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The OUPV license lets you take 6 passengers for-hire plus crew on your vessel thus the nick name 6-pack. If you want to carry more passengers, you need a Masters license to operate an inspected vessel.

The USCG website provides the detailed requirements for each license. Here are the minimum items for OUPV:
  • 18 years old
  • Good health 
  • Speak English
  • Have required sea service - 360 days since age 15. Proof of sea time is required.

Your sea service determines the waters covered by the license. Normally it is issued for inland waters. You need 90 days of sea service in the last three years to work on Inland or Near Coastal areas.

License Rejection - There are a few items that will exclude you from getting a license. One is being a convicted felon or having a drug related conviction. If these are a concern, we suggest you contact the R.E.C. first to see if they will permit you to get a license.Time constraints may hinder aquiring a license.

A second item is color blindness. There are several different approved tests which you may be able to pass if you have a mild case of color blindness. The physical exam form list them.

Why take our course versus going to the Regional Examination Center? Good question. The REC charges an examination fee of only $95, plus other licensing issuing fees, which you pay no matter where you take the exam. However, the REC's select from a pool of 22,000 questions, many of which can be challenging and ambiguous. Private school develops their own questions for USCG approval. Our student's Guide test questions are easy to understand, yet test the knowledge required.

With a  USCG approved OUPV Course, all testing fees are included. In addition, you receive detailed instruction on the required topics to make you a responsible and safe U.S.C.G. Licensed Captain. That knowledge makes taking the exams much easier.

     As the Master of the vessel you are responsible for everything because you know better. You were trained on the laws and safety issues. Just passing the exam does not mean you are a responsible and safe U.S.C.G. Licensed Captain. We take the time to teach you what is needed, not just to pass the exam. We have hands-on tools to add to the real feel of the sea.

The USCG approval requires the instructor to provide a teaching syllabus of each lesson, a course outline, and course schedule. We include ours in the front of our student manual. You know exactly what is required to be taught.

Course Fee is $850 which includes all course materials, instruction, charts, 250+ page student manual, four exams, and Certificate of Completion. No traveling to the Regional Exam Center for U.S.C.G. exams. No add-on costs.

If our course schedule is not convenient, arrange your own group and call us at  1-956-639-8697 a we will personally set up a temporary school site for your group of 6 or more.

Examination and Assessment


Written examinations will be administered for each subject area at the completion of each subject area.  All exams use multiple choice answer format.  Multiple choice questions are selected from the Coast Guard question bank. Each test will be revised annually.  Grading procedures are provided below and are in compliance with Coast Guard examination requirements. 



The first test which is called Navigational Rules requires a grade of 90 or above.
The next test is called General Navigation and requires a 70 or above to pass.
The third test is chart plotting and requires a 70 as well.
The final test is Deck General which requires a 70 or above covers everything else like marlinspike, sea rescue, fires and fire extinguishers etc.

Practical Demonstrations.  While there are a number of practical demonstrations and exercises, none are required for successful completion of the course.  Practical demonstrations and exercises are provided only to assist the student in understanding the material presented.


Determination of final grade.  The number of correct answers will be multiplied by the point value listed above to arrive at a score.  The passing score for each subject area is listed above and is the minimum score required to successfully complete the course.


Re-test procedures.  Following necessary remediation, the student will be offered the opportunity to re-test each of the four subject areas once.  If the student fails any of the re-tested subject areas, a completion certificate will not be awarded, but the student will be offered the opportunity to sit through the failed subject area(s) at a future scheduled class at no additional cost, provided the total number of students in any class does not exceed that approved by the Coast Guard.  If this option is chosen and the subject area subsequently passed, the results will be combined and a completion certificate awarded.


Course Evaluation.  Student course evaluations must be given to all students to evaluate the instructors and the course.  A copy of the student course evaluation form is provided below.  The course evaluation form is used to determine if adjustments in training are necessary.  Course evaluation forms must be retained for year following course completion.

1) Completed application. There are six sections of the form which must be completed, signed and dated.

a. Sec I Personal Data - standardize things. Make sure you keep consistent with your name. If it is William on all your documents, do not use Bill on the application. Same with a middle initial. Stay consistent.

b. Sec II Type of Transaction - Assuming this your first license, you would check license and original. If you are adding any endorsements such as Great Lakes, Assistance Towing, Near Coastal, then also check the endorsement box.

Next you need to fill out the "Applying for:" Here you need to write "Operator of uninspected passenger vessel (restricted scope for Western Rivers or limited scope if these apply) for ("Inland, Great Lakes, or Near Coastal" pick the highest one based on sea service) ("and assistance towing endorsement" again if applicable)

Finally in the "State Current...." box describe any current or previous USCG licenses you may have or let expire.

c. Sec III Narcotics, DWI/DUI, and Conviction Record - you need to be honest and a written explanation on a blank paper is required.

d. Sec VI Character References - they with prefer Captains for these, however persons with knowledge of seamanship is acceptable.

e. Sec V Mariner's Consent - you will be asked to consent to a National Drivers Registry check.

f. Sec VI Certification and OathAt the top of page, an oath must be taken at a REC or MSO office nearest to you.

3) Proof of Citizenship is required. It can be a birth certificate or pass port.

4) Social Security Card. . You must have a valid s.s. card.

5) Finger Print Cards need to be done by REC staff or at one of the designated sites. Call the REC in your area to get a list of these sites.

6) First Aid and CPR with in one year. This must be either American Red Cross or American Heart issued card. If there are enough students needing the training, we can have an instructor come in one of the nights to give the class.

7) Three character references. These are a simple letter attesting you the fact you would make a good "captain". Friends, family, or coworkers.

8) Physical exam with hearing and eye test - If your doctor can not preform all the needed test such as hearing, vision or color, you will need to get a letter from those practitioners to indicate your eye's or hearing are acceptable.


9) SAMSHA Drug test or enrollment in drug testing program. First the test must be done by a SAMSHA approved lab.The one we use is VALLEY DAY AND NIGHT CLINIC in Brownsville. It is $50 cash. Their # is(956)982-1001   Drug test instructions; USCG Drug Information Help Page

10) Certificate of Completion (with one year). We will issue you a certificate at the end of the class provided you pass the exam(s). This signed document is good for one year from the date of issuance. If you do not use it, within the year, you need to take the class over again. We cannot re-issue it.

11) Sea Service forms - You can write a book on completing this form. First, you need to know just how much time you need on the water for your license. For an OUPV it is 360 days since age 15. For a limited OUPV it is a minimum of 90 days of the geographic specific waters.

You complete a form(s) for each boat. Use can use more than one form per boat if you have more then 5 years to record. If you own the boat, you need to show proof of ownership. If you sold it and did not keep any papers on the boat, you may need to go to the agency who registers boats and request a printout of your registration information. If you worked on someone else boat, they simple need to sign the form certifying you did complete the days claimed.

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