The Truth About Surviving Your Captain’s License Course and Exam: Three Tips


Many boaters and mariners want to earn a Captain’s license. Some do it for the knowledge, some do it for the money, and some do it purely for the love of boating. Wherever you fall, here are three tips to help you be successful in your pursuit:

#1: Pick the right platform

Our Captain’s six-pack course takes about 57 hours to complete, and the Master’s course about 80. Each can be taken either online or in the classroom.

Each requires a significant time commitment, so make sure you choose the platform that works best for you. For example, if you are tech-savvy, enjoy working at your own pace and have solid study skills, our online course is a good option. On the other hand, if you struggle with studying and memorization, you may opt for the classroom course.

No matter which format you choose, success depends on good study habits (about 25 percent) a good instructor and the right program (75 percent). When you choose Confident Captain, three quarters of the equation is already solved. The rest? That’s up to you.

“There is a better way to do it. Find it.” – Thomas Edison

#2 Make sure you have an instructor on whom you can rely

Remember that what you learn in our course doesn’t just prepare you for your Coast Guard exam, but also for the real world. Your safety, and that of others on the water, depends on knowing what to do when situations arise. Key to this is instruction: As in any other pursuit, good instructors don’t just teach; they mentor and apply.

That is where Confident Captain excels. Our instructors know the water. They know the law. They know how to teach and they know how to help apply abstract classroom lessons to real life. Being able to bridge the gap between learning and application is a crucial component of success, no matter your area of pursuit.

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” – John Crosby

#3 Put in the time

Here’s a secret: The Captain’s course is not hard. While there is a lot of information to cover, we work hard to present it in an easy-to-grasp and relatable way and have been honing our approach for 15 years.

While there is some math, most of it can be done with the aid of a calculator. And while memorization is crucial, it becomes easy with repetition and an effective delivery.

If you question your ability to get the work done, don’t – the key is applying yourself. If anyone tells you they struggled through their course or exam, it is most likely because the coursework was not presented properly, the student did not apply him or herself, or the instructor didn’t provide the support the student needed. Our instructors are trained to help students via a systematic, easy-to-understand and well-organized method. They are easy to work with and will help you be the best student you can be.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.- Albert Einstein

The takeaway:

Here at Confident Captain, we have been successfully training mariners for 15 years. Our teaching method takes what can seem like a bottomless sea of material and organizes it into simple, easy to understand sections. Coupled with top-notch instructors, the right format (online or in the classroom) and your own drive, you will have all you need to enter the world of professional boating. Good luck, and see you on the water!

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

8 replies added

  1. Brian Terry May 20, 2018 Reply

    As a college instructor for 25 years I am very sensitive to a person’s classroom skills. If I sign up for a course and the instructor and I don’t connect, what are my options?
    Please don’t answer by telling me you are sure it won’t happen.

    • Confident Captain May 31, 2018 Reply

      Hey Brian,

      We too value the quality of our instructors and we stand behind our captains’ classroom skills. However, we are all human beings and understand that not everyone is perfect. Should you have any issues, we would work with you to resolve any dilemmas you might have to get you what you need to pass the USCG examination and feel empowered to get your license. We also have online version of our captain’s license in you prefer to learn on your own time.

      Give us a call if you have any questions!

  2. Michael Boslet October 20, 2018 Reply

    I would like to obtain my Masters License. I have 27 years as a naval officer and just recently received my Boat US safety certificate.

  3. Ron Villa May 21, 2019 Reply

    I did the online 6-pack course and everything stated is 100% true. I also attended the 1 day review which I think was crucial in me passing.

    However, in hindsight, after meeting and spending a day of review with Captain Tony, doing the in class course is the best option. I cannot tell you how good of an instructor Captain Tony is. He is a real Captain and one of the best instructors I’ve had in any class. A few people who did the class room course also started with online to get a jump on the material. I am going to upgrade my license and plan on taking the in house class because of Captain Tony.

  4. Sam February 21, 2020 Reply

    Do you know if the hours on the water have to be spent operating a boat or just on the boat?

    • Dean Balaz May 30, 2020 Reply

      Is 360 hours OJT mandatory to even get the license?

  5. Richard vines May 7, 2020 Reply

    Capt Tony ..please tell me where your classes can be attended I need this six pack LIC USCG Vet have some training and sea time already ???

  6. kenneth Simmons November 9, 2020 Reply

    Is there anyone on the East coast license that give oral captains test in Florida I am located very close to Daytona if there is any information that you could give me with really be appreciated thank you for your time

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