Ordinary Seaman (OS) is an entry level National Rating Endorsement on the MMC (Merchant Mariner Credential). This is the equivalent of an apprenticeship position, and is the minimum rating required to serve as a deckhand on sea going merchant vessels of 100 GRT or more. While it is not a requirement to serve on vessels operating exclusively on Inland waters, or on seagoing vessels of less than 100 GRT; it is a good idea for all mariners who plan on making a career in the maritime industry to hold an OS or higher rating. To apply for an OS rating you must:
- Enroll in the TWIC program.
- Get a Merchant Mariner Fitness for Duty Report on Coast Guard form 719KE; OR a Merchant Mariner Physical Exam on form 719K.
- Complete the application form 719B requesting the issuance of an original issuance of the entry level rating of OS. As stated in Section II of the instructions (page 2) there are no professional requirements needed when applying for an entry level credential; however, all original applicants for an MMC must take the Merchant Mariner Oath in Section IV. The Oath is the last bullet in item 5 Certification, and must be administered by either Coast Guard personal at an REC (Regional Exam Center), or by a notary. The last signature required in Section IV (item 6) is the signature of the person administering the Oath.
- Pay the USCG application fees either online at the GOV.PAY website, or at an REC if delivering the application in person. Since there are no professional requirements for the OS the only fee required is the $45 issuance fee.
- Deliver the completed application package to an REC either in person, by mail, email, or fax. The application package will contain copies (keep all original documents for your records) of your TWIC, form 719KE or form 719K, form 719B, and a copy of your receipt for payment of the application fees. When delivering the application to an REC in person, they will administer the Oath and accept the application fees; otherwise mail, email or fax delivery is acceptable.