View Full Version : How to get a 6-pack licence?
03-25-2008, 07:05 PM
I will be fifteen next Tuesday and was wondering how I could get a 6-pack license. I read somewhere on the internet that you have to be at least 21 but you can start logging hours at age 15. I also read that you have to record 360 days on the water with 4 hours constituting a day. Is this true? How should I record the hours? Are there any special forms that I need to fill out before I start recording?
03-25-2008, 07:20 PM
If you have your own boat, you can record your own hours. If it is not your boat then the owner/captain has to vouch for your hours in written form. You have to log where and when you sail. One of your best bets would be to spend some time working on a commercial vessel. For example, working on the Maine windjammers counts as time and a half. A typical summer will get you 120 days underway, but the CG will likely give you 180 days for that time considering the nature of the work - but that is up to the examining officer. As for the exam you can either self-study and apply to sit the exam at a CG examination office, or you can take one of the many courses and their exams are accepted by the CG. Good Luck.
03-25-2008, 07:31 PM
I'm pretty sure that the age is still 18, which it was when I first got mine lo these many years ago.
Ya know, google is not that far away and you should seek this out yourself.
Logging time matters. Keep it in a composition book(s) rather than looseleaf. Just put down date, vessel, start time, any remarks, others aboard if any (get them to sign if you can) and like that. Remarks might be that it was a routine run out to where ever and back, add a bit about the weather, or might be your piloting log, or a mix, piloting log being for days when it was interesting enough to do any chart work, and more discursive when more routine romp. Main thing is, write and write and write.
Get used to the two reactions masters have to almost anything: a glance at your watch and then a remark in the log.
As you get closer, buy one of the study guides if you're a self-starter or take a class if you have the bucks. Flash cards help and focus focus focus on the COLREGS. The other thing (here's why I mentioned starting your own research like google) is learn how to look stuff up in the CFR. It's part of the test.
G'luck. Hope in three years to elevate you from "Skippah" to "Captain."
03-26-2008, 12:27 AM
you are able to get your license at 18. I wouldnt worry about how to log your hours...once you have enough, you'll know the right people to help you with that. 360 days at sea is a lot more than you think...
My advice to you is get on the water as much as you can and put a little more effort into your research when you turn 18.
03-26-2008, 02:39 AM
I've been talking about this with Captains I know lately. From what I've gathered, all time after 16 counts for sure, before 16 is at the discretion of the officer reviewing your application. I believe that means I've got nearly all I need from school and summer trips. Its all in the boats logbooks, I just need to get myself a copy.
Anyway, I'm planning to go to PMI for the workboat mate program. (http://www.mates.org/programs/matetons/index.html)
Two years and a 1600 ton license, with paid tuition and you're already setup with a job from the day you start. Not to mention paid time at sea. I'm really looking forward to it.
03-26-2008, 04:27 AM
and if you intend to go offshore, start learning the basics of navigation....some of the simple stuff...I sailed around the world with nothing more than noon sights my first time...you can learn to do it in an hour or so.....and from there everything else will seem easy....learn the rules and regs so that you will know them when they change them again....get some nautical almanacs....they publish them every year but I'm ornery and rather cheap sometimes.....get four annual issues in consecutive order...they repeat every four years...
03-26-2008, 08:27 AM
Logging your days underway does not have to be that detailed. I just presented the CG with another 400+ days and they just wanted to know - on their application form - how many days, what month, what year, what boat, what tonnage, and how many hours on a typical day underway. They are not interested in reading too much detail. But if you were to be challenged on the days you claim, then a detailed log of your own would help.
03-26-2008, 11:09 PM
LICENSE!?!? Hell, I guess without one, I'm limited to quart bottles or kegs. Hmph!
03-27-2008, 12:57 AM
Ummm, start buying boxes of Cracker Jacks... That's where I got my driver license..:D
Honestly, I never heard of 6-pack license before..
03-27-2008, 03:03 AM
Limited Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels up to Six Passengers.
03-27-2008, 06:08 AM
Honestly, I never heard of 6-pack license before..
That would be one of these friend...
03-27-2008, 10:46 AM
Just out of curiosity here.....is there a specific requirement for, say, the minimium size of the boat you log sea time in? For instance, could one log a day of sea time (6 hours underway, right?) in a 20' skiff?
