When upgrading a license the mariner is required to meet all the sea service experience requirements of the superior license; Coast Guard policy is that holding a license is not evidence of sea service experience. The good news is that sea service experience does not expire and is not used up when getting a license, so you can use all your previously documented experience.
Increasing the route on a license is considered an increase in scope. An example is to increase the scope from Inland to Near Coastal. Near Coastal or Ocean sea service means seaward of the COLREGS demarcation line, or over the bar past the ends of the jetties. For the purpose of determining sea service experience the waters of the Straits of Juan De Fuca, Puget Sound, SE Alaska, and the Inside Passage is considered Inland sea service. To increase the scope of a license always requires completion of an approved course or passing the exams at an REC (Regional Exam Center).
- The OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel) Near Coastal requires 360 days of total sea service experience that includes 90 days on ocean waters.
- The Master 100 ton Near Coastal requires 720 days of total sea service experience that includes 360 days on ocean waters.
Raising the authority of a license is considered a raise in grade. Some raise in grades may be completed by documenting qualifying sea service experience alone, others require completion of an approved course or passing the exams at an REC. A raise in grade from OUPV to Master requires an approved course or exams, while a raise in grade from Master 25 to 50, or 50 to 100 requires documenting qualifying sea service only.
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