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Old 07-30-2014, 10:35 AM   #21
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People often talk about hiring a captain, but what exactly is a "captain"? When I bought my first boat (a 12' folding Porta Bote), the salesman told me I was now a captain (Captain Ron).

Are there any qualifications or regulations pertaining to hiring yourself out as a "captain"?
You need a license if you are doing commercial work (paying passengers) or running a boat like a tow boat for example. You do not necessarily to train some one to run their boat.

There are plenty of people out there with out a captains license that have far more experience handling boats than a lot of people with captains licenses.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:59 AM   #22
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You need a license if you are doing commercial work (paying passengers) or running a boat like a tow boat for example. You do not necessarily to train some one to run their boat.

There are plenty of people out there with out a captains license that have far more experience handling boats than a lot of people with captains licenses.
I was trying to word my question to exclude those activities but I didn't manage to. I'm talking about giving boating lessons, delivering boats or just having people call you captain instead of mister.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:41 AM   #23
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When I started cruising in Edey & Duff sailboats in 1982 I took the USCGA basic course and considered my vessel's builder, Peter Duff, to be a Mentor. Since converting to a Diesel Albin 3 years ago my wife and I have completed two USS&PS courses, and plan to do more of that.

Am also considering a USCG "six pack" Captain's License.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:46 AM   #24
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Am also considering a USCG "six pack" Captain's License.
A little off topic, but I used to teach Master's Licensing Courses (and administer the tests). It always surprised me that people rarely had trouble with memorizing the Rules of the Road (even though you need a 90% score to pass). What they most commonly failed on was the Charting portion of the test (70% required to pass).

Most recreational boaters really do not know how to read and use paper charts (or do a set and drift calculation).

Good Luck with your licensing!
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:02 PM   #25
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One of the many hats I wore at Great Harbour was "Charter Coordinator". First thing I would do when someone expressed interest in a bareboat charter was send out the Charter Contract along with the "Charter Experience Questionnaire". You would be amazed at the (lack of) "experience" people assumed would be qualification enough to bareboat a half-million dollar, 31-ton trawler. And those were the honest ones! Others would just cross everything on the sheet off and scribble in that they had a USCG OUPV License and that should be qualification enough on its own! I always warned people to be truthful as I would be testing their competence when they got to the boat. When they arrived at the boat and got luggage aboard, I would first spend an hour or two familiarizing them on systems, anchoring techniques, and the PROPER way to pick up a mooring and build a bridle. We would then untie and take the boat out of the slip to make a few passes around the harbor, backing, turning, stopping and finally doing some "touch and goes" at the fuel dock. If I felt they were not qualified, they had the choice of either staying at the dock for the duration of the charter or hiring me for training. The ones who were absolutely not qualified had usually scared themselves to death at this point and were happy to have me aboard for training! It was the ones who I felt were maybe BARELY qualified and left on their own with the boat that caused me to lose the most sleep over the course of the week.

ERIC
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:03 PM   #26
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I was trying to word my question to exclude those activities but I didn't manage to. I'm talking about giving boating lessons, delivering boats or just having people call you captain instead of mister.
People can call you a captain just as easily as calling you an a$$hole. No license required for either.

Nor do you need a license to deliver a boat or train some one to run their own boat. Unless your insurance company says otherwise.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:24 PM   #27
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One of the many hats I wore at Great Harbour was "Charter Coordinator". First thing I would do when someone expressed interest in a bareboat charter was send out the Charter Contract along with the "Charter Experience Questionnaire". You would be amazed at the (lack of) "experience" people assumed would be qualification enough to bareboat a half-million dollar, 31-ton trawler. And those were the honest ones! Others would just cross everything on the sheet off and scribble in that they had a USCG OUPV License and that should be qualification enough on its own! I always warned people to be truthful as I would be testing their competence when they got to the boat. When they arrived at the boat and got luggage aboard, I would first spend an hour or two familiarizing them on systems, anchoring techniques, and the PROPER way to pick up a mooring and build a bridle. We would then untie and take the boat out of the slip to make a few passes around the harbor, backing, turning, stopping and finally doing some "touch and goes" at the fuel dock. If I felt they were not qualified, they had the choice of either staying at the dock for the duration of the charter or hiring me for training. The ones who were absolutely not qualified had usually scared themselves to death at this point and were happy to have me aboard for training! It was the ones who I felt were maybe BARELY qualified and left on their own with the boat that caused me to lose the most sleep over the course of the week.

