non UK Notices USA      

This section of the site is specifically designed for NON UK deck officers. We at have started an international research project to identify the differences between different countries deck certificates and this section will be dedicated to to our work.

We have already received assistance from 2 or 3 countries around the word including the united states, Canada and Australia and I am hoping to receive more information soon.

If anyone else is interested in assisting me in this research project then please contact me any assistance will be greatly received - - United States of America
The following section has been added to assist American seafarers.  It has been provided by a second mate called Alfred Murray as part of's international research and are presented as his opinions on his experiences.  For which Deck-officer is truly grateful

The license testing and evaluation in the USA is done solely by the US Coast Guard and their regional offices. (Anchorage AK,  Baltimore MD, Boston MA, Charleston SC, Honolulu HI, Houston, TX , Juneau AK, Long Beach CA, Memphis TN, Maimi FL, New Orleans LA, New York NY, Portland OR, Pugent Sound WA,  San Francisco CA, St. Louis MO, Toledo OH) There are currently 210 US Coast Guard approved schools in the USA for receiving training to assist in gaining a license or document, or an endorsement upon your document or license. There are some programs for the lower level licenses or documents upon being evaluated by the US Coast Guard one can go to a school and completion of that program is accepted in leu of testing in a US Coast Guard regional exam center.
    The License structure is in a state of flux of late because of the STCW requirements, and the US Coast Guard attempting to change our system to meet International norms. The structure is such that an individual can go from Ordinary Seaman to Master, having passed the proper tests and attended the classes to produce the certificate some grades require. The route would be according to 46CFR10 which also shows the path of raise in grade corresponding to sea time in a graph.
The Academies provide a four year degree and the Cadet Training which is invaluable in starting out at sea but with time this skills are developed with or without a cadet break-in period. I have seen some very poor academy graduate mates and being from a school does not necessitate a better officer. The US Coast Guard must by law provide the test questions it will ask (freedom of information act). From these published books companies have developed programs to assist in studying for the license sought.  Captain Murphy created an organized set of books, based on subject, that a majority of mariners use to study on their own time.     The route from Ordinary Seaman to Master is based on time of one year increments. The Ordinary is issued with the STCW certificate of Basic Safety upon completion of that school. Able Seaman has three grades but the unlimited being the most useful. AB special, and AB OSV, are a year or less sea time. AB Limited is two years and an endorsement as Lifeboatman, AB Unlimited is three years seatime. The Engineers have a similar system with oilers/DEU.

The lower licenses are based on time and tonnage. a 6-passenger being the lowest level. then 100 ton Master usually jioned with 200 ton mate. Then 200 ton Master, 500 ton mate, The 500 ton master and 1600 ton mate. The 1600 ton master. This being divided into Ocean endorsed with a celestial course or near coastal, or lakes-bays-or-sounds.
To go beyone the limited licenses one most either have three years seatime and proper courses for endorsments or attend an academy. As of the new STCW requirements the licenses are divided up by thrid mate having no test to gain second mate and Chief Mate upgrade is combined with Master so as only seatime is required. The incredible requirement of seventeen weeks of school being the only way to make these combined upgrades. Very few can afford to leave our families to attend these schools and having to sail as we do the strain on our lives will only increase. I do not see many doing it or if they can get these schools and if they have a class open when you vacation period coinsides then maybe with two years of attending a few weeks on every vacation period one will finish these. It will be easier toward the end because our wives will have thrown us out by then and living at school will be an option now open.
    I attached a few sites for your information on The US Coast Guard web pages, and some schools, including a Labor Union school which is open to everyone. The 46CFR is the Code of Fedral Regulations partaining to Licensing. The US Coast Guard does not fully understand it as one can achieve different answers at different Exam Centers or even by different personnel in the same office. I will need to dig some more to find a complete list of schools availible in the USA and I am sure there is a site with all listed. The requirements and endorsements are many and vary upon small steps being meet.

Alfred Murray
  STCW '95 requirements for deck upgrade</A>  AMO school
  Marine PersonnelClick here: ,
  Licensing and Documentation  USCG site  ;Click here
  Maritime Institute of Technology Training & Conference Cente MM&P union School   Lower license school


Under the authority of Title 46 U.S. Code, the U.S. Coast Guard promulgates the requirements for the licensing and documentation of mariners. These requirements are found in Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 10, 12, 13, and 15. Each mariner credential has specific requirements as to age, citizenship, physical condition, character, qualifying sea service, assessments, and specialized training. Mariner credentials are issued by the Coast Guard in the form of Licenses for Deck, Engineer, and Radio Officers; Certificates of Registry (CORs) for Staff Officers; and Merchant Mariner Documents (MMDs) for unlicensed ratings of shipboard Deck and Engineering departments. Any credential, whether a License, COR, or MMD, may contain limitations as to vessel type, tonnage, propulsion, horsepower, or waters upon which service is authorized.


