Not all fishing guides need to get a USCG issued Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).
You do not need an MMC to carry:
- Passengers not-for hire; a passenger for hire means anyone that contributes anything as a condition for being a passenger on the vessel.
- Passengers for hire on a non-motorized vessel, such as a drift boat, on inland waters of the US.
- Passengers for hire on a power-driven vessel operated on the non-federally navigable inland waters of the US.
You need an MMC to carry passengers for hire on a power-driven vessel operating on the federally navigable inland waters of the US or on any ocean waters.
- A power-driven vessel is defined as any vessel propelled by machinery, there is no minimum motor size.
- A vessel is defined as anything used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water, there is no minimum size to qualify as a vessel.
- Ocean waters includes all waters seaward of the demarcation line, meaning over the bar seaward of the jetties; there is no minimum distance offshore.
The smallest MMC issued that authorizes the authority to carry passengers for hire is the Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) endorsement. This endorsement allows the operator to carry six or fewer passengers for hire onboard a power-driven vessel less than 100 gross registered tons (about 65 feet) and is the most common endorsement held by fishing guides.