New Web Address for the NMC

The National Maritime Center (NMC) has a new website with a new web address. Goto the new NMC website >>


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Do You Need a TWIC?

USCG Policy Letter 11-15 states who is not required to enroll in the TWIC program. The short answer is two part.

  1. If you have NEVER enrolled in the TWIC program than you will need to enroll in it for the original issuance of any Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).
  2. If you have enrolled in the TWIC program at sometime in the past than you do not need to enroll again, even if you TWIC is not valid, for an OUPV or Master 100 ton endorsements.

If you meet the exemption requirements for the TWIC, and you would like to obtain an original MMC or renew an MMC without the TWIC, than check the box on the Application Form 719B, Section III Safety and Suitability, paragraph 1. BUT read the paragraph; it states that you understand that this could cause significate delays in the application process.

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How to Get a Captain License

Getting a professional mariner license, AKA Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC), is not a spontaneous action; it is a process that requires planning and perseverance. The application that you present to the Coast Guard will consist of several CG 719 series forms, along with copies of certificates and documents. The total number will depend on what you are applying for. When completing the Coast Guard forms, read the instructions on the form carefully and complete the form exactly as stated in the instructions. Never send any original documents with the application, always send copies; and always make copies of all the CG forms for your records. Here is an outline of the process:

  1. The first step is to research the professional credential that you need for the job; and the sea service requirements for the credential.
  2. The second step is to document your qualifying sea service to insure that you have the necessary experience. Sea service is a measurement of your lifetime experience on the water, it is measured in calendar days, and never expires. Any day that you were on a vessel of any size or type; had a position of responsibility, such as operator or deckhand, and were away from the dock counts as one calendar day. Use the small vessel sea service form CG 719S to document this experience.
  3. Once you have documented your qualifying experience you will need to enroll in the TWIC program. This is done at a Universal Enrollment Center (UEC) operated by TSA. Enrollment in the TWIC program is required for every application for an original issue of any MMC, without exception.
  4. Next you need to get a Merchant Mariner Physical Exam using form CG 719K, and a USCG/DOT drug screening using form CG 719P. The physical exam may be completed by any doctor, but using a doctor at a health occupational clinic is generally less expensive and less time consuming.
  5. For the original issue of an MMC officer endorsement, such as OUPV or Master, the applicant must complete an American Red Cross or American Heart Association First Aid/CPR course within one year of the application date.
  6. Complete the application form CG 719B. This will include having a notary administer the Merchant Mariner Oath, and paying the application fees online.
  7. The application package, consisting of the CG 719 series forms and copies of your TWIC and First Aid/CPR cards, must be delivered to one of the USCG Regional Exam Centers (REC) around the nation. Delivery may be done in person, using a postal mail service, email, or fax. If delivery is made in person then the personal at the REC can accept the application fees over the counter, and administer the Merchant Mariner Oath.
  8. Upon approval of your application you will receive a letter from the US Coast Guard stating that you are approved to test. At this time you can either complete an approved course, or complete the exams at the REC. If you completed the course before applying for the credential simply include a copy of the course completion certificate with your application package.

All the USCG forms, professional requirements, and approved course information is available at:

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Whale Watching Boat Captain Needed

Captain Needed

Whale Watching Captain needed

Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington, is in need of some captains to operate the very close up and personal Orca Whale watching tours. Please contact Spencer Domico at 360-378-7996 for more information.

Mary’s Legacy Whale Watching >>

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Tug AB needed

Olympic Tug and Barge in Seattle is looking for an AB. Click here for more information >>

AB is a journeyman deckhand position required for seagoing vessels greater than 100 GRT. Holding a Master, Mate, or OUPV does not qualify you as AB, you must have the endorsement. You can use the same sea service that you used for a Master, Mate, or OUPV to qualify you for the AB. Click here for more information on the AB >>

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Master 100 ton Inland Needed

Willamette Queen Sternwheeler needs a part-time captain. Located in Salem, Oregon. Call 503-371-1103 for more information. 

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Radar Observer Endorsement: What is it and who need it

Title 46 CFR 11.480 establishes the Radar Observer Endorsement as an MMC National Officer endorsement. It may be issued with any of three routes:

  • Radar Observer (Unlimited) is valid on any waters.
  • Radar Observer (Inland and Gulf Coast Intercoastal Waterways) is valid only on waters governed by the Inland Rules of the Road excluding the Great Lakes.
  • Radar Observer (Rivers) is valid only on rivers, canals, or other similar waterways designated by the Coast Guard governed by the Inland Rules of the Road.

All radar observer endorsements are valid for five years. Completion of a USCG approved Radar Refresher, or Radar Recertification course is required to renew the endorsement. When renewing an MMC with a radar observer endorsement the mariner must provide a valid radar observer certificate or the endorsement will be removed from their MMC.

Title 46 CFR 15.815 identifies the Radar Observer Endorsement as a manning requirement. This regulation states that all deck officers, including the master, on towing vessels greater than 26 feet in length, and all inspected vessels greater than 300 GRT must have a valid Radar Observer Endorsement appropriate for the waters the vessel is sailing on. Upon request by the Coast Guard a deck officer will have 48 hours to produce a valid certificate of training to demonstrate that they have a valid endorsement.

Columbia Pacific Maritime offers three radar courses:

  • Radar Observer (Unlimited) is a 5-day class ($800) offered on alternating weeks twice a month.
  • ARPA is a 4-day class ($600) offered on alternating weeks twice a month. A FREE radar recertification is provided with the ARPA class upon request.
  • Radar Recertification is a 1-day class ($250)  offered 7-days a week. While most mariners get through this class in an easy day, there is no additional charge to mariners requiring addition time to complete the requirements.
  • More information on radar >>

    Radar John

    John Degber is the CPM radar instructor

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