A Master license is required if you want to operate any INSPECTED (or uninspected) vessel that can carry more than six paying passengers, plus crew. The term "inspected" means that the vessel adheres to the Coast Guard's stringent Commercial Vessel Inspection standards for design and equipment. These vessels hold a Certificate of Inspection (COI) stating the number of passengers and area of operation. Such vessels are often ferries, tour boats, dinner cruises, or whale watches.
100 Ton Master license is issued for a particular route, depending on where you gained your seagoing experience, as follows:
INLAND - Restricted to operation on all inland waters, excluding the Great Lakes.
NEAR COASTAL - Allows for operation up to 200 nautical miles offshore.
GREAT LAKES/INLAND - Similar to Inland license, but requires at least 90 days of service on the Great Lakes.
Additionally, the 100 Ton license is broken down into three categories, depending on the size of the vessels on which you've sailed over the last three years: 25 tons, 50 tons, or 100 tons. The 25 tons and 50 tons can be upgraded to the next level - without retesting - as you gain experience on the appropriate larger vessels.
The 100 Ton Master Upgrade course is an intensive, 24 hour course. It includes, but is not limited to, the following subject areas: