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How to Become a Barge Pilot

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How to Become a Barge Pilot. Whether you want to gain employment as a pilot on a casino boat, traveling hotel or waste hauler, you should learn to pilot a barge. A barge is nothing more than a large flat bottom boat. The training to piloting the larger barges occurs in two stages.

Find a list of schools that offer the training required to get documentation and STCW certification required by the law. Make certain that the training prepares you to pass the licensing standards of the United States Coast Guard.

Check your driver's license. All jobs require a valid driver's license. Steering a boat is not unlike steering a car. Both require a good driving record.

Take the training. The first level of training requires at least 360 days of documented experience. This allows you to captain an uninspected vessel or a boat with six passengers.

Know that you must meet the "Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping" (STCW) requirements if you're operating in international waters. The requirements are similar to the USCG (United States Coast Guard) certification or licensing regulations.

Get an upgrade. Obtain at least 720 hours of experience on a 25, 50, 0r 100Gt tonnage-rated boat to acheive that level of master upgrade. Certain certifications from schools can substitute for the Masters Upgrade test. You can captain these larger inspected vessels or pilot boats that carry more than 6 people.

Make certain that you are drug-free, over 18 and have passed a physical in the last three years to upgrade your license.

Fill out the new forms. The United States Coast Guard has many forms at each level. These must be filled out and submitted if you're to become a barge pilot. They include the drug test, physical, confirmation of training, identity verification and verification of the hours you spent at sea.


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