USCG Policies by Subject

The following policy letters have been provided for the purpose of informing the general public of the US Coast Guard's standing or views on various subject areas. These documents should be used to assist schools seeking general information on course approvals, or mariners seeking information on attaining licenses, documents and endorsements.

Course / Site / Instructor Approval (click to expand)
USCG Policy letters relating to Course, Site or Instructor Approvals listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are PDF documents
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
1-98 Approval of courses offered outside the United States    
4-98 Request for Approval of Instructors after Initial Course Approval Superseded by regulation change 46 CFR 11.302
7-98 Submission of Application for courses approval Superseded by regulation change 46 CFR 11.302
9-98 Fire Fighting Course Approval    
14-98 Standards for Approval of Basic Safety Training Courses    
15-98 Approval of Survival craft and Lifeboat training Courses    
20-98 Alternate Site Approvals for Training    
1-99 Instructor Requirements    
4-99 Approval of Stereo Optical Company Farnsworth Lantern (Falant) Color Perception Test Replaced by NVIC NVIC 4-08,
Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials
5-00 Approval of Programs Leading to Certification as a rating forming part of a Navigational Watch    
7-01 Recognition of Training Courses Approved or Accepted by Foreign Administrations    
03-02 Acceptance of radar observer (unlimited) courses to satisfy requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) Informational notice no longer required 46 CFR 11.305
08-02-Change 2 Electronic Submission of request for course approval Superseded by NMC Guidance Document 01-06 46 CFR 11.302
08-02 Electronic Submission of request for course approval    
Exams (click to expand)
USCG Policy Letters regarding Merchant Mariner Examinations listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are to PDFs
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
16-01 Merchant Marine Licensing Examination Question Comment and Protest Contained in Deck & Engine Guide

Deck and Engineering Guide

02-02 Administration of examinations for certain deck and engine licenses subject to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) Contained in Deck & Engine Guide

Deck and Engineering Guide

Fire Fighting (click to expand)
USCG Policy Letters regarding Fire Fighting training listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are to PDFs
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
9-98 Fire Fighting Course Approval    
10-99 Fire Fighting Turnout gear for live Fire Training    
Identification / Foreign (click to expand)
USCG Policy Letters regarding verification of indentification for foreign nationals listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are to PDFs
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
10-02 Employment of foreign nationals on U.S.-flag vessels    
11-02 Verification of Identity of Students in Coast Guard Approved Courses    
07-03 Requirements for Fingerprinting and a Safety and Security Check When Issuing a Merchant Mariner's Document (MMD) with a New Expiration Date. [Enclosure 1] Table of MMD Transactions Superseded by NMC Guidance Document 03-06 46 CFR 10.209
Licenses / Licensing (click to expand)
USCG Policy Letters regarding Merchant Mariner Credentials listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are to PDFs
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
18-98 Consistency of Evaluations Obsolete due to centralization 71 FR 48480-01
5-99 Evidence of Completion of Basic Safety Training (BST) Replaced by NVIC NVIC 5-00,
Guidance on Performance Measures Used to Assess Seafarers' Proficiency in Programs in Basic Safety Training Meeting the Requirements on the International Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as Amended
1-00 Sea Service Credit in the Gulf of Mexico    
3-00 Guidance for determination of user fees Superseded by regulation change 46CFR 10.219
2-01 Guidance for Issuance of gas turbine endorsement    
5-01 Lifeboatman and proficiency in Survival Craft (PSC) Qualifications for service on vessels not equipped with lifeboats Transition provisions self-cancelling as of Feb. 1, 2002 46 CFR Subpart 12.10
6-01 Qualifications for issuance of type rating endorsements authorizing service on high-speed craft    
8-01 In-Service Qualifications as a Lifeboatman and Certification as proficient in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Also see Policy Letter 01-03    
9-01 Evaluating experience aboard commercial vessels that do not get underway or that get underway for only limited periods    
10-01 Sea Service Credit for Approved Courses    
12-01 Continuing Competency in Basic Safety Training (BST)    
16-01 Merchant Marine Licensing Examination Question Comment and Protest Contained in Deck & Engine Guide

