Hello everyone,
I am in dire need of help, guidance, and true assistance

I got out of the us navy in mar 22’ and have since started communicating with an USCG accredited maritime school. I have 4 1/2 years of sea service aboard a CVN as an MM3 and the counselor told me it equates to about 1,000 days credited towards sea time. Originally my plan was to pursue my 100-ton but due to being an engineering rate I will purse a career with QMED. Please excuse my verbiage and any ignorance as I’m not well versed in these topics.

There are three things I need help with:

  1. The school I’m applying to wants to get me in class before I receive a letter of approval from the CG to credit my military sea time so I’m not stuck waiting. I received a general under honorable due to drug abuse (no njp or court martial~unique case) and anticipate a delay in my process. Also, the only forms I have supporting my sea time is an HOA from the navy, my evals, and my orders. I’d like to know if anyone has any guidance on if I should go ahead with starting class while the CG sorts through my paper work or wait until the letter of approval to test.

  2. My true goal is to become a captain of a yacht but for now I will settle with pursuing the role of chief engineer on a yacht, since I meet the requirements. This being my current reality, what path of courses, licenses, or certifications will be the most direct path to reach my goal? Also if anyone has any experiences they’d like to share about their path. Not sure what direction to take and the counselor of the school, although knowledgeable, lacks real experience on the subject matter, in my opinion.

  3. Although I will work towards being a chief engineer I can’t ignore my goal of captaining my own yacht. What’s the best way to work towards my 100-ton license sea time and how to get hours?

In advance, I’d like to take the time to thank any and all that can help me in my transition to normal life!

I can’t answer your specific questions but I have two comments:

First, it is imperitive (if you haven’t already) to verify with the USCG NMC whether your drug-abuse related history will preclude or hinder you from obtaining a Merchan Mariner Credential (MMC).

Second, the path to captain and the path to engineer are quited different, require different courses for different endorsements/credentials, different sea time and assessments while holding said endorsements/credentials, etc. Either track will take an investment of time and money, so you need to think long and hard about whether it’s worth becoming an engineer if what you really want is to become a captain. It’s all well and good to obtain a credential that gives you credit for your past experiences, but not if you don’t really want to use it. Just for thought.

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I assume your seatime is on a vessel greater than 3000hp? If so it’ll account as unlimited.

If the CG allows you to get an MMC, I’d skip the school and just test for QMED. Once you have it it’s only another 80 days to sit for 3AE/DDE Unlimited.

The DDE (designated duty engineer) is the important one to have for yachts.

Get a job on the great lakes so you don’t have to worry about STCW, make some money and get your license and continue to make money while you figure things out.

Most yachts are foreign flagged and use a different credentialing system. You may need to take classes for these anyways to get the yachtie ratings.

I advocate on getting what you can so you have something fall back on.


One issue you might have is propulsion mode. As CVNs are propelled by steam turbines, they might not give you credit towards a motor license.

As far as advice, I would recommend getting very familiar with this:

As it includes most everything you need to know about getting the various US credentials.

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You need to clarify with this counselor. Your time as MM3 (E-4 and above?) should count as QMED time towards a 3rd Assistant Engineer. Specifically, if you have 1080 days of service in the engine room with 720 days as QMED or equivalent position then that is all the time you need to go directly to 3rd Assistant Engineer and skip QMED. If you don’t have enough time for the Engineer, then unless I’m mistaken you’ll need to get your QMED then obtain an additional 1080 sea days to qualify for Engineer.

So find out if its “about 1,000 days” or if its at least 1,080 days.

(edit: that 1080/720 I believe is days of creditable time, which I think is 60% of your navy time, again something you should clarify with the NMC)


Great info, especially that link.

To the OP, the chart in the previous post specifically says service as E4 so unless you signed onboard as E4, all of your time will not count as QMED.

So 4.5 years x 360 = 1620 sea days x 60% credit = 972 creditable days. Some portion of which will be as E4 which will count towards:

720 you need as QMED for the 3AE-Unlimited, or
540 you need as QMED for AE-Limited/AE-OSV/DDE-Unlimited, or
360 you need as QMED for DDE-4000

After reading the checklists to get this info, I am more sure propulsion mode is going to be a problem for you.

Honestly, if I were you, I’d apply for AMO’s TECH program:

As much as it pains me to steer someone towards AMO, their path to 3AE is pretty sweet. Per that link, their next session starts in September and you have to apply before June 6 (D-Day if you will).

Now I’m curious…taking your hypothetical math for arguments sake of 972 creditable days, if 720 were actually credible for the QMED time requirement for 3AE-Unlim, that would leave only 108 days (1080-972) shy of the total “days of service in the engineeroom” requirement. Couldn’t those 108 days be done as a Wiper now, then submit the totality as meeting the requirement for 3AE?

Yes they could (AFAIK).

NMC customer service will not tell you what disqualifies you and only directs you to their link if you have any questions or concerns.Thankfully I have the benefits earned through my service to help with the finances. However, I appreciate the words and take them into strong consideration. Thank you for your response!

Definitely trying to add layers and depth into my resume so I will definitely look into any international accreditations required for yachts. Yes, vessel greater and less than 3000hp, I have experience with both. I am going to the school to better understand what I will be expected to know for the crediting exam.

We have small boats (RHIB’s) on every CVN that the MM’s own and operate. Y’all may be thinking pit snipes but I was AUX. I know I have the ability to provide supplemental paperwork to support this. Appreciate the insight though because that is something I will definitely have to look into.

Apply for and/or receive the following through training:

● Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
● U.S. Merchant Mariner’s Credential (endorsed as Wiper)
● STCW Basic Training endorsement (5-day course)
● STCW Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (VPDSD) and Security Awareness (SA) endorsements (1-day course)
● STCW Two-Year Medical Certificate
● Passport
● Printout of DOT-approved drug screen (within six months)
● Full COVID Vaccination

Then go to an MFOW hiring hall (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Honolulu).

Even if you do not have QMED endorsements, you will get out as a Wiper and get any required sea time you need to advance while making good money.

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I’m not 100% certain but as a Navy Veteran there are a couple of steps. 1st you must get your sea service letter from the military records office in St.Louis Mo.
the USCG only counts 1/3 of your Navy ship time as actual sea time.
I am certain you learned much on the CVN however if you start with your QMED I highly recommend MET Maritime Educational Texts for study guides out of Houma La. You will need to pass your QMED than Oiler and there is a variety of other 50 question tests to take for unlicensed ratings in Engineering.
I started this way after serving 4 years on a CV .
Best of luck to you

It’s 60%, see 46 CFR 10.232(d)(1).

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That’s right. Stand corrected.

I would recommend the OP review this document from the NMC, as it specifically says a DD-214 is itself not sufficient.

• Sea service documentation must contain vessel information such as the name of each vessel or its official number, the period of time the mariner was assigned to each vessel, horsepower, tonnage, area of operation, rating for enlisted or rank for officers, and position held while assigned to a vessel.
a) A DD-214 form will not be accepted to document sea service because it does not include all of the required information.

That is a change from when I went thriugh tbe process. Which is stated in my post.

But I will delete it becasie I do not want to confuse anyone.

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Yeah my dd214 was not sea Service they need Sea service records specifically and I have a whole thread on how long that took me to get