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14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking at the requirements to get a 6 pack licence the other day. You have to spend 360 "days" operating a small vessel and 90 of those "days" has to be in "near coastal water" beyond the boundary line.

So, what's the definition of near coastal water? I take it the boundary line the are referring to is the 3 mile limit?

Hears the link.


3,855 Posts

that's a good question.

Basically near coastal definition is: Near coastal means ocean waters not more than 200 miles offshore

The 3 miles is the State boundry and also EEZ zone for state inshore fishing limits for recreational fishing. Different rules apply (not not always necessarily) to the second EEZ zone Federal limit area. It's not the definition of offshore/nearshore/coastal though....

Near Coastal in the definition from USCG and general liscensing Title 46: Shipping
PART 10—LICENSING OF MARITIME PERSONNEL, Sub Part A, 10.103 Definitions of terms used in this part.
put's you inside 200 miles from shore.

Now for us simple folks,,, we come up with our own definitions of near shore or coastal areas. I'd tell ya near shore would be anything with in sight of land, I.e. out to 9-10 miles... anything past that I would consider offshore. Coastal in my own little personnal definition would be anything to include inland waterway (ICW) and nearshore areas within sight of land. If you cant see land,,, yer offshore. :)

But for us piddly recreational guys... most seasoned high seas folks would scoff at my definitions as in their view anything over the ledge (Continental ledge(s)) is consider the Coastal/near shore area that transitions to Offshore areas.

Hope that helps ya or confuses ya one! :eek:

And remember, for 360 days of operation, that requirement can be filled with 3 years of operation, it's not a consecutive thing... but man wouldnt it be nice to spend 360 days a year on the water!! :)
let me find the USCG documentation sheet for you.. here's a link to the Sea Service Form that you will use to document your operation hours (remember one day is 4 hours or more):'Sea%20Service%20Form'

And one last thing, if you meet all the requirements, get your capt's license, and start charging folks, you'll have to also get a state permit for operation of business and probably have to apply for a business tax ID # as well to report income. If applying for a bank loan to start up a charter service/business.. you have to write/draw up a Business Plan to show how you plan to repay back any debt borrowed and to show the "bank" capability to generate income thru the business plan. If you just walk in and ask for a small business loan and dont have a business plan,,, you probably wont be considered. There's other ways to generate money for a start up business... usually family, or even small business federal grant program.

