This is not true for many countries. For example there is no requirement for any type of license to leave the territorial waters of the US in a leisure vessel. Requirements for entering the territorial waters of another country are a different question. For example I can visit Canada in my boat and do not need a license or operator's certificate for short visits. Any vessel taking more than 6 passengers for hire needs to have its keel laid in the United States and needs to conform to "CG inspected rules" for its given size and passenger load. There is a change in requirements at 50 or more passengers. Any vessel taking more than 6 passengers for hire needs a Coast Guard licensed Operator with the proper endorsements. It does not matter what kind of water you operate on, these rules apply to any vessel taking more than 6 passengers for hire on any body of water, fresh or salt, big or small. Carries more than six passengers, including at least one for hire;. Is chartered with a crew provided or specified by the owner or the owner's representative and is carrying more than six passengers;. I am qualifying all these statements with things like "most likely" because each case is different. For example the ferry at Lake Buena Vista in Orlando that makes like a one mile trip from a parking lot to Disney World is an CG inspected vessel. All Coast Guard Licenses are based on documented Gross Tonnage. (volume not weight). For example the ferry at Lake Buena Vista in Orlando that makes like a one mile trip from a parking lot to Disney World is an CG inspected vessel. As I read the statutes, if the vessel is private and not for hire, then the license is not required. She's in excess of 70' depending on where you take the measurement. The hulls are 65' but the deck is 72' long. Many civilised countries in the world have a captain's exam that you sit for after at least 5 years of Being a First Mate (of the deck), and you are promoted into a captain within your company, when you get your first ship to hoon with around. Passing the captain's exam doesn't necessarily mean you are a captain. It all depends on local laws. To get the right info you should ask for it in the nearest Captain's Office/Port Authority in your country. Only whatever they say goes. You cannot be a captain of a leisure boat. You need a skipper's licence. To be a captain you need to study nautical science (how to drive and load/unload a freighter or a passenger ship - although there are countries that issue "captain's licences left and right for various sizes of ships) first. Only boats operating on federal navigable waters are subject to federal regulations on crew licensing and boat inspection. Lake George in New York State is not a federal navigable waterway and boats carrying passengers for hire on it are subject to state, not federal, regulation. This was discussed in the press after 20 people drowned in the capsize of the Ethan Allen on Lake George in 2005. It does not matter what kind of water you operate on, these rules apply to any vessel taking more than 6 passengers for hire on any body of water, fresh or salt, big or small. Ike "Don't tell me that I can't. Tell me how I can!". What is very large? (I'm pretty sure you don't need one to build it). Boats over 100 tons can carry 12 passengers (in navigable federal waters) without being inspected. I'm building a very large pleasure boat for protected waters. At what point is a captains license required? So in theory I could buy an old 188 foot, 1183 ton vessel, crew it with volunteers, no one with any credentials, and go cruising if I didn't care about insurance?. Damn Peter, you where typing as I was talking about you.