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Ship's Captains

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Most ship officers and engineers have the Merchant Marine Credential, which is an endorsement certification issued by the U.S. Coast Guard upon passing a written exam. Captains and mariners who operate ships with U.S. flags must have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential from the Transportation Security Administration. They must pass a drug screening and take a class on shipboard safety. Ship captains and mariners who operate vessels on open oceans must have the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping endorsement from the U.S. Coast Guard. All of these credentials must be renewed every five years.

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