BrianW's post brings up another question....I see on the CG site that you can get an "inland only" lic., but BrianW has both inland and near coastal privledges. If you do the seaward of the boundry line sea time, do you automatically get both endorsements?
Sorry if the above isn't as clear as it could be. No coffee yet...
Interesting fact....seems that the number of captain applicants has doubled every year for the last 10 years.
03-27-2008, 11:41 AM
That would be one of these friend...
So that what it is.... Thank Brian..
03-27-2008, 09:01 PM
I would recommend anyone seeking a license to go to one of the schools. I used SeaSchool and would do it again. At approx 400 bucks it's a bargain. They not only help you prepare for the written tests, but they also guide you through the paperwork, (very important) the fingerprinting, the physical exam and the drug-testing. Even if you're very experienced, it's easy to flunk the tests. Many questions are tricky, and you have to give "the Coast Guard answer", which is not necessarily the best answer. I would not have passed were it not for the schooling.
Since 911, the Coast Guard has been over-worked with multiple responsibilities - terrorism, immigration, drugs, SAR, port security, navigation aids, etc, etc. They have little time for 6-pack stuff. My last renewal for my Masters license sat on some over-worked clerks desk for 6 months! If I had had ANY little thing wrong with my paperwork it would have been sent back and taken another 6 months. Fortunately, because I was a SeaSchool grad, SeaSchool will check my paperwork (free of charge) before submission. Their service is worth every penny.
03-27-2008, 09:52 PM
yup! and way back when...the only questions I missed on my test were in the "auxiliary sail" part, which should have been the easiest for me.....but I will admit, either the way it was worded or the the specific language, some questions really didn't make sense at the time....and then when they changed the rules, I had to go back and retake the test....
03-27-2008, 10:11 PM
Learn what you can from the experienced sailors you work with. You'll find some have years of experience and others have been repeating the first year over and over.... The exams sometimes have poorly worded questions but the material isn't overly difficult to learn and well worth knowing (could be read as essential in many cases). Self study is a valid option if you're prepared to prepare for each exam. Also as a note, the collision regs as presented on the USCG website are far more clear than the presentation here in Canada. I frequently find myself using american documents to prepare for Canadain STCW exams. Plenty of good resources out there for self study anyhow. Best of luck.
03-28-2008, 08:31 AM
I saw mention of boat size, and..hours reported and size of vessels usually forms a basis for the CG to decide what 'tonnage' license you are given after passing the test. When we started down the road giving hours to trainees, we discovered that factoid. Some thought they would get a 'six pack' license, but after testing, recieved a 100 ton license, as our net is 46 tons, and they want to leave you room for upgrades. Therefore, a six, 50 ton, etc. wouldn't have left much room before the person would want to upgrade. (all relative to our tonnage) We've had four with enough knowledge and sea time receive their 100 ton Masters. About 'schooling'. It seems almost impossible to fathom taking the test and passing while trying to lead a normal life. Hole up, study only for the CG, pass the exam, then return to normal life. There is too much memorization to try and tackle for the average person. My .02 cents worth
04-13-2008, 08:13 PM
The 2 principal areas to prepare for are (1) Rules of the Road and (2) Chartwork/plotting. You can memorize all the rules of the road material on your own without assistance. I thought I was good at plotting until I took the Sea School course. I found that my skills were way short of what was required to pass the exam. The plotting questions require a high level of precision, and many applicants fail.
I think the biggest benefit of taking the school is that they teach you the right way to complete the paperwork, and other related problems - physical exams, fingerprinting, affidavits, etc. Miami USCG will not except any documents or applications that are not done to perfection.
James River Rat
04-14-2008, 07:23 AM
I got one when I was 18.
I can help you out.
A USCG launch drivers license might be more viable. More passengers and commercially more sellable.
Look into STCW and stuff. The USCG is becoming more and more arcane from a global perspective (and "yes" I have one)
04-14-2008, 08:23 AM
I don't really want to step on toes here but if you intend to work on Foreign flagged vessels or in other parts of the world then I would stongly recommend you do an MCA course as opposed to the USCG course. The british MCA is more widely recognized in this aspect.
If your an american citizen and you go to IYT in Ft. Lauderdale (www.yachtmaster.com) you can get both your MCA and USCG 200 tonne commercial ticket for 6 weeks in the classroom at about $4000. This is nice as it gives you both tickets for recognition in both your home country and offshore.
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