It is starting to look like fall and many mariners will be looking to document their sea service for either getting an original license or upgrading an existing license. Here are 10 tips for counting sea service that may help you.
- Your sea service represents your life’s experience on boats and it is never used up or burned on a license. It gathers over your lifetime and can be counted after age 15.
- Recent sea service is considered to be within the past three years. All licenses require a minimum of 90-days recent sea service experience.
- The Coast Guard does not keep track of your experience and holding a license is not evidence of sea service experience (USCG Policy). It is the mariner’s responsibility to keep track of their own experience, so keep of all the original copies of your sea service records.
- Ocean and Near Coastal sea service (both are considered the same) is any experience on ocean waters, seaward of the boundary line or COLREGS demarcation line. This is a line drawn on the chart at the most seaward points of land at the entrance to harbors, rivers, bay, and sounds. You must state the name of the ocean when documenting ocean experience.
- For the purpose of counting sea service experience all of the Straits of Juan De Fuca east of Point Angeles, Puget Sound, the Inside Passage, and SE Alaska is considered to be Inland waters
- Sea service is counted in 8-hour calendar days. One 8-hour calendar day is considered to be any day that you were on a boat, away from the dock for more than 4-hours, and held a position of responsibility (not as a passenger).
- Thirty days of experience is one month and 360 days is one year.
- Sea service experience is considered either Deck or Engine Room. Unless you want to split your time between the two areas your job title should not be engineer, deck engineer, or deckhand / engineer.
- Use the small boat sea service form CG 719S provided by the Coast Guard to document your experience. This form must be signed by the vessel owner, operator, or master; if you were the owner than you must provide a copy of either your Certificate of Documentation (COD) or your state registration papers.
- Read the instructions on the form carefully and follow them exactly as written. Any deviation from the norm can cause delays in your application approval.
I hope these tips are useful to you. Please visit my website or contact me for more information.