“Military to Mariner” Do it now or later?

Does anyone have any knowledge on how best to utilize the “Military to Mariner” program? Basically if I apply for a License now I could possibly get a 3M Unlimited/500T Master. I still have at least one more sea tour which based on my understanding of the program means I could possibly sit for my Unlimited Master. But I could be wrong there too. Anyway…any insight is appreciated. Thank you.

You need to be more specific. “Military to Mariner” is a generic term for transitioning military to get a variety of merchant mariner credentials. It refers to an effort to recognize military sea service and training, not so much as to a specific program.

In general, now is better than later. When you apply for a license, a portion of your time has to have been in the last 3 years. There are efforts underway to increase that time limit, but for now, it’s 3 years.

Simply meaning that should I hold off for more Sea time…or should a get the smaller license and upgrade as I go. Recency isn’t an issue, just got off a few months ago, and sail every few months for a few weeks currently and will return for a CO tour in a little over 2 years. Thanks for your perspective.

What is a “smaller license”?

And when you say apply…are you referring to the required courses and exams?

500T maybe…definitely have everything for a 200T Master. That’s in addition to 3M Unlimited.

Submitting my MMC Application. I have the required courses and sea time (unless the CG uses some different math) obviously still need to take the exams, etc.

What courses do you have? For Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch (STCW endorsement that corresponds to 3rd Mate) there are over a dozen of them. For Master, there are six more in addition to those for OICNW. You can get the license without STCW, but you will probably find your employment options very limited without STCW.

As far as the Coast Guard’s math, relevant military sea service is credited at 70% (i.e. 10 days served is 7 days credited).

Radar Unlimited



Adv FF



First Aid/CPR



Adv Meteorology

Adv Stability

Adv Shiphandling

Aware that there is some more, but I am in a location where training is readily available and my schedule is fairly adaptable in my current position though.

Those are for Master. If you have never held OICNW, you also need to do the 12+ required fortgat endorsement, and all of the OICNW assessments. See para. 3.d of Enclosure (1) to NVIC 11-14:
Mariners who have not held an STCW endorsement as OICNW for 500 GT or More issued after 1997 must also meet the requirements of 46 CFR 11.309 for qualification as OICNW.

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I think the real question is, what do you want to do with the license? Sail for MSC, work tugboats, just to say you have it? That will define what license you need, and what you’ll have to do to get it.

That’s a great question!!! I really don’t know…the best answer right now is to just have it…from what I have seen, even some shore side jobs require you to have a license; or at least it would help. I have contemplated sailing for Maersk or even cruise lines; possibly research vessels…but those are just random thoughts. I don’t think MSC would be my first choice as I heard it is less than ideal for any type of home time or “fringe” benefits.