Deck and Engineering Guide

01-02 Applicants for ocean or near coastal mate license for service on vessels of 500 or more gross tonnage (GT) (200 gross register tons [GRT]) with qualifying service or training beginning on or after 1 August 1998 and all applicants beginning 1 February 2002. [Part 2]PDF filetype indicator image, [Part 3]PDF filetype indicator image, Also see Policy Letter 16-02 Cancelled as of July 1, 2011 CG 543 Policy Letter 11-07
04-02 Applicants for ocean or near coastal Master and Chief Mate licenses for service on vessels of 3000 or more gross tonnage (GT) with qualifying service or training beginning on or after 1 August 1998 and all applicants beginning 1 February 2002    
05-02 Administration of oaths to applicants for merchant mariner's credentials Superseded by NMC Guidance Document 04-06 46 CFR 10.225(e)
09-02 Validity of licenses for service on vessels of not more than 200 gross tons (GT) valid for service on oceans Expired grandfathering provision. Cancelled as of Feb. 1, 2002 46 CFR 11.202
13-02 Endorsements on a Merchant Mariners Document (MMD) Issued to a Licensed Officer Superseded by regulation change 46 CFR 12.02-11(a)(1)
14-02 Qualification for deck and Engineering Ratings Attachments A&B of enclosure (2) are replaced by NVIC 01-06 NVIC 01-06, Guidelines for Assessment of Merchant Mariner's Proficiency for Certification as Ratings Forming Part of an Engineering Watch Through Demonstration of Skills
16-02 Change 1 to NMC Policy Letter 01-02 Cancelled as of July 1, 2011 CG 543 Policy Letter 11-07
02-03 Processing Applications for Mariner Credentials For Service on Seagoing Vessels Beginning 1 February 2003    
04-03 Acceptance of STCW assessments of Skills to Qualify for Near Coastal and Oceans Towing Vessel Licenses and Endorsements    
06-03 Qualification for Issuance of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Endorsements    
07-03 Requirements for Fingerprinting and a Safety and Security Check When Issuing a Merchant Mariner's Document (MMD) with a New Expiration Date. [Enclosure 1] Table of MMD Transactions Superseded by NMC Guidance Document 03-06 46 CFR 10.209
09-03 Procedures to Prevent Reduced Periods of Validity of a Mariner's Credentials at Renewal Superseded by Regulation 46 CFR 10.205
46 CFR 10.209
See, "Coast Guard Clarifies Delayed Issuance" Bulletin for further information
11-07 Qualification VIA "The Hawsepipe" for STCW Endorsement As Office in charge of a navigation watch on ships of 200 GRT/500 GT or more.    
10-03 Restricted Endorsements for Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC) as Operator Of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV)    
11-15 Merchant Mariner Credentials for Mariners Not Requiring a Transportation Worker Identification Credential    
Medical (click to expand)
USCG Policy Letters regarding Medical standards for Mariners listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are to PDFs
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
11-98 Medical Standards for Entry Level Ratings Superseded by NVIC 04-08 46 CFR 10.215(e)(2)
9-99 Medical Training and Qualifications Set Forth in the International Convention an Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW)    
Qualifications (click to expand)
USCG Policy Letters regarding Profession Qualifications required to become a Merchant Mariner listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are to PDFs
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
01-02 Applicants for ocean or near coastal mate license for service on vessels of 500 or more gross tonnage (GT) (200 gross register tons [GRT]) with qualifying service or training beginning on or after 1 August 1998 and all applicants beginning 1 February 2002. [Part 2]PDF filetype indicator image, [Part 3]PDF filetype indicator image, Also see Policy Letter 16-02    
04-02 Applicants for ocean or near coastal Master and Chief Mate licenses for service on vessels of 3000 or more gross tonnage (GT) with qualifying service or training beginning on or after 1 August 1998 and all applicants beginning 1 February 2002    
14-02 Qualification for deck and Engineering Ratings Checklists and assessment control sheets replaced by NVIC NVIC 01-06, Guidelines for Assessment of Merchant Mariner's Proficiency for Certification as Ratings Forming Part of an Engineering Watch Through Demonstration of Skills
15-02 Sea Service on Vessels Measured Under the International Tonnage Convention System Superseded by Policy Letter 11-12  
06-03 Qualification for Issuance of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Endorsements    
11-07 Qualification VIA "The Hawsepipe" for STCW Endorsement As Officer in charge of a navigation watch on ships of 200 GRT/500 GT or more.    
Safety / Survival (click to expand)
USCG Policy Letters regarding Safety training of mariners listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are to PDFs
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
14-98 Standards for Approval of Basic Safety Training Courses    
15-98 Approval of Survival craft and Lifeboat training Courses    
5-99 Evidence of Completion of Basic Safety Training (BST) Replaced by NVIC NVIC 5-00,
Guidance on Performance Measures Used to Assess Seafarers' Proficiency in Programs in Basic Safety Training Meeting the Requirements on the International Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as Amended
5-01 Lifeboatman and proficiency in Survival Craft (PSC) Qualifications for service on vessels not equipped with lifeboats Transition provisions self-cancelling as of Feb. 1, 2002 46 CFR Subpart 12.10
8-01 In-Service Qualifications as a Lifeboatman and Certification as proficient in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Also see Policy Letter 01-03    
12-01 Continuing Competency in Basic Safety Training (BST)    
08-03 Removal of Dates for Completion of Basic Safety Training (BST) From Certificates Issued Under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as Amended (STCW) Informational notice no longer required 46 CFR 11.202(b)
STCW (click to expand)
USCG Policy Letters regarding IMO Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping listed by document number, title, action, and documents referenced. Links are to PDFs
Document PDF document indicator icon image Title Action Reference
24-98 Application of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW), to Engineering Personnel NMC Policy Letter 14-02 cancelled
Enclosure (2)
NMC Policy Letter 14-02, Qualifications for Deck and Engineering Ratings
9-99 Medical Training and Qualifications Set Forth in the International Convention an Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW)    
6-00 Clarification of Navigational and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 7-00 on the application of STCW on vessels less than 200 GRT    
7-00 Licenses and Certifications Issued under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) for Service on Offshore Supply Vessels (OSV)- Change 1 to Policy Letter 7-00    
12-01 Continuing Competency in Basic Safety Training (BST)    
14-01 Exceptions to the Application of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) to Seagoing Vessels. [Enclosure 1] PDF filetype indicator image, Evaluation of a Request for Exemption from the STCW Superseded by regulation change 46 CFR  15.103
15-01 Acceptance of courses completed prior to the implementation of the 1995 amendments to the international convention on standards of training, certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers, 1978 (STCW) Informational notice no longer required. Cancelled by Policy Letter 11-12. Approved Courses
02-02 Administration of examinations for certain deck and engine licenses subject to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) Contained in Deck & Engine Guide

