Q:  Why should I get my license?

A:  Your license identifies you as a professional mariner and certifies you at a professional skill and responsibility level.  With your license you can be employed as an operator or master subject to the limits of the license, and carry passengers for hire.  For a private boat owner, being licensed may result in lower insurance rates.

Q:  What do I need to get my license?

A:  The Coast Guard has several requirements, which must be met before they will issue you a license.  Completing the training and testing at The License School will waive the $100 testing fee you would pay at the Regional Exam Center (REC).  The various licenses addressed by The License School's courses require various amounts of SEA time, which you must document for the Coast Guard.  The following are Coast Guard requirements, for which you will be responsible.  The License School Staff can assist you with meeting many of them.

  • License application form
  • Drug test for a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) approved lab.
  • Sea service form and documentation in reference to sea time
  • First Aid card (*)
  • CPR certification (*)
  • Proof of age and citizenship
  • Proof of social security number
  • Physical exam
  • Payment of evaluation and issuance fees to the Coast Guard at the REC when you apply for your license
  • Three letters of recommendation
    (*) The License School can schedule you for these classes at the Department of Continuing Education.

Q:  Does the License School at California Maritime Academy Extended Learning award me the license after I complete the course?

A: The License School conducts the training and administers the examinations.  Upon successful completion you receive a certificate, which you then present to the Coast Guard in lieu of testing at the Regional Exam Center (REC).  The Coast Guard will then issue your license.  This certificate is valid for one year from the date of issue by The License School.

Q: How long is the course?

A:  The OUPV course is 60 classroom hours.  The 100 Ton and 200 Ton Upgrades are 3 calendar days each.  The Auxiliary Sail and Towing Assistance modules are 4 hours each and are usually held on the same day.  Classes are held 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Please see class schedule for specific dates.

Q: What is required of me as a student?

A:  You are required to show government issued photo identification (i.e., diver's license, passport, TWIC-card) on the first day of the course.  The License School courses and tests are Coast Guard approved, and are offered only in English. You will also need some math skills, including knowledge of basic Algebra along with some knowledge of vectors and percentages, as well as use of a calculator.  The License School courses are time and content based therefore, 100% attendance is mandatory.

Q:  Where can I get the forms I need?

A:  The Academy provides forms for students.  Forms may be obtained from the Coast Guard web site at: https://www.uscg.mil/Resources/Library/ or your Regional Exam Center.

Q:  How long does it take to get my license after I submit all the forms to the Coast Guard?

A:  The local Regional Exam Center (REC) has taken up to 7 weeks to complete issuance of licenses; check with you REC at: http://www.uscg.mil/STCW/m-recs.htm

Q:  What could cause the Coast Guard to not issue me a license?

A:  Please consult the regulations at: https://www.uscg.mil/ or your local REC. Federal law restricts issuance of licenses for a variety of reasons.  It has been our experience that very few applicants for lower level (small boat) licenses have been denied them.