The USCG "Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels" License allows the holder to Captain uninspected vessels up to 100 gross tons (about 75-90 feet long). Most pleasure vessels are in the uninspected vessel category due to the materials and method of construction. As such, these vessels are limited to 6 paying passengers plus crew - hence the term "6-pak". The OUPV License is issued in two forms:
OUPV Inland License - Requires at least 360 days experience in the operation of vessels. 90 of the 360 days must be in the last 3 years. Experience gained prior to the age of 13 will not be counted. Half of the required service must be acquired since the age of 16.
This license is good on vessels to 100 gross tons.
This license is restricted to operation within the Boundary Lines ( as described in the USCG application package) excluding the Great Lakes. This license is good on uninspected vessels to 100 gross tons.
This license can be upgraded to a OUPV Near Coastal once you have achieved 90 days experience outside the Boundary Lines.
OUPV Near Coastal - This license also requires at least 360 days experience in the operation of vessels, 90 of which must be gained outside the Boundary Lines.
90 of the 360 days must be in the last 3 years. Experience gained prior to the age of 13 will not be counted. Half of the required service must be acquired since the age of 16. This license is good on vessels to 100 gross tons and out to 100 nautical miles. NOTE: Experience can be counted on your own vessel. A letter and proof of ownership are required. Experience on other persons' vessels can also be counted however, a letter from the owner must accompany the application verifying experience claimed and vessel details.
What are the USCG 6-Pak requirements?
The primary requirements for a Coast Guard Application are:​
  • Application Form - Complete required sections for an original license. Three character references must be included. Application valid for one year from receipt.​
  • Physical Exam Form - must be completely filled out. An incomplete form will delay your application. Not meeting a vision, hearing, or general physical condition requirements does not automatically disqualify the applicant.​
  • Drug Test - All applicants must be certified "Drug Free" by:
    - having a physician submit a completed Drug Free form after a SAMHSA approved drug test or
    - submitting a letter stating the applicant is currently enrolled in a Coast Guard required random drug testing program.​
  • Sea Service Form - You must tabulate your experience in operating your own vessels on the the Sea Service Form. If necessary use added copies to account for service on more than four vessels. One day of service consists of a minimum of four hours underway, not at the dock. You can claim only one day in a 24 hour day.
  • Documentation of Sea Service - If sea time is documented on your own vessel, use state registration, documentation certificate, bill of sale, or insurance papers. Service on vessels not owned by you must be supported by letters in the form of the supplemental Small Boat Experience Letter.
  • Proof of Age and Citizenship - Must be verified by one of the following:
    - Birth Certificate (original or certified copy)
    -Passport (original or certified copy)
    -Baptismal Certificate (issued within a year of birth)
    -Certificate of Naturalization (original only)
    -Proper documentation for name change
  • Proof of Social Security Number - You must submit an original or duplicate, not a copy.
  • CPR / First Aid Card(s) - A certificate dated within 12 months of your application date from one of the following courses:
    -American Red Cross
    -American Heart Association
    -Coast Guard Approved Course
  • Certificate of Completion from an approved class....or take the USCG exam!
Other Cost Involved
For-Hire Licensing Requirements
1) A small, medium, or large state vessel license (dependent on the number of passengers that you would want to carry). This will cover the passengers on your vessel from having to purchase a recreational fishing license.
Small Vessel License - for any vessel carrying 4 or fewer customers - $201.50
Medium Vessel License - for any vessel carrying 10 or less customers - $401.50
Large Vessel License - for any vessel carrying more than10 customers - $801.50
2) You must register your boat as a commercial vessel. This documentation will be required in order to obtain a state vessel license.
3) The county you are doing business in may require you to have an occupational license.
4) The Coast Guard requires a Captain's License for all operators of for-hire vessels. You can call 1-800-982-9374 for information on the Coast Guard Captain's license. This documentation will be required in order to obtain a state vessel license.
5) If you are operating a for-hire vessel in a Park or a Refuge, you may be required to have additional permits (example: Everglades National Park). Please check with the local Park or Refuge headquarters for any specific permitting requirements for those areas.
6) If you are operating a for-hire vessel in federal waters (outside of 9 nautical miles on the Gulf and 3 nautical miles on the Atlantic), some species do require a federal charter vessel/headboat permit in order to fish for them. Contact the National Marine Fisheries Service, Licensing and Permitting office at (727) 570-5326 for information on federal charter/headboat permits.
Numbers 1 - 3 can be taken care of at your local tax collectors office.

3,855 Posts
For the OUPV Near Coastal -- Anything out past the 3 mile state boundry line (Atlantic Ocean) would fill the requirement
Anything over 9 Miles (gulf of Mexico) would fill the requirement

You dont need the above if you are going for the Inland OUPV, but can fullfill that requirement later and upgrade the license from inland to Near Coastal

14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the help. I've printed off 10 the Sea Service Logs and put them in a note book.

How strict are they about keeping different logs for each boat? My ship (Sea Scout's equivalent of Boy Scout's troop) has 3 Identical Hobbie Cats. Can I keep one log for those three boats? Keeping different logs for those would be a big pain in the rear.

Also, you have to get the owner of the boat to verify your hours.....should I get my skipper (Sea Scout's equivalent of Boy scout's scoutmaster) to do this for the ships boats?

This weekend we're going out sailing....we're bringing two of the cats, a Sun Fish, and the Minger(sp?). It should be fun and hopefully I'll log a few days.


60 Posts
if you are applying for your license and you have to have 360 days of experience,how do you account for the 360,by log. what if you have the 360 days on your own boat but didnt log. start freash with logs ?or is there another to know. thanks. got to run, catbird.........
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