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U.S. Coast Guard Exams for Unlimited Engineering Officer Endorsements - Engineering Original / Raise of Grade & Renewal Examinations

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Directly reporting to the Chief Engineer, a First Assistant Engineer is a licensed member of the engineering department on a merchant vessel and in charge of the four to eight watch. They are responsible for the proper operation, maintenance, and safety of all engine department machinery, equipment, and spaces.

Junior engineers of the engine department - such as Third Assistant Engineer - in a ship or a seagoing vessel is responsible (not limited to) for ship maintenance, engine maintenance, machinery repairs, assist the Chief Engineer, fueling, and more. The exact duties of these positions will depend upon the type of ship or vessel and arrangement of the engine department.

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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.

First Assistant Engineer - Steam / Motor / Gas Turbine Examinations

Original / Raise of Grade

first assistant engineer unlimited exams
Table: First Assistant Engineer, Steam / Motor / Gas Turbine Plant Exam Details Credits: USCG 

  • An applicant who applies for an Original Chief Engineer - Unlimited endorsement based on military service, or experience under a foreign endorsement, shall be administered the examination modules listed above.
  • Applicants raising grade from First Assistant to Chief Engineer-Unlimited may do so without further examination.
  • From Motor and/or Gas Turbine to Steam, Motor, and/or Gas Turbine Plants - Q513 Steam Plants
  • From Steam and/or Gas Turbine to Motor, Steam, and/or Gas Turbine Plants - Q514 Motor Plants
  • From Steam and/or Motor to Gas Turbine, Steam, and/or Motor Plants - Q515 Gas Turbine Plants

Third Assistant Engineer - Steam / Motor / Gas Turbine Examinations

Original / Raise of Grade

third asst engineer unlimited exams
Table: Third Assistant Engineer, Steam / Motor / Gas Turbine Exam Details Credits: USCG 

  • An applicant who applies for an Original Second Assistant Engineer-Unlimited endorsement based on military service, or experience under a foreign endorsement, shall be administered the examination modules listed above.
  • Applicants raising grade from Third Assistant to Second Assistant Engineer-Unlimited may do so without further examination.
  • From Motor and/or Gas Turbine to Steam, Motor, and/or Gas Turbine Plants - Q537 Steam Plants I & Q538 Steam Plants II
  • From Steam and/or Gas Turbine to Motor, Steam, and/or Gas Turbine Plants - Q531 Motor Plants I & Q532 Motor Plants II
  • From Steam and/or Motor to Gas Turbine, Steam, and/or Motor Plants - Q533 Gas Turbine Plants

Unlimited Engineering Officer Renewal Exercises

Renewal exercises are open book exercises issued to the mariner by the Regional Exam Centers. It is recommended that completed exercises be returned to the Regional Exam Center for scoring within thirty days in order to assure the examination cycle, including retakes, is completed within ninety days. In no case will a renewal exercise be accepted if returned, based on the postmark date, more than 90 days from the original mailing date.

A mariner submitting an application for renewal must take the renewal modules associated with each mode of propulsion being renewed.

Steam Plants Renewal

steam plants renewal exam
Table: Steam Plants Renewal Exercise Details Credits: USCG 

Motor Plants Renewal

motor plants renewal exam
Table: Motor Plants Renewal Exercise Details Credits: USCG 

Gas Turbine Plants Renewal

gas turbine plants renewal exam
Table: Gas Turbine Plants Renewal Exercise Details Credits: USCG 

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