Coast Guard seeks comment on draft Merchant Mariner Medical Manual

The following is text of a news release from the National Maritime Center (NMC):

(MARTINSBURG, W.Va.) — The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking public comment regarding the draft Merchant Mariner Medical Manual. The guidance in this manual should assist medical practitioners, the maritime industry, individual mariners, and Coast Guard personnel in evaluating mariner applicants’ physical and medical statuses to meet the requirements of the merchant mariner medical certificate.

This draft commandant instruction manual incorporates and consolidates prior guidance on the medical evaluation of merchant mariners contained in several Coast Guard documents. The manual includes guidance on the medical certificate and related processes, including procedures for application, issuance, and cancellation of the medical certificate.

The Coast Guard requests public comment on the draft medical manual, with emphasis on its readability, clarity and ease of use. We welcome suggestions on how the manual can be improved.

We are particularly interested in whether the draft manual adequately addresses safety concerns in situations where the Coast Guard receives information indicating that a medical certificate holder has developed a medical condition that poses a significant risk of sudden incapacitation, or is taking a medication that poses a significant risk of impairment.

The notice of availability and draft medical manual may be viewed on the Federal eRulemaking Portal under docket number USCG-2018-0041.

Comments must be submitted to the online docket on or before Jan. 14, 2019.

For information about this document, contact Dr. Adrienne Buggs, United States Coast Guard, Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing, by telephone at (202) 372-2357 or by e-mail to

By Professional Mariner Staff