ERIC
Ha, I know the feeling. I managed a charter company for 15 years and still do charter check outs from time to time. Reading the "Experience Questionnaire" was pretty much a waste of time.

While most people were just fine. You just knew the ones who were going to get into trouble when they acted like they knew it all and just didn't want to take the time to listen to anything you were trying to tell them. That and when they were actually arrogant enough to tell you to your face that "they had been boating longer than you have been alive". Those people always got into trouble. Ex-navy officers were just as bad. I had one hit a channel marker in broad daylight. And guess what, is wasn't his fault.

Then there was the guy who ran aground in broad daylight in a very well marked part of the ICW while getting an oral "exam" from his girlfriend!

Or the people who used the slide out Norcold refrigerator shelving grates as a BBQ grill.

Then there was the bareboat charter drug smugglers.

Ah the good old days.

We should write a book!
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:43 PM   #28
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Before my first cruise to Mexico I took navigation and weather courses at Orange Coast College seamanship center in Newport beach. I already had a basic keelboat certification. Everything else I learned in the school of hard knocks. It always seems to be a tradeoff of how much knowledge is enough and how strong is your desire to cut the lines. I've known people who had their skills and boat in bristol condition but needed "one more thing" to go, and others who really should have reconsidered. Now that I have a trawler again, this time with two engines, I'll
probably hire my surveyor to take a ride and share tips on how to handle her.
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:37 PM   #29
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Yeah, the ex-Navy officers. What is it about being a greenhorn Ensign on a Destroyer that qualifies a person to operate a pleasure boat?

However, I really like the idea of using refrigerator shelving as a barbecue...
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:56 PM   #30
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Unless the Navy just takes people off the street and puts them on the bridge...I know in USCG OCS during only 120 days we were taught everything you have in a USCG Licensing up to 100 ton master 10 fold including celestial plus weather, firefighting, damage control, marlinspike, etc..etc....

I got a feeling all but small boat handling, a lot of other pertinent stuff is taught pretty well and so is having your judgment questioned abut 100 times a day.

So what does qualify someone to be a small boat captain?

Which is what this tread was started for anyhow....
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:26 PM   #31
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However, I really like the idea of using refrigerator shelving as a barbecue...
Thank God for damage deposits.

And at least they BBQed on the beach. As opposed to those who would put the BBQ grill right on the teak decks.

As to what qualifies someone to be a small boat "captain"? Nothing really, other than a check book.

Now as to what qualifies someone to be a good small boat "captain"? Experience and practice. And lots of both.

All the paper stuff is meaningless without them.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:30 PM   #32
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Just trial and error for me. Not much available for training courses in these parts.
Oh - I did do a basic dinghy sailing course with the kids. Good family fun.

Mostly, I just try to constantly stretch my comfort zone by taking the boat out in a little rougher water and a little more wind all the time. And I occasionally get out with an old salt who has more sea miles than I will ever have. He is eager to share his experience if I supply the rum.
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:15 PM   #33
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I watched for a long time, helping a buddy who ran a 6 pack dive charter. That's where I first learned to use spring lines.

I learned about close quarters maneuvering in breezes in Ganges harbor (just about 5pm any summer day when the afternoon wind picks up against docks that all run perpendicular to it.

I learned about close quarters maneuvering in strong current in LaConner.

I learned about anchoring just below the scenic overlook from Butchart Gardens in Tod inlet with 50-75 people watching (and one annoyed float plane pilot).

I first learned about gale conditions, vessel placement on the backs of breaking seas and the usefulness of an extra hand on board in the South Rosario Rip.

I read a lot. Everything. Voraciously. But most of what I learned was not in a classroom.

Some of it scared me. Some I'd avoid again whenever possible.

The most important thing I learned somewhere along the way, I don't know exactly where, was an increased ability to judge my own ability against the conditions. That quality, more than any other, has been the one thing that keeps me excited about being able to continue learning. I've seen a lot of people at a lot of different levels of skill. Just having skills was insufficient in safe and successful operation.

I really think the one skill that tops them all is judgement. It's also the hardest one to teach.
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:53 PM   #34
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There is a BIG difference between a licensed captain and a licensed captain who is also a professional teacher. A professional, such as those at the various schools like Chapman's or Sea Sense or Club Nautique (Alameda ca) will have an agenda, a curriculum, a process. Book learning and classroom learning are important, but on the water training is invaluable.

