An Inland route covers all federally navigable Inland waters of the United States, including Puget Sound, the Straights of Juan De Fuca, SE Alaska, and the inside passage through British Columbia. The Near Coastal route is considered a superior route to the Inland route; and covers all the waters of the Inland route and ocean waters to 100 miles offshore for the OUPV endorsement, and 200 miles offshore for the Master or Mate endorsement. To sail beyond the Near Coastal route an All Oceans route is required.
There are a couple of paths to upgrade from an Inland to a Near Coastal route. The most common path is to meet the sea service requirements for the Near Coastal endorsement. A less common path is found in Title 46 CFR 11.427, which states that a Master less than 200 tons Inland (meaning 25, 50 100, or 200 tons) is qualified for Mate Near Coastal with 90 days of experience on a vessel operating on Inland waters. Since the Mate endorsement has the full authority of the OUPV endorsement this is a good method to obtain an OUPV Near Coastal without any Near Coastal experience.