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United States Coast Guard (USCG) Merchant Mariner Credential Examinations for New Aspirants and Professional Mariners

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According to Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 10, The United States Coast Guard is authorized to conduct merchant marine credential examinations for original issue, raise in grade, increase in scope, and renewal of endorsements. While many Coast Guard Approved Courses provide their own exams that includes formal classroom instruction, Coast Guard Regional Exam Centers (REC) provide and proctor all the exams prepared by the National Maritime Center (NMC).

Also when USCG finds an applicant's experience and training for raise of grade is satisfactory, and the applicant is eligible in all other respects, the Coast Guard will authorize a professional examination.

The professional exams are multiple choice Merchant Marine License Examinations.

Except for an endorsement required by the STCW Convention, any applicant for a deck or engineer officer endorsement limited to vessels less than 200 GRT, or an officer endorsement limited to uninspected fishing industry vessels, may request an orally assisted examination. Each officer endorsement based on an orally assisted examination is limited to the specific route and type of vessel upon which the applicant obtained the majority of service.

Courses approved in lieu of examination are not permitted for officer endorsements where tonnage exceeds 200 GRT except to increase the scope of a national deck officer endorsement for less than 1,600 GRT from near coastal to oceans. Courses approved in lieu of examination are not permitted for engineering officer endorsements greater than 4000 horsepower.

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      Pic:USCG NMC Regional Centers (REC) - For accurate details, please check with USCG. Credits: USCG

You may also read: USCG License Requirements

U.S.Coast Guard License Examinations



The Coast Guard will administer the exam in a number of sections called modules. Each module may contain one or more topics arranged for the convenience of the Coast Guard in administering the exam.

A mariner seeking an original national endorsement or raise of grade based on training or service started on or after March 24, 2014, will be examined under the requirements of the final rule published by the Coast Guard on December 24, 2013, (78 FR 77796) as follows.

USCG Deck Examinations

USCG Engine Examinations

USCG Exams Study Materials & Books

  • Murphy's Deck Officers Study Guides
  • Able seaman & Lifeboatman Study Guides
  • Lifeboatman Study Guide
  • Limited Master, Mate & Operator Study Guides
  • Navigation Rules For International & Inland Waters Study Guide
  • Tankerman Study Guide
  • Workboat Engineer & Oiler Study Guide
  • Please check the details of the study materials here

LAST UPDATED ON Nov 9, 2019

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