Merchant Mariner Credential Application Process

Here is an outline of the application process.

Step 1 Document your qualifying experience

Sea service experience can be counted from age 16 and
accumulates over your lifetime. It is never used up and never expires;
but you must be able to document it for it to count towards a license.
For a Captain's license at least 90 days of the qualifying experience
must have been with the last three years, the remainder can be from
anytime after age 16. Use the
Sea Service Documentation Form
provided by the USCG to document your experience. Sea
service experience is counted in calendar days where:
  • One Sea Day is equal to eight-hours of sea service
    experience. Any day that you were on a vessel of any size or
    type and away from the dock for more than four hours counts
    as one calendar day.
  • One Month is equal to 30 days of sea service experience.
  • One Year is equal to 12 months or 360 days.

Step 2 Enroll is the TWIC Program

All mariners holding or applying for any MMC Endorsement must
enroll in the TWIC (Transportation Workers Identification Credential)
program through the Universal Enrollment Services (UES). It is
through this program that the FBI receives the information used to
conduct the background check and terrorist threat assessment
required for all Merchant Mariner Credentials.

Portland UES Enrollment Center (effective 12/16/2013)
10643 NE Sandy Blvd Ste C
Portland, OR 97220-2584
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30AM to 4:30PM

Step 3 Compile the application package

The Merchant Mariner Credential Application Package is a collection
of forms and documents. The forms provided by the USCG are a
series of "CG 719" forms.

Application Form 719B
All USCG applications require form CG 719B. The type of transaction
is indicated in Section II. The following is an explanation of the terms
used in this section.
  • License means an officer endorsement as OUPV, Master or
  • Merchant Mariners Document (MMD) means a rating
    endorsement as OS or AB.
  • STCW Certificate means an international endorsement. This
    endorsement is only required for seagoing vessels greater
    than 200 GRT or mariners traveling into foreign ports.
  • Certificates of Registry are issued to radio officers, medical
    personal and other personal that are not part of the deck or
    engine departments.
  • Certificate of Discharge Sea Service means that you are
    submitting sea service experience only.

Physical Exam and USCG / DOT Drug Screening
A physical exam and USCG/DOT Drug Screening is required for all
original issue, upgrades, and renewals. The following forms are
  • Merchant Mariner Physical Exam Form 719K is required
    for all endorsement transactions except for an Ordinary
    Seaman (OS) rating.
  • Fitness for Duty Report Form 719KE may be used when
    applying for an OS rating only.
  • USCG/DOT Drug Screening Form 719P has instructions and
    options for drug screenings.

Original issue of an OUPV, Master or Mate license
In addition to the above documents, the following documents are
required for the original issue of a license as Master, Mate, or OUPV.
  • First Aid and CPR cards issued within one year of the
    application date. Accepted training includes the American Red
    Cross, American Heart Association, or other USCG recognized
Step 4 Deliver to a Regional Exam Center (REC)

The completed MMC application package must be deliver to one of
the 17 Regional Exam Centers (REC) around the nation. Do not send
it directly to the National Maritime Center (NMC). There are several
delivery options available.
  • I recommend delivering the application package to an REC in
    person. If you do this you can take the Merchant Mariner Oath
    and pay the evaluation and issuance fees at the REC. You will
    need to make an appointment with the REC to deliver the
    application in person.
  • If hand delivering the application to an REC is not a option you
    may mail or email the application to an REC. When using this
    option you will need to use the Merchant Mariner Oath form
    and pay the evaluation and issuance fees online. Include your
    receipt for payment with the application package.
  • To submit your application electronically through email scan
    both sides of all documents and attach them to your email. The
    entire email cannot exceed 5MB.

If you are in Oregon, southern Washington, or Idaho the Portland
REC may be the most convenient. The contact information for
Portland REC is:
    Portland REC
    911 NE 11th Ave. Room 637
    Portland, OR 97232
    Phone: (503) 231-2296
    Fax: (503) 231-6738

The email address for Portland REC is

Step 5 Exams or an Approved Course

It will take two to four weeks for the NMC to evaluate your application.
If during the application process they determine that more
information is required the NMC will contact you and give you 30
days to provide the additional information. Upon accepting your
application the NMC will provide you with a letter stating that you are
approved to test and have one-year to complete the exams. At this
point you may either take the exams at an REC or complete an
approved course in lieu of taking the exams.

The cost of getting a Merchant Mariner Credential

The cost of applying for a license is about $500 to $600. This
includes the USCG application and issuance fees, the TWIC
enrollment fees, the average cost of the physical exam and drug
screening, and the cost of the American Red Cross or American
Heart Association First Aid/CPR Training. This does not include the
cost of any training courses, travel, or lodging.

While it is not a requirement, it is highly recommended that you
submit your application to the USCG and get your approval
taking the course to insure that your time and money are not wasted.
The steps provided here outline the application process and start
with the least expensive step first.

Merchant Mariner Credential Application Forms

A Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) application is a collection of
documents and US Coast Guard forms. When completing these
forms read the entire form carefully and follow the instructions exactly
as written on the form. Any deviation from the norm can cause
extensive delays.

Merchant Mariner Credential Application Form 719B
  • Required for all applications
Small Boat Sea Service Form 719S
  • For documenting sea service experience
Merchant Mariner Physical Exam Form 719K
  • Required for most applications except Ordinary Seaman
Fitness for Duty Report Form 719KE
  • Replaces form 719K when applying for Ordinary Seaman
USCG / DOT Drug Screening Form 719P
  • Required for most applications
Merchant Mariner Oath
  • Required for all original MMC applications
Regional Exam Center (REC) Contact Information
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