When we got back into "big" boating after 25 years of just renting skiffs for the day (prior big boat was a Tolly 32 twin engine), I took the series of multi-day courses at Club Nautique, the book part mostly based on a US Sailing curriculum for navigation and basic power boat techniques, that allowed us to charter increasingly large boats starting with a 30 ft Mainship single for around the bay up through a Mainship 430 twin for use outside the Gate and up the Delta. This was easily the best money I have ever spent on boating; the courses and teachers were really excellent and comprehensive. I was shocked at what I didn't know; how we got away with scooting around Seattle as care free 20 somethings on that Tolly, even with the USCGA course, is miraculous in retrospect. Subsequently Ann and a friend took a really excellent on the water course from SeaSense in Sarasota, which has programs especially designed for women, which also made a huge difference. This all enabled us to charter ever larger boats in other parts of the country and ultimately buy and cruise our Hatt.

I have also been lucky enough to seek out and find mechanics and other trades who are good teachers as well. I always watched their work, asked questions, determined whether I want to DIY next time or continue to hire a particular job out if I can (sometimes no choice if you are in the middle of nowhere but to DIY hateful jobs).
Having a full manual for every possible piece of equipment on board, including full service manuals for drive trains and generator is an essential adjunct, for going back and reviewing what you were just taught.

Other than that, every trip is a learning experience. I have a natural talent for creating them out of thin air.
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:52 PM   #35
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I am amazed all you guys can get insurance for anything bigger than a trailer boat without having demonstrated history of having piloted something close to the size of your new boat. Every step of my progression beyond 25 feet (including my first twin-screw, in the water, 28 foot boat, and every step from there up to my most recent 55 to 64), I sought quotes from a bunch of insurers and in each case they wanted a boating resume and followed up with detailed questions about my ability to handle that next step up. Some insurers declined (even though I have never had a claim, have good credit, boater safety classes, etc) on the basis that my prior experience with that size boat was too limited.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:05 PM   #36
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Okay, okay, I take back my snarky Navy comment I seem to have a talent for riling people up, so here's another one: I am not sure what typically qualifies someone to skipper a trawler. But whatever it is, it's WAY more than what qualifies someone to aim (notice I didn't say "drive" or "pilot") a South Florida Sea Ray!!!
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:10 PM   #37
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Okay, okay, I take back my snarky Navy comment I seem to have a talent for riling people up, so here's another one: I am not sure what typically qualifies someone to skipper a trawler. But whatever it is, it's WAY more than what qualifies someone to aim (notice I didn't say "drive" or "pilot") a South Florida Sea Ray!!!
Actually it takes way more talent to run a Sea Ray...Higher speeds, more distance covered, more critical fuel and stop planning....

Keep going....I've seen and met plenty of trawler people as clueless as Sea Ray drivers and the only difference is the speed they are clueless at.

Funny...usually the "let's poke fun" types are the worst boaters of all because they don't understand the real issues. So far it's the Navy who defends everyone's right to be clueless and Sea Ray owners for buying into one of America's top boating lines....lets go for door number three.

Back on topic...it's getting cruisers to think beyond being a "little smarter" than the average weekend ICW rumrunner. If you really cruise to remote areas...how are your maintenance and weather guessing skills?...if travelling to really remote or offshore...just how much survival training do you have? Thought through the evolution from saving your boat to abandoning ship? Just what is coming along and how easy/fast is that gonna happen?

Really pass along where you got your training/experience...

Crimping 101 is important too...but we spend more time talking about how to define what a trawler is or what anchor (supposedly) works better than helping one another BE better cruisers.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:16 PM   #38
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I've seen and met plenty of trawler people as clueless as Sea Ray drivers and the only difference is the speed they are clueless at.
Hear hear! Big thumbs up to that. Throw in plenty of "sail" boaters too. Often one and the same at origin though.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:26 PM   #39
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I am amazed all you guys can get insurance for anything bigger than a trailer boat without having demonstrated history of having piloted something close to the size of your new boat. .......
And how would you get that history without owning the boat?

You know you can get car and truck insurance without showing any experience. And what about the owner who won't be actually operating the boat? Private person or corporation. A corporation can own and insure a boat but it can't operate it.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:32 PM   #40
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And how would you get that history without owning the boat?

You know you can get car and truck insurance without showing any experience. And what about the owner who won't be actually operating the boat? Private person or corporation. A corporation can own and insure a boat but it can't operate it.
Like I tried to say -- by starting small and working your way up in order to show experience with something not too much smaller.

As for corporate owners, I bet their policies describe who can and cannot run the boat. Mine does -- if its not me at the helm (or at least on board) then it must be someone approved in advance by the insurer.
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