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Coast Guard Announces New Merchant Mariner Credential

Feb. 26, 2024

The U.S. Coast Guard announced a new merchant mariner credential (MMC) set to launch on March 1, 2024. This milestone marks the first comprehensive revision of the mariner credential in nearly a decade and is strategically designed to enhance both the quality of service and security within the Marine Transportation System (MTS). As the exclusive source of U.S. mariner credentials, the Coast Guard will continue to grant these credentials to mariners who meet the necessary qualifications and suitability criteria, enabling them to serve on U.S. flagged vessels.  

MMCs are required for U.S. mariners who serve on commercially operated vessels such as passenger boats, tug and barges, offshore supply vessels, and deep draft ocean going cargo vessels throughout the nation and internationally. The Coast Guard is replacing the MMC passport-style booklet (“Red Book”) with a new certificate size one page credential. The new credential will be issued to all mariners after the implementation date.     

In response to the evolving needs of the Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC), a decision has been made to update the Merchant Mariner Credentialing process. The existing passport style credential printers at NMC are outdated and due for replacement, prompting the need for a more reliable and modern solution. As a result, NMC will now issue the new credential on 8.5" x 11" waterproof synthetic paper, sourced from the Government Printing Office (GPO). This updated credential incorporates improved security features including anti-copy measures, micro-printing, foiling, and intricate patterns. You can view a sample of the new credential on the NMC website at https://www.dco.uscg.mil/national_maritime_center/.  

Existing passport style credentials will not be replaced immediately, and mariners will receive their new credential during the next application process with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is planning a long-term credentialing solution in the form of an electronic credential or E-credential. E-credentials will contain all required information and security features to meet domestic and international requirements. In addition, the Coast Guard plans to provide printing options for mariners to obtain paper or other non-electronic versions.  

A Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 01-24) and a Federal Register Notice (2024-03568) are also available on the new credential.     

Mariners with questions regarding their individual application or issuance of the new credential, can contact NMC Customer Service Center by e-mailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil or calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662). 

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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.