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Merchant Mariners

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Mariners on board most ships must have two credentials: a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC, issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) and a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC, issued only by the Coast Guard). All officers and captains must be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. To obtain the rank of captain, chief mate, or second mate, an applicant must hold documentary evidence of being a U.S. citizen. All must pass certain U.S. Public Health Service physical exams, a written examination, and U.S. Coast Guard regulations regarding years of service and size of vessel on which the applicant served. Deck officers must have full knowledge of navigation, cargo handling, and all deck department operations. The captain must have good judgment and must know admiralty law, foreign pilots' rules, and trends in world trade.

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