Able Seaman Requirements

Able SeamanThere 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.

Choosing the Right Able Seaman Course2021-05-27T13:25:50+00:00

Choosing the right Able Seaman course to receive your endorsement can be a bit tricky. Not all Able Seaman classes are equal. You want to be sure of a couple things, especially if you are new to the industry. 

Since 2014 all Able Seaman must have some sort of lifeboat training in order to receive your Able Seaman Certification. The U.S. Coast Guard will not issue an Able Seaman rating unless the lifeboat training requirements is met.

In years past, only mariners who were seeking out an Able Seaman Unlimited rating, had to have Lifeboat Training (Proficiency in Survival Craft). 

Now ANY rating of Able Seaman must have some sort of lifeboat training.

Follow these steps BEFORE choosing an Able Seaman Course.

  1. Ask if the course satisfies the requirements for ANY RATING of Able Seaman. If not, do not attend that class. Upgrading from AB Special to AB Unlimited will require additional testing if you attend this class. 
  2. Ask if the class satisfies the testing requirements for lifeboat training. Many schools have not changed their curriculum since 2014 and have not added those requirements. You may have to actually test for your Lifeboat Limited at the Coast Guard Regional Exam Center, AND find somewhere to take lifeboat assessments.
  3. Not all Able Seaman are required to hold Proficiency in Survival Craft, Some schools will tell you that you must take this course, NOT TRUE! This is just a ploy to get more money out of you. 
    1. Proficiency in Survival Craft is mandatory ONLY for mariners who work on vessels with LIFEBOATS.
    2. Lifeboat Limited Assessments can be given to the mariner by a Qualified Assessor either at the school or on your own vessel. Look up NVIC 04-14 for more details

Choosing the right able seaman course doesn’t have to be hard, you just need to do a little homework and ask questions. If the school cannot answer these questions, you should really be cautious about attending this class. 

For more information, Check out our Able Seaman with Lifeboat Course

Able Seaman Requirements2021-09-07T19:37:52+00:00

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

By |2021-09-09T17:06:45+00:00January 26th, 2021|Getting into Maritime Industry, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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