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US Coast Guard Announces New Merchant Mariner Credential

February 26, 2024

Example of the new certificate size one page merchant mariner credential (Image: USCG)

Example of the new certificate size one page merchant mariner credential (Image: USCG)

The U.S. Coast Guard announced a new merchant mariner credential (MMC) set to launch on March 1, 2024, marking the first comprehensive revision of the mariner credential in nearly a decade.

The Coast Guard is the exclusive source of U.S. MMCs, which 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 said it is replacing the legacy 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.

The change comes because the existing passport style credential printers at the Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) are outdated and due for replacement, prompting the need for a more reliable and modern solution, the Coast Guard said.

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.

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 said it is planning a long-term credentialing solution in the form of an electronic credential, or E-credential, containing 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.

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