|Charter Boat and Fishing Guide Captain Information
Fishing guides and charter boat captains operate small passenger
vessels on inland or near coastal ocean waters. With only a few
exceptions all vessel operators carrying passengers for hire are
required to hold a professional captains license as either OUPV or
- A passenger for hire is any passenger that has paid or
contributed something of value as a condition for being a
passenger on the boat.
- The exception to this rule is drift-boats operators (without a motor
of any kind or size) are not required to hold USCG credentials.
The captain of charter boats carrying more than 6 passengers must
hold a license as master with an appropriate tonnage limitation for the
In addition to holding a professional captain license you may also have
to register with the state you are going to operate in as a fishing guide.
- Oregon Fishing Guides must register with the Oregon State
Marine Board (OSMB) as a guide and outfitter.
- Washington Fishing Guides must register with the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as a guide.
- Alaska Fishing Guides must register with the Alaska
Department of Fish and Wildlife (ADFW) as a guide.
The Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) captain license
issues the authority to operate a small (less than about 65 feet) power-
driven vessel carrying 6 or fewer passengers for hire, not counting the
operator or crew. It is sometimes called the "6-pack license" because of
its limitation to 6 passengers. This is the most common captain license
held by fishing guides and the operators of small charter boats.
OUPV Professional Requirements (46 CFR 11.467)
The OUPV License is issued with either an inland or near coastal route.
- An Inland Route authorizes authority over all federally navigable
inland waters of the United States, including the waters of Puget
Sound, Strait of Juan De Fuca, the Inside Passage through British
Columbia, and SE Alaska. The sea service requirements for an
OUPV Inland is 360 days in the operation of vessels.
- A Near Coastal Route includes all Inland waters of the US and
ocean waters within 100 miles offshore. The sea service
requirements for an OUPV Near Coastal is 360 days of
experience in the operation of vessels that includes 90 days on
near coastal waters (over the bar past the ends of the jetties).
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