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Looking to start a career in the maritime industry and do not know where to start or what is needed? You need to decide what type of job or career you desire.  There are opportunities that do not require a United States Coast Guard (USCG) issued Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) also referred to as captain's license.  Being part of a crew, galley mate, or any secondary assisting positions do not require a credential but will allow you to accumulate sea time.  Being a captain in charge of a vessel does require a USCG MMC, especially if you will be taking out paying passengers.  There are times when an employer will require a USCG MMC for certain positions.

The key component that will help you decide which avenue is right for you is documented sea time.  A documented sea day is a minimum of 4 hours on the water in some capacity of operating the vessel of 16 feet or greater from the age of 16 years old.  There are many levels of licenses but let us focus on the basic ones and their requirements.  OUPV NC (Operator of an Uninspected Passenger Vessel Near Coastal less than 100 GRT), also known as the six-pack license, and the Master NC of less than 100 GRT (Gross Registered Tons).

The OUPV NC allows you to take up to 6 passengers 100 miles off US waters in any vessel up to 100 GRT.  The OUPV NC sea time requirement is 360 documented sea days with 90 days in the last 3 years and 90 days of the 360 days Near Coastal (not more than 100 miles offshore from the US and its possessions).  The minimum age is 18 years old.  If you are not a US citizen, then you must hold a Permanent Resident Alien card (Green Card).  There are four exams you must pass for the OUPV NC credential:

  • Rules of the Road
  • Deck General/Safety
  • Navigation General:  Near Coastal
  • Navigation Problems:  Chart Plotting

Chapman School of Seamanship offers a license prep and test class for OUPV NC  less than 100 GRT which is eight-days (64 hours) and USCG approved.

Once the exams are passed, you have 365 days to submit your application to the USCG for your Merchant Mariner Credential before they expire.  A completed, signed, and notarized application must be completed along with a medical, physical and drug test.  You must also obtain a TWIC card (Transportation Workers Identification Credential) and Adult First Aid/CPR.  These also go with the application and your certificates to the USCG for review for the issuance of a Merchant Mariner Credential (NMC).  Once you receive your NMC, it is valid for five years.

The Master NC of less 100 GRT allows you to command an inspected vessel with more than 6 passengers 200 miles off any international shore and is issued in 25, 50 and 100 GRT capacities.  The tonnage issuance granted is dependent upon the vessel tonnage submitted on your sea service form.  Sea service requirements for the Master NC is 760 days with 90 within the last 3 years and 360 of the 760 near coastal.  Minimum age is 19 years old, and you must be a US citizen.  The exams consist of the same exams for taken for the OUPV NC with an additional Navigation and Deck General Safety exam.  Just like the OUPV NC, the same certificates, application deadlines and necessary documents apply.

Chapman School of Seamanship offers a prep and test course for the Master/Mate NC of less than 100 GRT that is 11 days (88 hours) and USCG approved.   

Chapman School of Seamanship also offers a Package Review Service for assistance with lodging your original or renewal applications.  The fee varies depending on the complexity of the application.  The basic fee starts at $125.00. We will review all your documents and paperwork then submit the application electronically for you.

You may want more than just a Merchant Mariner Crenditial.  Chapman School of Seamanship can provide you with the credentials, knowledge, and experience whether you have a lot of sea time or none.  We offer Professional Mariner Training (PMT) and Mariner Training (MT) Programs.  The only difference between the programs is the last two weeks of PMT are the license training prep and test course previously mentioned.  These full immersion programs can provide you with numerous USCG and other certifications such as:

  • STCW VI/1 Basic Training (USCG)
  • STCW VI/6 Maritime Security Awareness (USCG)
  • FCC Marine Operator’s Permit (FCC)
  • NASBLA Safe Boater’s Certification (National Association of State Boating Administrators)
  • Sea time (approximately 21 days) for all the boat handling components of the program

The PMT program adds these certifications:

  • OUPV less than 100 GRT
  • Upgrade from OUPV to Master not more than 100 GRT
  • Commercial Assistance Towing Endorsement
  • Auxiliary Sail Endorsement

Should you not have sufficient sea time, the Mariner Training Program is a perfect fit.  It will give you the skills to get a job to earn the needed sea time for a USCG MMC.  Once you have the sea time that  is required, you may come back and take the last two weeks of any scheduled PMT class for the license training prep and test portion.  Once you pass the exams, you will then also graduate from PMT as well.

With the PMT and MT programs, job search assistance is available to its graduates.  We will help you prepare for a job interview and help with resume writing.  Chapman School of Seamanship is well known in the maritime industry and many companies, agencies, charter captains, etc. contact us for our graduates for potential job opportunities.  We contact and share these opportunities with our graduates.

There are many options to pursue your dreams with a successful career in the maritime industry or for becoming a boat captain.  It is a building block industry.  Find where your beginning should be and build from there.  Chapman School of Seamanship will be beside you as you build your success.


           Stuart Sailfish Club
This picture represents the different service members of the military who may have been exposed to asbestos during their time of service.
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