Title 46 CFR Parts 10, 12, 13, and 15 were designed to closely conform to the provisions for the International Convention on Standards, Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978. The 1995 amendments to STCW introduced some changes on how our U.S. domestic licensing and documentation requirements are applied to meet the SCTW Code. In general, STCW 95 applies to mariners operating on seagoing commercial vessels of greater than 500 Gross Tons (International Tonnage Convention). A STCW Certificate will be issued to mariners who meet the STCW requirements and is separate from U.S. Merchant Mariner credentials. Differences between the domestic and international tonnage measurement systems can result in significant disparities between the domestic gross register tons (GRT) and the international gross tons (GT) of a vessel. The STCW Code bases requirements on the International Tonnage Convention (ITC) of 1969 (also known as the Convention Measurement System) in terms of Gross Tons (GT). The domestic requirements in Title 46 CFR Parts 10, 12, and 13 are based on the Regulatory Measurement System and is indicated in this web page in terms of Gross Register Tons (GRT), domestic tonnage. All of the requirements in Title 46 CFR Part 15 are based on domestic tonnage (GRT), except that Subpart J (Vessels subject to requirements of STCW) is based on ITC tonnage (GT). There is no simple conversion between the two systems. Currently, for mariner licensing and documentation purposes, the only accepted equivalencies are for 200 GRT (domestic tonnage) and 1,600 GRT (domestic tonnage), which are recognized by STCW to be equivalent to 500 GT (ITC tonnage) and 3,000 GT (ITC tonnage), respectively. Therefore, STCW 95 generally applies to mariners who hold credentials for service on vessels greater than 200 GRT (domestic tonnage), 500 GT (ITC tonnage). Wherever applicable, this site distinguishes
between the domestic and ITC measurementsystems. STCW 95 also takes into account the route on which a vessel will operate and applies to "seagoing vessels." Seagoing vessel means a self-propelled vessel in commercial service that operates beyond the boundary line established by Title 46 CFR Part 7. The boundary line is different from the COLREGS Demarcation line that is used for International and Inland Navigation Rules of the Road. Seagoing service also does not include a vessel navigating exclusively on inland waters, including the Great Lakes.


Merchant mariner licenses are issued to officers in the deck and engineering departments, and radio officers. The navigation of a vessel and management of the deck department is the responsibility of the Deck Officers. Deck officers' licenses are issued by grade (e.g., Master, Chief Mate, Second Mate, Third Mate, Mate and Operator), any vessel type restrictions (e.g. Uninspected Fishing Industry or Uninspected Passenger vessels), means of propulsion (Steam, Motor, Sail or Auxiliary Sail), vessel tonnage (from not more than 5 to any gross register tons), and route (e.g., Inland, Great Lakes, Near Coastal or Oceans). The propulsion plant of a vessel and management of the engineering department is the responsibility of the Engineer Officers. Engineer officers' licenses are issued by grade (e.g., Chief Engineer, First Assistant Engineer (STCW equivalent is Second Engineer Officer), Second Assistant Engineer, Third Assistant Engineer, Assistant Engineer and Designated Duty Engineer), any vessel type restrictions (e.g. Uninspected Fishing Industry Vessels or Uninspected Passenger vessels), means of propulsion (Steam or Motor), horsepower (from 1,000 to any horsepower), and route (e.g., Near Coastal or Oceans). License limitations for deck and engineer officers, including tonnage and horsepower, are based on the type of experience of each applicant and the passing of applicable written examinations. Each license has separate general, service and examination requirements. The upkeep and operation of a vessel's radio equipment is traditionally the responsibility ofthe Radio Officer. Radio officer's licenses are issued to applicants who have a valid Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license as first or second class radiotelegraph operator. STCW 95 also requires certain officers to hold Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) certification for vessels with GMDSS. Mariners who satisfy the requirements for GMDSS certification will be issued an appropriate endorsement on their STCW Certificate as well as on their MMD.


Certificates of registry (CORs) are issued to officers in the staff department. Staff officers' CORs are issued by grade (e.g. Chief Purser, Purser, Medical Doctor, or Professional Nurse) or rating (e.g. Marine Physician Assistant, Hospital Corpsman, or Pharmacist's Mate). Staff officer applicants are not required to take a written examination, but must present a letter justifying the need for a COR. Each COR grade has separate experience requirements in the area for which a COR is sought.


Merchant mariner documents (MMDs) are issued to unlicensed personnel who support the operation of a vessel. Unqualified ratings are issued to entry level individuals who typically have little or no sea service and rating types are ordinary seaman (deck department), wiper (engineering department), or food handler (steward's department). Qualified ratings are issued based on previous sea service in a particular department or specialized training. Qualified ratings for members in the deck department are issued by rating type (e.g. Able Seaman or Bosun) and any vessel type restrictions (e.g. sail vessels or offshore supply vessels). Qualified ratings for members in the engineering department are issued by type (e.g. Qualified Member of the Engine Department) and specific rating (e.g. oiler, fireman/watertender, junior engineer, deck engine mechanic, or engineman). Other ratings are issued for specialized training or experience, such as Lifeboatman, Tankerman, or GMDSS At-Sea Maintainer.