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Step-by-Step Application Video Series

To receive a captain’s license you must submit an application packet to the US Coast Guard Regional Exam Center in your area. The section below lets you download the appropriate forms to get your captain’s license and gives a section by section explanation of each form. Follow along with the videos while you fill out your USCG captain’s license application packet. If you run into any questions along the way please Contact us so we can help you get back on track.

Section I – Personal Data

Section I of the application has three parts: Personal Data, Mariner Contact Information, and Next of Kin/Emergency Contact. The only part of the personal data section you might find confusing is the reference number. Originals will use their social security number, renewals will use their reference numbers. The Mariners Contact Information section allows you to record your home address and a shipping address if it is different than your home address. Your Next of Kin/Emergency Contact is the person closest to you; it can be a family member or friend.

Section II – Requested Credential

If you are going for a captain’s license you are in the endorsement category “officer.” If this is your first time applying for a captain’s license your transaction type is “original.” If you are getting a sailing or towing endorsement also check the “New Endorsement” in the transaction type column. If you are renewing your license check the “Renewal” box. The “Description of Endorsement Desired” area will differ from license to license and the video describes in detail what will go in that space.


Section III – Safety and Suitability

Section III – Safety and Suitability

The first part of section III says “Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC).” Leave this box blank for original applications in which the applicant has applied for a TWIC. Check this box if you are getting a renewal and already applied for the TWIC with your original application.

The second part of Section III is about “Convictions and Drug Use ” and it asks a series of questions. If you answer yes to any questions a, b, c, d, e, or f you must include a disclosure statement on form CG-719C with your application. The vast majority of offenses will not disqualify you. The US COast Guard is mostly concerned with recent offenses.

The third part of Section III is the “National Driver Registry ” and you must check the box for your application to be accepted.

Section IV – Mariner’s Consent

Section IV – Mariner’s Consent / Certification

Part 1 – Mariner Outreach System. If you choose to participate you may be contacted to help in the case of a crisis or emergency.

Part 2 – For Continuity Renewal Only. This section makes the applicant aware of regulations regarding continuity of expired licenses.

Part 3 – Consent. Do not check the box in part three unless you are under 18 years old.

Part 4 – Certification. Part 4 describes what you are certifying when you sign part 5 of the form.

Part 5 – Signature. You sign and date and a notary signs and dates the form.

Section I – Applicant Information

Small vessel sea service forms are used to document the time you spent on the water in order to qualify for your USCG captain’s license. Remember to use one small vessel sea service form per vessel.  Fill in your last name, first name, middle initial, and social security number.  If you are applying for a renewal, upgrade, or increase you will have a reference number to fill in also. Next fill in the vessel’s name and state registration numbers.  If your vessel is documented you will use the official number of the vessel. The form then asks for the vessel’s gross tons, length, width, and depth. The easiest thing to do here is fill in the vessel gross tons box as “unknown,” and the length box with the length of your vessel, leaving the width and depth boxes blank. If you would like to calculate your vessel’s approximate gross tons follow along with the gross tonnage calculation video. Next, provide the propulsion type of your vessel and the position you were in on that vessel. Keep in mind that if this is an Original License Application, you served as operator or deckhand. Next describe the waters you were on during your time on this vessel. The waters should be one of the following: Great Lakes, Inland, Western Rivers, or Near Coastal.

Section II – Record of Underway Service

Section II lets you lay out the days you were on the water. There are 12 blocks labeled with the month. Under the months are two columns of five spaces. In the left column you record the years you were on the vessel and in the right column you record the days in that year for that month. If you owned a vessel for more than five years you may need to attach another page or two so you are able to record all the years you were on the vessel. At the bottom of Section II, under the month blocks are six boxes to fill in. The top left box records the total number of days spent on that vessel, to get the answer you must add up every day you recorded on the form. The middle box on the left is the average hours underway per day. Be aware that the minimum number to put in this box is four. The bottom box on the left is average distance offshore, use your best guess of the average distance offshore and record it here. The three boxes on the right break your time up into the area where you got the sea time. If all of your time was on the Great Lakes you will put the same number as the total time. If your days were spent less than three miles offshore it was inland time. If your days were spent more than three miles offshore it was near coastal time. Your total days on the vessel may be broken up between inland and near coastal time.

