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U.S. Coast Guard Exams for Deck Rating Endorsements - Lifeboatman, Able Seaman, and Tankerman License Examinations

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Lifeboatman is a mariner who is qualified to take charge of, lower, and operate survival craft and related survival equipment on a vessel. It is also called Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (other than fast rescue boats), according to STCW Convention.

An Able Seaman (A/B) is any person below officer and above ordinary seaman who holds a merchant mariner credential (MMC) or merchant mariner document (MMD) endorsed as A/B by the USCG. Categories of A/B include - Able seaman - unlimited, limited, special, offshore supply vessels, sail, and fishing industry.

Tankerman is a seaman who is a member of a crew of a tanker and, is a qualified rating endorsement on a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC). A tankerman oversees the transfer of liquid cargo aboard oceangoing tankships or inland barges.

tankerman uscg exams

You may also read: USCG License Requirements



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) . Those who started before March 24, 2014, will be examined under the regulations and policy in effect before that date unless they have specifically requested to examine for their endorsement under the final rule 78 FR 77796.

USCG Able Seaman Unlimited/Limited/Special/OSV/Sail Exams

able seaman exams
Table: USCG Able Seaman Unlimited/Limited/Special/OSV/Sail Exam Details Credits: USCG 

  • Applicants can raise the category of any Able Seaman endorsement without further examination upon meeting the appropriate professional requirements.

Marlinespike Seamanship Demonstration

marlinespike seamanship demonstration
Table: Marlinespike Seamanship Demonstration Details Credits: USCG 

  • The applicant must provide evidence, to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard, of the knowledge of principal knots, bends, splices, and hitches in common use by actually making them
  • The demonstration can be completed at a Regional Exam Center or via a USCG approved course
  • In order to successfully demonstrate the knowledge requirement the applicant MUST successfully demonstrate ONE of the TWO splices within 15 minutes AND successfully demonstrate the four required AND six additional knots, hitches, or bends within 15 minutes

USCG Tankerman Assistant Liquefied Gas Exam

tankerman assistant liquefied gas exam
Table: USCG Tankerman Assistant Liquefied Gas Exam Details Credits: USCG

  • Applicants approved to test for both endorsements must take both modules

Disclaimer: For general information purpose only. Please check with USCG for the accurate and latest information