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What Is a Charter Boat Captain and How to Become One

What Does a Charter Boat Captain Do?

As a charter boat captain, your job is to take passengers on tours to their requested destination. This may involve travel along lakes, a river, or the ocean. Some guests are there solely to sightsee, while others plan to go fishing, participate in water sports, or even learn more about operating boats. Trips that focus on adults usually have some food and entertainment aboard, while trips with children usually leave the alcohol behind. Some charter boat captains are independent operators, while others work exclusively for a single company. Even if you plan to eventually operate your own commercial boat, working for a charter company is a great way to get started.

How to Become a Charter Boat Captain

The primary qualifications for becoming a charter boat captain are a USCG captain's license and familiarity with the local waterways, including sea life and potential hazards. Many charter boat captains have the Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV) license, which is colloquially known as the 6-pack because it has a six-passenger limit. If you expect to carry more than six passengers, you need the master license instead. Getting this license usually requires 360 days of experience and the completion of a physical, a drug test, and CPR/first aid training. Fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a charter boat captain requires leadership skills, communication skills, decisiveness, and the ability to entertain guests.