Mariner Credentialing

Top medical certificate “awaiting information” reasons in 2021

From Captain Bradley Clare,
Commanding Officer, National Maritime Center (NMC)

The National Maritime Center (NMC) receives more than 50,000 applications annually from U.S. Merchant Mariners applying for medical certificates.  On average, over 10 percent of those applications are missing information, which causes delays in processing and frustration for mariners.  As a reminder, the NMC previously published Common Errors Mariners Make When Submitting CG-719K (04/17), which remains valid, and will not accept incomplete medical certificate applications.

A total of 7,882 awaiting information (AI) reasons were issued in 2021 for medical certificate applications.  Below are the general and specific reasons that mariners will receive an AI letter for medical certificate applications:

General Reasons:
Top reasons include:

  • Visual acuity does not meet regulations as listed in Merchant Mariner Medical Manual, Commandant Instruction Manual (COMDTINST M16721.48), Chapter 5.
  • Additional tests not provided when there is an abnormal vision exam.
    • Conditions listed in COMDTINST M16721.48, Chapters 8, need further documentation.  This requires a current written report from your treating provider documenting the current status of the condition, history of the condition, frequency and severity of symptoms, treatment plan with all medications/side effects, ability to perform all tasks as listed in Chapter 8, and prognosis for performing safety sensitive merchant mariner duties.
  • Common conditions needing further documentation are:
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Substance Abuse
  • Heart Condition
  • Seizure Disorder.

Specific Reasons:
NOTE:  All section and page information in this section is referring to form CG-719K.

  • Required tests are incompletely documented on Page 7.
    • Medications/Conditions are not explained or commented on Page 5.
    • Response not provided for Food Handler Certification (Section II, Page 3).
    • YES or NO response not provided for each condition listed (Section III (a), Page 4).
    • Incomplete details (date of onset/condition/treatment/status/limitations) of conditions identified on Page 4 (Section III (b), Page 5).
    • No response or incomplete response to medication section (Section IV, Page 6).
    • Missing height, weight, pulse rate, and/or blood pressure (Section V, Page 6).
    • NORMAL or ABNORMAL response not provided for each system/organ identified (Section V, Page 6).
    • Missing uncorrected vision (Section VI (a), Page 7).
    • Uncorrected vision tests with corrective lenses (Section VI (a), Page 7).
    • Missing field of vision (Section VI (a), Page 7).
    • Inappropriate color vision testing method, number of errors omitted, or determination not indicated (Section VI (b), Page 7).

NOTE:  If color vision testing failed, to avoid processing delay, put handwritten note in this section that indicates the applicant’s ability to distinguish red, green, blue, and yellow; and by which method.

  • Hearing not marked as normal, abnormal, or hearing aid required (Section VII, Page 7).
    • Missing Physical Ability Results (Section VIII, Page 8).
  • Proof of identity not checked (Section IX (a), Page 9).
    • Certification recommendations (Recommended, Not Recommended, or Needs Further Review) not checked (Section IX (b), Page 9).
    • Significant risk of sudden incapacitation (Yes, No, or Needs Further Review) not checked (Section IX (c), Page 9).
  • If entry-level – Medical condition aggravated by service at sea (Yes, No, or Needs Further Review) for entry level rating not checked (Section IX (c), Page 9).
    • Provider failed to sign/date the form and/or provide license number (Section IX (e), Page 9).
    • Missing signature of Applicant (Section X, Page 9).

If you have questions regarding completion of the CG-719K, feel free to contact the NMC Help Desk at 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.