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Qualified Member of Engine Department (QMED) General, Sea Service and Other Requirements by U.S. Coast Guard


A Qualified Member of the Engineering Department (QMED) is the senior most rating in the engine room of a ship. QMED is to the engineering department what the AB is to the Deck Department. The Coast Guard defines a QMED qualified member of the engine department as any person below officer and above the rating of wiper in the engineering department. The QMED performs a variety of tasks in the engine room, fire-room, machine shop, steering-engine room and more.

QMED is also the entry level for any merchant marine Engineering Officers License. QMED’s are not restricted by the type or size of the vessel and your area of expertise will define your rating. Each QMED rating must be endorsed separately, unless one qualifies for all QMED ratings. The duties of QMED include but not limited to - inspection of equipment such as pumps, turbines, distilling plants, and condensers; lubrication and maintenance of generators, steering systems, lifeboats, and sewage disposal systems; cleaning and restoration of tools and other equipment.

QMED Electrician/Refrigerating Engineer: The duties of QMED Electrician/Refrigerating Engineer rating include but not limited to - engine room operations and maintenance of electrical and refrigeration systems such as generator and distribution systems, electric motors, high voltage installations, and shipping container refrigeration.

QMED Oiler: The duties of QMED Oiler include but not limited to - wiping oil, maintaining tools and, cleaning, preparing, and painting of machinery, equipment, and related spaces. They also lubricate moving parts of propulsion engines and auxiliary equipment.

QMED Fireman/Watertender: The duties of QMED Oiler include but not limited to - monitoring of evaporators to ensure proper operation including temperatures, pressure and water levels are maintained, correct distribution of evaporator output, and tending fires by controlling fuel air flow.

QMED Junior Engineer: The duties of QMED Junior Engineer include but not limited to - overall responsibility of engineering systems maintenance and repair work including keeping required records, logs, and reports. Other duties involved such as standing engine room watch at sea or port, standing security /engine watch and, assist in ship fueling operations.

QMED Pumpman/Machinist: The duties of QMED Pumpman/Machinist include but not limited to - maintaining, repairing, and operating deck machinery, lathes, drill presses, welding, brazing systems, transfer pumps, stripping pumps, strainers, filters, associated piping, valves, fittings to name a few

QMED Any Rating: This rating all five ratings namely QMED Electrician / Refrigerating Engineer, QMED Oiler, QMED Fireman / Watertender, QMED Junior Engineer, and QMED Pumpman / Machinist.

qmed ratings

You may also read: International Maritime Organization (IMO) STCW requirements for Able Seafarer (Engine)

General Requirements for USCG National Qualified member of Engine Department (QMED)

  • Age: 18 years of age.
  • TWIC (Transportation Workers Identification Card)
  • Medical Certificate
  • Drug testing compliance (within 6 months)
  • Sea Service letters or discharges 

USCG QMED Sea Service Requirements

  • 180 days of service in a rating at least equal to that of a wiper or coal passer
  • Approved training programs, other than those classified as a school ship, may substitute for up to one-half of the required service. OR
  • A graduate of a school ship may qualify for a rating endorsement as QMED, without further service, upon satisfactory completion of the program of instruction. For this purpose, school ship is interpreted to mean an institution that offers a complete approved program of instruction, including a period of at-sea training, in the skills appropriate to the rating of QMED.
  • Training programs, other than those classified as a school ship, may be substituted for up to one-half of the required service. The service/training ratio for each program is determined by the Coast Guard.
  • If service before March 24, 2014: If mariner’s service or training started prior to March 24, 2014, the mariner may qualify, test and be issued for the single ratings of Pumpman; Machinist; Electrician and Refrigerating Engineer

QMED Ratings Notes

  •  Mariners holding a single rating that is now combined and request the combined rating will need to pass the appropriate exam.
  • After March 24, 2015, original single ratings original Deck Engine Mechanic or Engineman will not be issued
  • Mariners may renew any previous endorsement as is.
  • If service started BEFORE March 24, 2014, and has qualified prior to March 24, 2015 (including service and exam), they can still qualify for single ratings, Deck Eng Mechanic and Engineman if they choose.
  • If service started ON OR AFTER March 24, 2014, the mariner can only receive combined ratings and cannot receive Deck Engine Mechanic or Engineman.

Exams and Other Important Notes

  • Course completion certificate in lieu of Coast Guard examination
  • Engineer Officers will be endorsed for all entry level ratings and any other QMED ratings for which they qualify.
  • All others must pass the individual QMED examinations to receive the corresponding individual QMED rating endorsements
  • If all QMED exams passed, you will receive QMED Any Rating
  • “Any Unlicensed Rating in the Engine Department” is now QMED Any Rating

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