ArticleThinking about getting your OUPV/SIX-Pack Captain’s License?

Jack Freudenthal

6 min read

The Six-pack captain’s license, also commonly known as the OUPV license, is a certification awarded by the U.S Coast Guard that allows the holder to captain a vessel with up to six paying passengers and crew out on the water. This license is issued in three forms: Inland, Great Lakes & Inland, and Near Coastal.

  • The Inland License allows you to commercially operate on bays, sounds, rivers, and lakes.
  • The Great Lakes & Inland License allows you to operate on both the Great Lakes and Inland waterways.
  • The Near Coastal License permits you to operate on both Inland waterways as well as Near Coastal waters (up to 100 miles offshore).

What are the requirements?

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a minimum of 360 days boating experience. Ninety of these days must have occurred in the last three years. The Coast Guard calls this recency.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or be able to show lawful admittance to the United States for permanent residence if not a citizen.
  • Pass a physical exam and a drug test.
  • Hold a valid adult CPR and Basic First Aid card.
  • Obtain a Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC card), which includes a background check done by Homeland Security.
  • Pass a USCG-approved OUPV/Six-pack course like the one offered by Mariners Learning System.

How can I get my license?

You can use an online course to study for your Six-pack captain’s license but are required to attend a proctored exam in person to complete your license. The Mariners Learning System* suite of USCG-approved courses offers an alternative to having to take time off, drive to a classroom, and sit in a class with an instructor. These courses are structured for those pursuing a professional career in commercial boating operations and for recreational boaters wishing to increase their knowledge. Once you complete the course, you will have to sit a proctored exam at a Mariners Learning System testing center. Mariners Learning System has testing locations all over the country

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