Boat Captains Exam 2023

Boat Captains Exam 2023

Boat captains manage more than one life when they set out to sea. As such, it’s essential to be physically healthy and fit to ensure every passenger leaves and returns safely. For this reason, obtaining a boat captain’s license is required before legally carrying passengers for hire.

If you’re planning to get a passenger or a sea vessel this year, consider taking a boat captain’s physical examination before anything else. But one question may linger: what does a boat captains exam in 2023 entail? Reliable MD will answer that query right now.

In this complete guide, we’ll talk about everything there is to know about participating in a boat captain’s exam in 2023.

What Is a Boat Captain’s Exam?

A boat captain’s physical exam is necessary before obtaining a captain’s license. Like your driving permit, a license is a representation of legality. And as a boat captain, you will need one to carry “passengers for hire legally.” This permit covers everything from fishing, transportation, diving, sightseeing and teaching— anything under the passengers-for-hire umbrella.

A boat captains exam 2023 is the same as previous physical assessments for aspiring captains. It will test your sea knowledge and physical fitness to wear the mantle of a shipmaster.

The knowledge part will test your awareness of maritime rules and navigational skills. On top of that, the examiner will also analyze your skills in saving lives, like performing CPR. These details are non-negotiable skills you must have as a boat captain.

On the other hand, the physical examination will assess if you’re in good physical health and shape. One portion of the exam involves analyzing your medical history, and the presence of debilitating illnesses may deny your application. Here are some common medical disqualifiers:

  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Sleep apnea (a sleeping condition where your breathing stops while sleeping)
  • Chronic use of narcotics

A captain’s exam entails what people call ‘the big three’ that you must pass: vision, blood pressure and drug test.


The vision test ensures that captains can see clearly and identify hazards while at sea. Applicants will undergo one vision tests during the examination that consist of two parts: a standard wall chart and a color vision test.

The standard wall chart vision test uses the Snellen chart. To be safe, having a perfect 20/20 vision is ideal. However, applicants are expected to have a visual acuity of at least 20/200; anything worse is already disqualifiable. For any value lower than 20/20, your eye doctor must correct both eyes’ visual acuity to 20/40.

During the color vision test, applicants will undergo two tests to determine color blindness:

  • Ishihara test
  • Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test

Trouble seeing color differences may indicate poor color vision, affecting your chances of getting a captain’s license.

Blood pressure

The life of a shipmaster is arduous, and medical help at sea is often minimal. Having good heart health is vital to prove your physical fitness to carry out your duties. For people below 50, your blood pressure must be no more than 160/100. While for people over 50, a BP of 175/100 is the ceiling value.

Drug test

The final and arguably most important aspect is the drug test. Operating a boat under the influence puts your passengers’ lives in danger. Drug testing for the boat captains exam 2023 will follow the DOT 5 panel examination, which tests:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Amphetamines

You will undergo DOT 5 panel exam randomly every year to ensure your eligibility. Should tests return positive, the U.S. Coast Guard may revoke your license. Moreover, license renewal requires physical examinations and drug tests every five years.

How Do You Sign Up for a Boat Captains Exam 2023?

Reliable MD offers a physical examination for aspiring seafarers. Participating in a boat captains exam in 2023 is relatively easy. We understand what you need and the forms required to move you on to becoming a full-fledged captain. Book your captain’s physical today, and we’ll get you hooked up.

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