Preparing for Class
• Send in your registration (see Ports of Call for classes) to reserve your place in class!
• Find your Birth Certificate
or Passport. Apply locally for certified copies if necessary.
• Start organizing your sea time. This will be thoroughly discussed the first night,
but begin outlining.
This can be a complicated process, but here are the basics:
• You are trying to accumulate a minimum of 360 days of sea time. See Documenting Sea Time
This may be on your own vessel (easiest) or on a friend’s, family’s,
or working vessels. One day is considered four or more hours. An afternoon
cruise would suffice.
• Your time must be on either Great Lakes, Oceans, or Navigable Rivers/Lakes.
Time on small interior lakes or rivers may need further approval by the
• You may use time obtained since your sixteenth birthday. Ninety days of your time,
however, must be within the last three years. This is a Coast Guard recency clause
and may be difficult for those of you operating in seasonal waters. Remember, the
of Training you receive upon graduation is valid for one year. This allows
for time to conform to the recency requirement by accumulating additional time before
in your Coast Guard License Application.
• You must show proof of ownership for your own vessel if it is to be used for sea service time.
This is usually in the form of a state registration or a bill of sale. If you are using time on a vessel
you owned previously, then contact the state registration department and request a copy for
verification of your old registration.
• If you are using vessels other than your own, the owner must write a letter with complete
information concerning your time and the vessel. If it is not on their company letterhead they
must notarize it. It is wise for you to complete the information in letter form so that they can
have it notarized or retype it on their letterhead. Begin this process early!
A sample letter may be found at Sample Sea Service Letter
• Begin to outline your 360/720 days. Use the Sea Service Form.Make a quick calendar noting
the number of days for a particular month in a given year. For example: June/1992:4 days;
1993: 10 days and so on.
Total the days. Do this for each vessel you are using until your time totals at least 360 days.
Use recent time first and work backwards. Remember 90 days should be in the last three years.
Also note the waters that the vessel was operated upon, the registration number or documentation number.
we will be formalizing this process in class so don't get to carried away!