her bosom? Well don’t you? Y/ N

• You enjoy taking people out on your boat, fishing and/or sightseeing? Y / N

• You want to feel more confident or capable while you are out on the water for your own safety and enjoyment purposes? Y / N

• You want out of the rat race! A life on the water appeals to you and you are seeking to make a go of it as a Charter Boat Captain? Y / N

• You could take Charters out on a part time basis… it does not have to be a means of supporting yourself? N / Y

• You are retired and bored, looking for something that gets you out of bed in the morning? Y / N

• You have always wanted to wear one of those white Captain’s hats like Thurston Howell the Third wore on Gilligan’s Island? Y / N

If you have answered yes to any of these, then you, my friend, ARE a candidate to pursue this designation!

However, there is a test, and the thing I would like to emphasize most to you is that this test has changed people! You will need to study; even then there is a very slim chance that you could learn all of the information necessary to pass this test, and then work through all of the formalities that the U.S. Coast Guard requires without the help of professionals.

Take my case: I received my Captains license in 1976 and worked charter fishing boats and tournaments on Florida’s east coast and beyond for ten years. Eventually my career as a fisherman ended, and I forgot to renew my license as required.

Earlier this year, at age 59, I decided to get back into charter fishing in the Naples/Marco area, and this is how I was introduced to the fine people at The Captain School and the world of professional OUPV instruction!

If you were to attempt to prepare for this test on your own you would take the it from the U. S. Coast Guard in Miami from a test bank of over 6000 questions and, believe me, they can be ambiguous! The Captain School not only offered the U.S. Coast Guard-approved course but provided the test to you right in the same classroom from a test bank of 300 questions; do the math, people! Even for those like myself who are challenged by calculative type scenarios, as in the chart plotting questions, it becomes a doable test!

But! There are many other Coast Guard requirements that must be met: You will need an approved physical by an M.D., a First Aid/CPR certification, a 5-DOT drug screen testing panel, Transportation Workers Identification Credentials, your Merchant Mariner Oath notarized, Sea Service forms documenting your required Sea time on the water must be completed, and so on. All of these are provided by OUPV enrollment along with their expertise, you are walked through it all the way. It is just not something you can do on your own anymore!

The U.S. Coast Guard has stringent regulations and no tolerance for the unqualified or the unprepared. If you are missing even a minute piece of information in the documents that you are personally required to present to them at a precise appointment time in their Miami headquarters, you will be sent back to the end of a line, and that may take as much as a month to reschedule!

So, yes! The study, the testing, and the documentation are intense and difficult, even with OUPV instructors helping, but they make it very attainable.

Here's a list of some of the schools that can help:
• Adams Marine Seminars 1-877-447-1950

• Atlantis Maritime Academy, Inc. 1-856-740-2278

• The Captain School 1-877-435-3187

• Quality Maritime Training 1-800-581-5509

• Sea School 1-800-237-8663

• 3B's Captains School 1-888-598-9598

Until next time, cheers!


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