New MMC Format

Good afternoon,

The Coast Guard is replacing the Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) passport style booklet (“Red Book”) with a new credential. The new credential is effective March 1, 2024, and will be issued to mariners after that date.

The age of the Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) printers for the passport style credential combined with their significant use has necessitated a need to issue a new MMC. To move to a more reliable and modern printing process, the new credential is formatted on 8.5” x 11” water resistant synthetic paper containing several security features including anti-copy, micro-printing, foiling, and intricate patterns. The new credential is produced on readily available commercial printers significantly reducing printing times.

The new MMC will be issued to mariners during their next application, while the existing passport style credentials will remail valid until expiration. (valid for 5 years after issuance date) The Coast Guard is planning for a long-term credentialing solution in the form of an electronic credential, or E-credential. The medical certificate will not change.

If mariners have any questions regarding the new credential, please contact the NMC Customer Service Center by e-mailing or calling 1-888-IASKNMC(427-5662).

For more information on this notice or policy related questions, please contact the Office or Merchant Mariner Credentialing (CG-MMC) at

A sample of the new MMC is attached to this email.


Brian T. Eichelberger

Marine Transportation Specialist

Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing (CG-MMC-1)

U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters

New_Merchant_Mariner_Credential.pdf (1.7 MB)

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I wish they’d just go back to the old licenses again.


You mean one that “is produced on readily available commercial printers significantly reducing printing times.”???



I’m confused, is that printed front and back?
Are you supposed to fold it up?
If it’s not a book why keep the book-page layout?
If everything doesn’t fit on that second page do you have a stack of these things?

I second the vote for return to the old paper license.


Simply cannot wait for the state of disrepair the average sailor will be handing me this in. Every captain here will know the one. Pulling wadded up bits of their credentials out of the crevices of the paper sack they keep it all in. Their Passport looks like its been left under the front seat of their car and has threads hanging from it and two pages are stuck together with chewing gum. The first thing he asks you is how the OT is. Yeaahhhh…That guy. :rofl:

The books were not as cool as the ornate licenses of the past, but they kept everything tidy for everyone. At least bring the Z card back for the unlicensed. :man_shrugging:


See attached.
new_mmc_pamphlet.pdf (846.4 KB)


So we have to fold our own little red book now?




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Here are the directions for folding your new MMC


For the deckies


You can make a broach or a pterodactyl


Holding both deck and engine endorsements, i’m curious about that myself. Guess they will just have to use a smaller font to get everything on one page?

I just renewed so luckily i don’t have to worry about it for a few years.


The USCG will apparently issue anything other than something you can be proud to hang the wall.


It’s MMC Origami!

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“On the new MMC, the document number can be found on the red cover section beneath the corresponding barcode and will have the prefix “Z”.”

Please tell me they’re either going to use our original z-numbers or reference numbers and not some whole new thing to memorize?

Your MMC has always had a document number that is different from your reference number. I suspect this is the same thing.

Thanks… I’m well aware of the Document number/reference number confusion and have to straighten my crew out on it frequently, but possibly before your time we had z-cards (so named because it had our ID number that started with z).

What I was asking @jdcavo was if he happened to know if these were going to use a whole new number or one of the ones previously assigned to our files.

No, I have a z-card. Didn’t the number from that become the reference number?

I wonder why your crew is so confused. I couldn’t even guess at what my document number of my MMC is, but I’ve known my reference number for 20 years.

Also the document number changes every time you get a new MMC. So I would expect that to continue with the new ones. I would think it’s some way to track the specific credential vs. just using the reference number.

Looking at the design of the current MMC, I think it takes up so many pages because the restrictions can take up two or three lines. To give them credit, someone had to do a lot of math and make compromises to make the limitation column wider than the endorsement column. If it’s the width whole thing, you can hope they’d be able to get more on one line and save space, looking at my STCW endorsements, they could save 9 lines if they had a little more space and could put these long ass endorsement names on one line.

It would make a lot more sense to go back to the old license, however ILO says they need to be passport sized. Love a good origami loophole.

Page 22 of this:

Looking at the Example, and comparing it to the MMC in my hand, the current Barcode in the back of the MMC is the same as your document number. Seeing that example doesn’t have a document number on the ID page, but it does have an MRN, I’m going to go on a limb and say they are just putting the document number on the barcode only, probably to help avoid confusion.