Section III – Signature and Verification

Sign and date the top of section III in the boxes provided labeled signature of applicant and date. If you own the vessel you will also sign and date the bottom portion of section III as the person attesting to your time on the vessel. Next fill in your last name, first name, middle initial, email address, street address, city, state, zip code, and phone number. As the owner you must provide proof of ownership of the vessel by attaching to this form one of the following; title, registration, bill of sale, or article of incorporation. If you are not the owner of the vessel the owner, operator, or master of the vessel must sign and date for bottom section of the form in the box labeled signature and title of person attesting to your experience, and provide their contact information.

Sea Time Requirements 

Near Coastal Master Captains License:

  • 720 days total
  • 360 days seaward of the boundary line (east coast, west coast, gulf)  or on the Great Lakes
  • 90 days in the last three years

Great Lakes and Inland Master Captain’s License

  • 360 days total
  • 90 days on the Great Lakes
  • 90 days in the last three years

Inland Master Captain’s License

  • 360 days total
  • 90 in the last three years

To qualify for the Masters 100 GRT  

  • 90 days on a vessel 51 GRT or above, or
  • 180 days on a vessel 34 GRT or above, or
  • 180 days of service on a vessel 5 GRT or above while holding a captain’s license

To qualify for the 50 GRT  

  • 90 days on a vessel 25 GRT or above, or
  • 180 days on a vessel 17 GRT or above

Dot/USCG Periodic Drug Testing Form


Section I of the USCG Periodic Drug Testing Form CG-719P is the only section required to be completed by the applicant. To complete this section provide your last name, first name, middle name, reference number, social security number, signature and date. This form may not be necessary if an applicant participates in a USCG periodic testing program, random testing, or pre-employment testing. Examples and requirements for the three exemptions are on page two of the form.

Section I – Applicant Information


Fill out the applicant information section of the Application for Merchant Mariner Medical Certificate Form CG-719K by supplying your last name, first name, middle name, suffix, reference number, gender and date of birth. The second part of section I is where you supply your contact information, address, phone number, and email address. You can indicate the best methods of contacting you by checking the boxes near the appropriate fields. Be sure to write your full name (last, first, middle) and date at the bottom of each page of the form.

Sections II & III – Medical Conditions & Medications

Sections II (a) and III of the Application for Merchant Mariner Medical Certificate Form CG-719K are to be completed by the applicant and reviewed by the medical practitioner. Read over section II (a) and check the yes or no box for each condition. For each of the condition(s) which you check yes, your medical practitioner must identify the item number, the condition/diagnosis, date of onset or diagnosis, any treatment required or received, the current status of the condition, and any limitation due to the condition in the space provided in section II (b).
Section III is where applicants are required to report all prescription medications prescribed, filled or refilled, and/or taken within 30 days prior to the date that the applicant signs the CG-719K. Additionally, you must report all non-prescription medications – including dietary supplements and vitamins – that were used for a period of 30 days or more within the last 90 days prior to the date the applicant signs the form CG719K. The information reported by the applicant must be verified by a medical practitioner. Be sure to write your full name (last, first, middle) and date at the bottom of each page of the form.

Sections IV – X

Section IV – IX of the Application for Merchant Mariner Medical Certificate Form CG-719K are to be completed by the medical practitioner. In Section X the applicant must sign and date the forms to attest that, “all information provided by me on this form is complete and true to the best of my knowledge, and I agree that it is to be considered part of the basis for issuance of any medical certificate to me. I have not knowingly omitted any material information relative to this form.” Be sure to write your full name (last, first, middle) and date at the bottom of each page of the form.

