In the U.S., a merchant mariner license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard is required to operate a commercial vessel, a towboat, or a vessel that carries passengers for hire. Boat dealers and schools that offer on-the-water operator training may require a license for people who teach for them. Insurance companies may require a yacht delivery skipper to have a license, and some marine insurance companies offer a discount to boat owners who have a license. For information about merchant mariner licenses see www.uscg.mil/nmc and p. 240 in the Mariner’s Guide.
Priscilla Travis spends more than 110 days each year on the water, takes photos, and writes about nautical topics.