New Merchant Marine Credential format unveiled

On March 1, the U.S. Coast Guard began issuing merchant mariner credentials (MMCs) in a new format that replaces the legacy passport-style red book and associated endorsement labels.

The MMC consolidates the credentials issued to merchant mariners into a single document, and streamlines the application process by removing the requirement that all mariners appear at one of 17 Regional Exam Centers, so long as they already have enrolled for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential.

Under previous regulations, the Coast Guard had issued up to four credentials per mariner including a Merchant Mariner’s Document; Merchant Mariner’s License; Certificate of Registry; and an International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers Endorsement. 

Each credential served a separate purpose, thus creating the possibility that a mariner might need all four.

The new consolidated MMC replaces the four separate Coast Gurad-issued documents.

“The complexiand degrade reliability of th custom pronters used to print the MMC books might need all four. The new consolidated MMC replaces the four separate Coast Guard-issued documents.

“The complexity and degraded reliability of the custom printers used to necessitated a change to the credential printing process,” according to the Coast Guard. “The new mariner credential is formatted on 8.5-by-11-inch waterproof and tear-resistant synthetic paper. It contains numerous security features including microprinting, foiling, and intricate patterns.”

The new credential “is printed on readily available commercial desktop laser jet printers and will vastly improve print services and availability.”

The new MMC document will be issued for all approved applications, to include credential endorsements. 

Mariners will no longer receive separate endorsement labels such as stickers, but rather a new MMC document with the endorsements incorporated. The new credential will be issued on a day-forward basis and all legacy credentials will remain valid until the indicated expiration date.

To validate a new MMC, the Coast Guard’s online Credential Verification Tool should be used. For a document search, select ‘MMC’ as the document type and enter the document number. 

On the new MMC, the document number can be found on the red cover section beneath the corresponding barcode and will have the prefix ‘Z.’

Any questions about the new Merchant Mariner’s Credential should be directed to the National Maritime Center Customer Service Center by e-mailing or by calling 1-888-427-5662.