Disclosure Statement

Not everyone applying for a captain’s license will need a disclosure statements on form CG-719C. Applicants that answer yes to any of the questions a – f, asked in section III of the application form CG-719B, need to submit this form with their USCG application packet. Section I asks for personal data, you must fill in your last name, first name, middle name, alias or maiden name, reference number, social security number, and date of birth. Section II is conviction and/or drug use disclosure. To disclose your conviction fill in the following boxes under “conviction 1,” convicted of, city, state/country, date, court findings, court sentence/requirements, what happened and did you comply with/are you in compliance with court order. Section III lets you acknowledge and certificate the form by signing and dating it. Processing and Issuance Fees is the website the USCG uses to accept payment for the processing and issuance of USCG captain’s licenses. The processing fee is $100 and the issuance fee is $45. To make the payment, applicants need to go to the website In the top left side of the home page type “uscg” into the search box and click the search button. There should be nine results and the eighth one down is “USCG Merchant Mariner User Fee Payment” click on the red button under that heading that says “continue to the form.” Click on the “continue to the form” button again and you will be taken to the form. The first part of the form is applicant details and consists of general information.The second part of the form is a series of five drop down menus. The first is credential category and you should select “Officer Endorsements only.” The second drop down box is labeled type of endorsements and you should select “Original Officer Endorsement.” The third dropdown box will be grayed out and not available to select. The fourth dropdown box is labeled “Examination/Testing Fees” and you should select “Course in Lieu of Exam.” The fifth dropdown box is labeled “Issuance Fees” and you should select “Pay MMC issuance fee now.” Then click the continue button and finish up payment.

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

To begin the process of getting your Transportation Worker Identification Credential or TWIC, open up a web browser and google the term TWIC or us this link You are taken to a page page which explains three steps to get your TWIC. Step One: Complete the online application or you can complete the entire process in person at an application center. Step Two: Schedule an appointment online or call (855) 347-8371 weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments take priority. Step Three: Visit a TWIC application center to: Provide required documentation, fingerprints, and facial photo. Bring your current U.S. passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate. Pay a non-refundable fee valid for five years with a credit card, money order, company check or certified/cashier’s check. Locate your nearest TWIC office by clicking on the blue button near the top of the page that says “Find an Application Center.” Once on the search page enter your zip code into the search box on the left and click the search icon. Results will be displayed below the search box and clicking on the results will reveal their address and hours of operation.

USCG Approved CPR & First Aid Course

A guide of how to locate a USCG approved CPR & First Aid course to fulfill the requirements to get your captain’s license. The first place that is explored is the American Red Cross’s website and we look at the different courses available and discuss the option of taking the course online. When we talk to the USCG about this issue the answers are vague, there is no solid answer that says either yes or no. The second avenue toward finding a USCG approved CPR & First Aid course is through the USCG website at Once on the USCG website click on the “Mariners” tab at the tip right of the page. On the page you are taken to is a box in the middle labeled search. The first link in the box labeled search is “Approved Courses,” click on the link. The page you are taken to has 5 links in the middle of the screen with the left most tab labeled “Courses.” Click on the link directly below the courses tab labeled “ Search by Courses.” The page you are taken to has a drop down menu that allows you to search by courses alphabetically so scroll down to “First Aid & CPR” and you will encounter a variety of different providers.

Captain’s License Application Checklist

This helpful guide lists everything that you must include in your USCG application packet for a captain’s license. The only thing not included in this list is a CPR & First Aid card.The checklist contains the following items:

  • TWIC application receipt
  • receipt for processing and issuance of your license
  • Disclosure Statement CG-719C
  • Application for Medical Certificate CG-719K
  • Periodic Drug testing Form CG-719P
  • Application for Merchant Mariner Credential CG-719B
  • Small Vessel Sea service form CG-719S
  • Certificate of Training from USCG approved course
  • CPR & First Aid