Mariner Credentialing

Merchant Mariner Credential Examinations during COVID-19 – Update

Submitted by Capt. Kirsten R. Martin
Commanding Officer, National Maritime Center

The Coast Guard is aware of the need to restart the examination process to allow mariners to obtain or upgrade credentials. We know the closure of our Regional Exam Centers (REC) and Monitoring Units (MU) due to COVID-19 has negatively affected mariners, maritime employers, and the industry as a whole.

The National Maritime Center (NMC) is working to safely reopen all examination rooms. To date, we have reopened REC Honolulu, REC Houston, REC Juneau, MU Ketchikan, and MU San Juan.

  • Regional Exam Centers: Each opening will be announced with guidance on how to schedule an examination. The Coast Guard will initially prioritize examinations by:
    • Examinations that were previously scheduled but cancelled due to COVID-19 REC closures.
    • Mariners who previously sat for examination and require retest of one or two modules.
    • Pilotage examinations.
    • All others testing requests on a first-in, first-out basis.

Due to social distancing requirements, our exam room capacity is reduced by nearly 50 percent. For that reason, we are looking at alternative means to provide examination services.

  • Pilot Organizations: Contact to coordinate potential examination activities at a location other than an REC if you have multiple Pilots/Apprentices ready to test and/or your local REC is not yet open for examinations.
  • Industry Stakeholders: Where companies and other industry stakeholders are aware of a need to test multiple mariners, are able to provide a suitable location for testing that meets CDC guidelines, and can coordinate the availability of mariners to test (minimum of five), they should contact to discuss the potential and requirements for conducting examination activities at a location other than an REC. Approvals will be subject to the availability of resources.

The NMC remains committed to working with the maritime industry to create testing opportunities. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please address your ideas, questions, or concerns to or 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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