January 26, 2021

Able Seaman Requirements

There has been a lot of confusion about a rule that was put in place on 24 March 2014. This new rule states that Able Seaman that fall under the new requirements MUST have Lifeboat Training in order for their credentials be issued.

New Able Seaman Requirements

The new requirements for Able Seaman have been coming down the line for quite some time. Lets look at the reason the U.S. Coast Guard has now started changing the rules for Able Seaman Requirements

  • Abandon Ship is the most important aspect of sailing on ships. This drill requires efficiency and training. It is literally life or death.
  • The Coast Guard must continue lining up their requirements with that of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

What This Means for Mariners

Mariners who serve as a Deck Rating of Able Seaman must now show that they have the required Knowledge, Understanding, & Proficiency to demonstrate the following;

  • How to launch and recover a life raft
  • How to operate pyrotechnics
  • How to operate emergency radio equipment such as;
    • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
    • Search & Rescue Transponder (SART)
    • Very High Frequency Radio (VHF Radio)
  • How to operate/Take command of a Rescue Boat.

These practical demonstrations can be found as part of NVIC 04-14 

Do Your Homework

Mariners seeking to attend an Able Seaman Course are cautioned that not all courses will satisfy the exam requirements for Able Seaman. Most of these courses were written before March 24 2014. If the school did not update their AB Course to align with these new rules, they most likely will not satisfy the exam requirements for Able Seaman

Why is this important?

The Able Seaman course we offer does satisfy the exam requirements for Lifeboat Limited. This means that along with our Lifeboat Limited Assessments, students will satisfy both the exam requirements and the practical demonstration requirements of NVIC 04-14 to qualify for Able Seaman.

Another reason is that Qualified Assessors can sign off on your NVIC 04-14 Assessments. The Master or Mate of your own vessel may qualify to sign off on your assessments if they hold a Qualified Assessor for Lifeboat.

How to qualify for an Able Seaman Endorsement

  1. Must be 18 years old
  2. Must be a U.S Citizen or be an alien approved for permanent residence.
  3. Must hold a Medical Certificate or be approved for a Medical Certificate.
  4. Must be Drug Testing Compliant.
  5. Mariner fees must be paid

Sea Service Requirements for Able Seaman

  1. Able Seaman Unlimited
    • 1080 days deck service on Oceans or Great Lakes.
  2. Able Seaman Limited
    • 540 days deck service on vessels of 100 GRT or more, not exclusive to rivers & smaller inland lakes of the U. S.
  3. Able Seaman Special
    • 360 days deck service on navigable waters of the U. S.
  4. Able Seaman OSV
    • 180 days deck service on navigable waters of the U. S.
  5. Able Seaman Sail
    • 180 days of deck service on sailing school vessels, oceanographic research vessels powered primarily by sail or equivalent sail vessels on any navigable waters of the U. S
  6. Able Seaman Fishing
    • 180 days of deck service, not as a processor, on any navigable waters of the U.S.
  7. Able Seaman MODU (Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit)
    • 360 days of service on vessels 65 feet or over on any navigable waters of the U.S.

Requirements for all Able Seaman

All able seaman must qualify for Lifeboatman or Lifeboat Limited 

Able Seaman Exam

Course completion in lieu of exam.

Able Seaman National Checklist

Latest Articles

1909, 2022

How to Get a Boating Captain’s License

September 19, 2022|Comments Off on How to Get a Boating Captain’s License

What should you know about getting a boating captain's license, and what is the process? Read this guide to learn what to consider and how to get started.

2208, 2022

The Top 5 Best Jobs with a Captain’s License

August 22, 2022|Comments Off on The Top 5 Best Jobs with a Captain’s License

Getting your captain's license is an exciting time in your life. What's even more exciting are the job opportunities that come with your OUPV license. Check out this article to learn more about some of the best jobs to pursue once you get your captain's license!

2601, 2021

Able Seaman Requirements

January 26, 2021|Comments Off on Able Seaman Requirements

There has been a lot of confusion about a rule that was put in place on 24 March 2014. This new rule states that Able Seaman that fall under the new requirements MUST have Lifeboat Training in order for their credentials be issued.

110, 2020

What is a Captains License

October 1, 2020|Comments Off on What is a Captains License

Nothing says class and fortitude than flashing your very own Captain’s License. As many boat owners miss out on the fun and bragging rights of cruising around behind the ship’s wheel.

709, 2020

Renew Your Captains License – A Maritime Guide

September 7, 2020|Comments Off on Renew Your Captains License – A Maritime Guide

The process of renewing your Captains License is sometimes very confusing. With the National Maritime Center always behind on issuing mariners their Merchant Mariner Credentials, maritime professionals are starting the process earlier than normal.

1203, 2020

5 Best Resources to get Able Seaman Jobs

March 12, 2020|Comments Off on 5 Best Resources to get Able Seaman Jobs

Are you wondering how to get Able Seaman Jobs? This article will show you the absolute best resources for you to get hired on as an Able Seaman.

View All Articles