How to get a 6-pack license

OUPV 6-pack captain license is for carrying 6 or fewer passengers for hire on inland or near coastal ocean waters.

How to get a 6-pack license, AKA OUPV captain license. Or more specifically How to apply for a Merchant Mariner Credential National Deck Officer endorsement. That is the official category of endorsement for the the OUPV. Also known as the 6-pack captain, this license required vessels carrying 6 or fewer passenger for hire. And it is also the most common license for fishing guides operating on inland waters, or near coastal ocean waters. Complete steps, along with help pages and links to all the USCG forms is available on the Columbia Pacific (ColPac) Maritime website. What follows is the short version.

1st Document your experience

The first thing to do is document your sea service experience on form CG 719S. To clarify, the 6-pack requires 360-DAYS over your lifetime. For the near coastal oceans route 90 of these days must be over the bar past the end of the jetties. If you don’t have enough days for the license than don’t waste your time and money with the remaining steps until you do. 

More information on the OUPV 6-pack endorsement.

2nd TWIC, first-aid, CPR

The next step is to enroll in the TWIC program. Be sure to save your receipt for payment because it is your proof of enrollment.

And then take a standard first aid / CPR course. The first aid – CPR course should be from the American Red Cross (ARC). Or a course from another provider that can issue a course completion certificate with a USCG approval code.

3rd Physical Exam, drug screening, Coast Guard application form

The Coast Guard forms available at the time of this post have an expiration date of 03/31/2021. However these forms are still valid until further notice. These forms are available on the ColPac Home Page or from the National Maritime Center website.

Get a physical exam and DOT/USCG Drug screening using forms CG 719K (physical exam) and CG 719P (DOT/USCG Drug Screening). A Health Occupational Clinic is the best place to get this done. But most important make sure to use the Coast Guard forms.

And then complete the application form CG 719B. Be sure and have your signature on this form notarized. If you answer YES to any of the criminal background questions you will also need to complete form CG 719C.

4th Pay the USCG fees and email to an REC

Lastly pay the application fees online at the Gov.Pay website. They should be $145.

Now scan all these documents and forms. And then email them to a USCG Regional Exam Center (REC). To clarify the application package will include all the CG forms; the TWIC enrollment receipt; first aid / CPR certificates; and receipt for payment. 

Link to the Email instructions.

5th Take the exams or an approved course

The mariner has a choice of taking the exams at an REC OR complete an approved course. The USCG accepts an approved course completion certificate in lieu of taking the Coast Guard exams. Columbia Pacific (ColPac) Maritime offers an approved OUPV 6-pack course. And many other approved courses as well.


In conclusion, the order of the steps is not as important as the steps themselves. The reality is that most mariners take the course first. But it is not a requirement. If fact, we recommend that you apply before taking the course.

Please contact if you have any questions. I am here to help.