Sleep Apnea & MMC



Can anyone tell me if there are any issues getting a MMC with sleep apnea? The Coast Guard has been most unhelpful in explaining what the criteria (if any) is for obtaining a MMC if a person has obstructed sleep apnea.

Any insight would be appreciated.


No personal experience but a couple guys on my ship report delays getting through the medical with this issue. It’s not a “no sail” item though.


Do you know if they use a CPAP?


Know quiet a few guys that use CPAP’s and still sail under their license


A guy I work with has a CPAP and I guess every month he has to bring the machine in for the doctor to download something from it and then send it into the NMC. He did say that if the CG wants, they can tell him he can’t sail anymore, I don’t know how true that is. Seems a little far fetched but it honestly would not surprise me haha


Look up Sleep Apnea in NVIC 04-08 at:
It will tell you what the CG wants from your Dr.
Any other medical issues? Look it up there. I printed it out and showed my Dr. what they want for my conditions. He gave me the documentation it references, and never had an issue getting my medical certificate.


There could be issues. Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially disqualifying condition, but you could be eligible for a waiver if the condition is being treated and you can provide evidence of the efficacy of the treatment.

Generally, sleep apnea that is being effectively managed by regular, coonsistent CPAP usage will get a waiver. The waiver will be predicated on continued use of the CPAP, and will likely require you to regulalry consult with a sleep medicine professional and provide evidence of regular usage and efficacy. Most CPAPs have the capability to provide this data. If the sleep apnea is being managed by other means than a CPAP, you still have the ability to demonstrate effective treatment and to get a waiver.

As noted, it’s a disqualifying condition, and whether to grant a waiver is a subjective decision requiring review by NMC medical staff.

It’s feasible. As noted, it’s a potentially qualifying condition. If one doesn’t comply with the conditions of the waiver, including regular use of the CPAP and periodic review of the condition and the efficacy of treatment, the waiver may become invalid or not be renewed. I question whether they were threatended with revcocation in the blunt manner you stated, but the gist is feasible as a waiver is definitely subject to compliance with its terms.

For sleep apnea, see page 28 of Enclosure (3). Providing the NVIC to your doctor is good advice, it will speed the process if you can get and obtain the needed information before you apply to NMC.


And to add to all the great advice above, sleep apnea is definitely something that must be treated. There are conservative measures like weight loss or dietary changes that can be tried, but the gold standard is CPAP or BiPAP. Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to fatal complications: hypertension, stroke, heart attack, etc in addition to the obvious sleep disruption. They make nice compact machines today that pack and travel with you easily. I know a lot of mariners who use them.