Chesapeake Area Professional Captains Association


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We are a professional organization for Coast Guard-licensed captains who operate primarily on the Chesapeake Bay and the East Coast of the United States.

Although our captains' licenses range from small passenger vessels to oceangoing ships, the bulk of our members operate boats of 100 tons or less—such as tourboats, water-taxis, towboats, and charterboats. Some also work as instructors and delivery captains for transporting recreational boats between ports.


CAPCA meetings are canceled through November. There is no meeting in December.  Let's hope we can resume in early 2021!  Watch the website for updates.


Offficer BethWingerd

Programs and Events

Captain Tom Ottenwaelder

USCG 100-ton Master Inland; OUPV Near Costal

E-mail Tom


Like many kids that grow up near the water, I dreamt of becoming the captain of my own ship or a swashbuckling pirate. Becoming a pirate didn’t seem like a great idea at age 18, so I did the next best thing and enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard.

As an enlisted Machinery Technician, I served at two CG Small Boat Stations and two CG Cutters before eventually landing in the Chesapeake Bay at Marine Safety Office (MSO) Baltimore. I qualified as small boat engineer and coxswain, law enforcement boarding officer, and emergency medical technician. I went to college part-time before taking the next step in my career, attending Officer Candidate School in New London, CT. As a Junior Officer, I served at MSO Pittsburgh where I learned commercial vessel inspections, accident investigations, and commercial port operations. Following the attacks on 9/11, I was selected to stand-up the Coast Guard’s first domestic anti-terrorism team in Boston, MA. Later, I served as the supervisor for the Coast Guard’s Command Center Standardization Team, the Assistant Chief of the National Search & Rescue School in Yorktown, VA, and various Intelligence and Investigations assignments. My last assignment was at Coast Guard Headquarters where I piloted a desk as the Chief of the International and Domestic Preparedness Division in the office of Coast Guard Response Policy.  It was a good job that allowed me to travel internationally, and stay connected with maritime operational planners around the globe.

After 29 years of active duty service, I retired from the Coast Guard during the summer of 2019 and settled in the Annapolis area with my lovely and patient wife, Patricia. We are avid recreational boaters on the Chesapeake Bay. I currently hold a 100GT Inland Master, OPUV near coastal and wiper certificates, which I used to deliver boats and provide on-water boater education.

I currently work full-time in Annapolis at Chesapeake Whalertowne selling the “Unsinkable Ledgend” Boston Whaler.  The best part of this job is helping people select and buy the best boat for them and their family, and guiding new boaters along a safe path to enjoying life on the water.


CAPCA meeting

Join us at our monthly meetings where you can meet our captains, find out more about CAPCA, and hear interesting guest speakers.

Click here for meeting details.

MMC shadowWhy earn a captain's license?

  • use your boat to carry passengers for hire
  • enjoy a discount on marine insurance for your boat
  • required for many full- or part-time maritime jobs
  • acquire a comprehensive knowledge of navigation and rules of the road

Click here to read a description of the process for earning a captain's license.

carrick bendCAPCA Speakers Bureau

Need a speaker for your yacht club or professional organization? Ask one of our Coast Guard-licensed captains.

    After you submit the form, our speaker’s bureau coordinator will get back to you soon.

Our members have a wealth of experience—on the water and in classrooms—that gives them the knowledge and background to provide guest-speaker presentations on a host of maritime-related topics, from seamanship and navigation to radio operation and basic first aid for boaters. Let us know a topic that interests you, and we’ll take it from there.

CAPCA provides this as a public service to the maritime community. There's no speaking fee or charge.

carrick bend