Ok as promised here are the steps I took to get prior Military sea time counted towards a merchant mariner license. This is a very basic outline that revolves around these three steps:
- Getting a Transcript of Sea Service
- Submitting it to the National Maritime center (NMC)
- Providing follow up documentation
This guide is based on being a veteran. It may work for active duty, it just depends on where your records are held.
FOR COAST GUARD veterans and active duty just follow the instructions on this page.
For Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Airforce: contact the record holder for your branch of service: their numbers/links can be found here
Follow the links to your record holder until you find a phone number. Most of them have it right on their main page. Call them during business hours and tell them you need a Transcript of Sea Service. They will probably ask you to just fax in a request for it. Here is the request form
For the Navy I was able to jus put all this stuff on a blank sheet of paper but find out from them. And here is the link to the Navy site
And the Navy phone number is on the top right of the page
Make sure you get the correct fax number for them. Each branch is different. I actually lost the one for navy but it’s probably best you verify yourself unless you prefer to blindly fax all your personal data to some stranger.
The most important things to fill in on your request form:
Name, social, what sea going commands you were stationed on, and your duties (watch stations, billets) at each command and the dates that you held them. Also on the form section II part one check Other and write “Transcript of Sea Service”. On part two check Other and write “for Merchant Mariner License”. Finally sign, date it, and put your address. The representative on the phone should tell you to write all of the above and possibly more so check with them. The Lady at Navy Personnel command was very helpful.
It will take them about a month from when you fax them to actually get it to you in the mail. However times vary.
Your transcript should have a break-down of the dates you were at each ship and total number of months you held each billet. Most importantly this will give you an official count of sea time. Now by policy the NMC will only give you credit for %60 of whatever sea time is on that transcript. I’m not going to go into detail on how to get more because I don’t really know how but I do know it’s not easy…
Ok step 2
Now you should have a pretty firm count of your sea time. You need to plan your application accordingly based on the number of days you have, and in what capacity in order to chose the best rating you can get for yourself. Use the search function on this forum and READ the marine safety manual
Specifically chapters: 2 for all military, 10 for deck licenses, and 12 for engineering licenses.
Also USE THE SEARCH function of this site. (I can’t stress this enough)
Now that you have a plan, submit you Application including your Transcript of sea service to the National Maritime Center. Take note I’m skipping a lot of other steps in the application process, google is your friend, also go here
Step 3: About a month later they will either approve everything or ask for more info… See below.
For officers: send them copies of your FITREPS that cover your time on each ship. DO NOT send them any FITREPS covering shore duties… Just trust me
For Enlisted: send them copies of your evals the same as above. Also copies of your Page 4 wouldn’t hurt if you have them.
I was a submarine officer, I did the above and it worked for me.
Also any qualification letters would be helpful. And any letters from your CO might be accepted, although it does say in the Marine Safety Manual that they are not. But no matter what YOU MUST start with a Transcript of Sea Service. They state multiple times in the Marine Safety Manual and the CFRs that you need this.
Hopefully this helps, and hopefully you found this thread from using the search function. I will post my specific Navy experience and how I used that to get my engineering license later in this thread. There are lots of different scenarios and I welcome all to post their stories.