Top 10 common errors and tips for mariners to avoid delays with their licensing application


(1) Medical condition — Additional medical information is required whenever a significant medical condition is identified on the Merchant Marine Personnel Physical Examination Report. If the mariner is aware of an existing medical condition, test results and/or records must be provided. Refer to the evaluation data listed in enclosure (3) of NVIC 4-08 for each condition.

(2) Sea service — If there is missing or conflicting information on sea service letters (e.g., the amount and nature of the applicants experience, the vessel name, gross tonnage, shaft horsepower, official numbers, the routes upon which the experience was acquired and/or approximate dates of service), additional information will be required. Service should be documented with Certificates of Discharges, letters from marine employers or small vessel sea service forms. Examples of each are available on the National Maritime Center (NMC) website. Further, if a small vessel sea service form is used, it must be certified and signed by the owner/master. If you are the owner/operator, proof of ownership is required.

(3) Applications — An incomplete application will be returned for correction if the application is missing mandatory signatures or the “Applying for:” block is left blank. Three signatures are mandatory: Section III (“Have you ever…?” questions), Section V (consent of National Driver Registry check), and Section VI (application certification). Any questions related to the completeness of an application can be answered by the NMC’s Customer Service Center, or the Regional Examination Center located nearest you.

(4) Physical exam — If the CG 719K/719KE form, Merchant Marine Credential Medical Evaluation Report is not complete, this may result in delays as well. Particular attention is paid to the “competent,” “not competent,” and “needs further review” boxes in Section X – Verifying Medical Practitioner Recommendation, which are frequently left blank. Information on color vision is often frequently left blank. The type of color vision exam given in Section V(b) – Color Vision, should be indicated. Mariners who wear glasses and/or contacts should ensure that their uncorrected vision is listed in Section V(a) – Visual Acuity. Missing physician information such as physician’s license number and contact information may also result in application delays.

(5) Training certificate(s) — If training certificates are not included with the application, additional information may be required. Include copies of all training certificates, approved courses or any qualifying certificate to help support your claim for a rating or credential. Some course providers are now providing this information electronically, directly to the NMC.

(6) Copies of required certificates/documents — Additional information is required if photocopies of essential documents are not provided. Essential documents may include First Aid/CPR certificates, Towing Officer Assessment Records (TOARs), STCW assessments, citizenship documents when required, etc.

(7) User fees — Fee payments are missing or incorrect with application submission. Licensing user fees changed as of Oct. 4, 1999. Current fees are published in the most recent Code of Federal Regulations, Title 46, Table 10.219(a) and are posted on Fees may be paid online at: by doing the following:
1.     Select agency list
2.     Select U
3.     Select the first instance of United States Coast Guard
4.     Select USCG Merchant Mariner User Fee Payment
5.     Follow the instructions
6.     Call 888-IASKNMC if you have questions

(8) Drug screen — A drug screen is often rejected because it does not contain the Medical Review Officer’s signature, or a company compliance letter is not written to meet the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 46, Part 16, Section 230.
(9) Current or past license, document, and/or STCW — A mariner who is holding, or who has held a license, MMC, and/or STCW certificate and does not indicate it in the history (Section II – Type of Transaction) or does not include a copy of their credentials (front and back) with the application package, may experience delays. This especially applies for renewals and mariners with previous transactions. Call the NMC’s Customer Service Center at 1-888-IASKNMC if you have concerns related to this particular issue.

(10) Conviction statement — Additional information is required if mariners fail to disclose all prior convictions that they have not reported on a previous application. Mariners should follow the directions on the application very carefully. See Section III – Narcotics, DWI/DUI, and Convictions Record. Call the NMC’s Customer Service Center at 1-888-IASKNMC if you have concerns related to this particular issue.

Capt. Anthony S. Lloyd is commanding officer of the National Maritime Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.

By Professional Mariner Staff