Shipping Documentation

Going to sea for a living includes mastery of craft on many levels. A critically important part of it today is documentation. The documentation comes in many forms and from many sources. Below are links and files that will help members navigate the paperwork part of the occupation. 

Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC)

National Maritime Center  -- the NMC is the primary source of all U.S. mariner documentation. It contains all applications, checklists, forms, fees and explanations for nearly all credentials. There are hundreds of links to announcements, legal matters, regulations, updates, phone numbers, e-submission portals, FAQ's, chats, and much more.

Just starting out? Here's how to apply for an original Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC): Step 1: get a TWIC. Step 2: Submit a complete application through from the REC to the NMC. Step 4: Wait while the application is evaluated; respond with requested additonal documentation (if any). Step 5: Credential is printed and mailed. 

Click here to see each step explained in detail with descriptions, forms and requirements.

STCW Credentials

STCW guidance The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW), sets international qualification standards for personnel on seagoing ships. There are a large range of STCW requirements. Basic Training, for example, is only one of many. These requirements have been incorporated into U.S. Regulation and Policy for certain personnel, including most SUP jobs. See U.S. Regulation, Policy, and STCW FAQs for more details about applicability, qualification, transition, and underlying national endorsement requirements.


NMC Policy and Regulations -- All manner of mariner policy and regulations is covered here. CFR's, policy letters, NVIC's, the Medical Manual, other guidance documents, the entire U.S. Code and much more. The United States Code (USC) is the official compilation and codification of federal statutes. Title 46 USC is directly related to shipping and our credentialing program. 46 CFR Parts 10, 11, 12,13,15, and 16 are directly related to the National Maritime Center's credentialing program. 33 CFR Navigation and Navigable Waters is also applicable and accessible here.

Some statutes are not self executing and require regulation to implement. Other regulations source from International Convention ratified by the United States.

 Maritime Commons -- This continuously updated official Coast Guard blog is sometimes easier to navigate especially for more updates and more recent information.


Department of State Notice on Expedited Passport Service for Merchant Mariners

Passport Office Notice for Mariners