Should I get an OUPV or a Master's License?

OUPV allows up to 6 passengers on uninspected vessels. Master's has no limit and works on both vessel types. Choose based on your needs.

2 mins read・Nov 17, 2022
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It depends on how many people you plan on carrying, and how far offshore you go.

What are the some of the differences?


An OUPV license allows you to carry up to 6 paying passengers, on an uninspected vessel.

A Master's license does not have any restrictions on number of passengers onboard, and allows operation of inspected or uninspected vessels.


The maximum vessel tonnage under an OUPV license is 100 GRT. This GRT limit does not change.

A Master's license allows you to operate vessels up to the GRT limit listed on your license. With additional Sea Days this limit can be increased when you renew your license.

Distance off shore

An OUPV is limited to the waters described in the license; i.e. OUPV Inland can operate on Inland waters, similarly for OUPV Great Lakes on the Great Lakes. An OUPV NC can operate on waters out to 100 nautical miles offshore.

A Master's License on Inland or Great Lakes allows for operation of vessels within the prescribed waters (Inland, Great Lakes). A Near Coastal Master's license allows for operation offshore. There is no 100 nautical miles offshore restriction.

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About the author

Sam Mckay
Sam Mckay
NOAA Corps Veteran

Sam Mckay is a NOAA Corps Veteran working on his PhD in Nuclear Fusion

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