Saturday, May 24, 2008

Applying for a Merchant Mariner Document

The first step is to fill out an application (Form CG-719B). Depending on which credential you are applying for (License as a Deck,Engineering, or Radio Officer, Certificate of Registry as a Staff Officer, or Merchant Mariner Document for unlicensed personnel), the following general requirements may also apply:

1. Professional service or experience

2. Age

3. Citizenship

4. Social Security Number

5. Payment of user fees

6. Physical examination (Form CG-719K) for licensed officers or unlicensed Qualified Ratings (Able Seaman (AB), Qualified Member of the Engine Department (QMED), etc.)

7. Physical agility, flexibility, and strength standards for Unqualified (Entry Level) Ratings (Ordinary Seaman (OS), Wiper (WI), or Stewards Department) and Lifeboatman (LBMAN) of vessels greater than 200 Gross Register Tons (Domestic Tonnage) operating beyond the boundary line (These standards are outlined in Navigation and Inspection Circular (NVIC) No. 2-98)

8. Criminal record review

9. National Driver Record (NDR) check

10. Passing a written examination

11. Completion of Coast Guard approved training

When you have determined which credential to apply for and you are ready to submit your application package, send it to one of the 17 national Regional Examination Centers (RECs) for evaluation. The time to process an application varies greatly with the complexity and type of credential applied for, but you will be notified in writing whether you have been approved or if additional information is required. You can contact the REC that is reviewing your application any time after submittal on the status of your evaluation.

The Coast Guard has a web site ( marpers/pers.htm) that has links to information concerning the licensing and documentation of merchant mariners as well as guides to the different credential types. In addition, the address and phone numbers of each REC are also listed in the site. Surf the web site above to get guides for the other credentials or for general merchant mariner license and document information.

How to Apply for STCW 78 Certification

The process to apply for a STCW Endorsement form to meet the provisions of the 1978 STCW convention (STCW-78) is very similar to applying for a U.S. merchant mariner credential. Your first step starts with filling out the application (Form CG-719B). The STCW form is based on the U.S. License, Certificate of Registry (COR), or Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) for which you are applying. If you began service or training before August 1, 1998 and obtain the STCW form before February1, 2002, then you must only meet the requirements of STCW-78, which is the same as the requirements to maintain your U.S. merchant mariner credential, and prove proficiency in Basic Safety Training. Until February 1, 2002, you may serve on a seagoing vessel with a STCW-78 form as long as you also provide proof to your employer of having proficiency in Basic Safety Training that meets the requirements of STCW-95. By that date,you must fully comply with STCW-95 and obtain a STCW-95 form because

the STCW-78 forms become invalid on that date. If you do not already have a STCW-78 form and plan to embark on seagoing service, you may apply for one at any REC and at no cost. For additional information, look up web site at or contact your local REC.

How to Apply for STCW 95 Certification

The process to apply for a STCW Endorsement form to meet the provisions of the 1995 amendments to the STCW Convention (STCW-95) also starts with filling out the application (Form CG-719B). This can be done at the same time as applying for a new U.S. merchant mariner credential or renewing or raising the grade of an existing credential. You must meet all of the general requirements for the U.S. License, COR, or MMD as well as any additional requirements required by the STCW Code.

Depending on what type of U.S. merchant mariner credential for which you are applying or already hold, the following additional STCW training requirements may apply in order to qualify for a STCW-95 form:

1. Basic Safety training

2. Bridge Resource Management training

3. Automatic Radar Plotting Aids (ARPA) training

4. Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) training

5. Training and demonstrated proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats

6. Advanced Firefighting training

In general, to prove that you have completed the necessary additional training, you must have completed a training course approved by the Coast Guard or have the training documented in a Training Record Book (TRB) as part of a Coast Guard approved training program. In some cases, there are grandfather provisions in meeting the training requirements if you started your sea service before August 1, 1998. Just like for the STCW-78 form, you may apply for the STCW-95 form at any REC at no

cost. For more information, see web site ( or contact your local REC.