Deck and Engineering Guide

03-02 Acceptance of radar observer (unlimited) courses to satisfy requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) Informational notice no longer required 46 CFR 11.305
09-02 Validity of licenses for service on vessels of not more than 200 gross tons (GT) valid for service on oceans Expired grandfathering provision. Cancelled as of Feb. 1, 2002 46 CFR 11.202
10-02 Employment of foreign nationals on U.S.-flag vessels    
12-02 Conducting Assessments of Skills to Satisfy Requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as Amended Informational notice no longer required

46 CFR 11.301(g)

46 CFR 12.02-11(d)
13-02 Endorsements on a Merchant Mariners Document (MMD) Issued to a Licensed Officer Superseded by regulation change 46 CFR 12.02-11(a)(1)
15-02 Sea Service on Vessels Measured Under the International Tonnage Convention System Superseded by Policy Letter 11-12  
04-03 Acceptance of STCW assessments of Skills to Qualify for Near Coastal and Oceans Towing Vessel Licenses and Endorsements    
08-03 Removal of Dates for Completion of Basic Safety Training (BST) From Certificates Issued Under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as Amended (STCW) Informational notice no longer required 46 CFR 11.202(b)
12-05 Hours of Rest--Implementation of the 2010 amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978.    
12-06 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended, endorsements as vessel personnel with designated security duties and for security-awareness.    
12-07 Guidance on issuance of endorsements and approval of Training to meet the 2010 amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW).