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e-CFR data is current as of October 22, 2020

Title 46Chapter ISubchapter BPart 10 → Subpart C


Title 46: Shipping
PART 10—MERCHANT MARINER CREDENTIAL


Subpart C—Medical Certification


Contents
§10.301   General requirements.
§10.302   Medical and physical requirements.
§10.303   Medical waivers, limitations, and restrictions.
§10.304   General medical exam.
§10.305   Vision requirements.
§10.306   Hearing requirements.

Source: USCG-2004-17914, 78 FR 77900, Dec. 24, 2013, unless otherwise noted.

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§10.301   General requirements.

(a) The Coast Guard will issue a medical certificate to a mariner meeting the medical and physical standards for merchant mariners. The medical certificate will be issued for various periods of time based upon the endorsements the mariner holds. The Coast Guard will review all information provided and will determine whether—

(1) The applicant is physically and medically qualified for the medical certificate without any limitations, waivers and/or other conditions;

(2) The applicant is physically and medically qualified for the medical certificate with limitations and/or other conditions as specified by the Coast Guard;

(3) For an applicant who does not possess the vision, hearing, or general physical condition necessary, a medical certificate may be issued with appropriate limitations, waivers and/or other conditions as specified by the Coast Guard;

(4) Additional information is necessary to determine if the applicant is physically and/or medically qualified for the medical certificate. The Coast Guard will request additional information from the applicant. The Coast Guard may hold the package pending receipt of that information before the package and/or application is denied; or

(5) The applicant is not physically and/or medically qualified for the medical certificate. The application for a medical certificate will be denied by the Coast Guard.

(b) Except as otherwise noted, medical certificates will be issued for the following periods of time:

(1) All persons employed or engaged onboard vessels to which STCW applies will be issued a medical certificate valid for 2 years unless the mariner is under the age of 18, in which case the maximum period of validity will be 1 year.

(2) Medical certificates issued to a mariner who is serving as a first-class pilot, or acting as a pilot under §15.812 of this subchapter, will be issued for a maximum period of 2 years.

(3) Medical certificates issued to all other mariners will be issued for a maximum period of 5 years.

(4) Applicants seeking additional MMC endorsements holding a current medical certificate are not required to submit a new medical physical exam if their existing medical certification meets all of the requirements of this section for the endorsement sought.

(c) Applicants holding no endorsement other than a staff officer endorsement need not meet the medical and physical requirements of this section.

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§10.302   Medical and physical requirements.

(a) To qualify for a medical certificate, a mariner must provide evidence of meeting the medical and physical standards in this section on a CG-719-K or CG-719-K/E, as appropriate. The Coast Guard retains final authority for determining whether a mariner is medically and physically qualified. Columns 2 through 5 of Table 1 to paragraph (a) of this section provide the specific exam, test, or demonstrations required to obtain the corresponding credential listed in column 1. Further clarifications of the requirements contained in the table are found throughout this subpart.

(b) Any required test, exam, or demonstration must have been performed, witnessed, or reviewed by a licensed medical doctor, licensed physician assistant, licensed nurse practitioner, or a designated medical examiner. All licensed medical practitioners must hold a valid license issued in the United States. Medical examinations for Great Lakes Pilots must be conducted by a licensed medical doctor in accordance with the physical exam requirements in 46 CFR 402.210.

Table 1 to §10.302(a)—Medical and Physical Requirements for Mariner Endorsements

1
Credential
2
Vision
test
3
Hearing
test
4
General
medical exam
5
Demonstration of physical ability
(1) Deck officer, including pilot§10.305(a)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(2) Engineering officer§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(3) Radio officer§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(4) Offshore installation manager, barge supervisor, or ballast control operator§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(5) Able seaman§10.305(a)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(6) QMED§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(7) Able seafarer deck§10.305(a)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(8) RFPNW§10.305(a)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(9) Able seafarer engine§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(10) RFPEW§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(11) Electro-technical rating§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(12) Tankerman§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(13) Lifeboatman and Proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats (PSC)§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(14) Lifeboatman-Limited and Proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats—limited (PSC—limited)§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(15) Fast Rescue Boat§10.305(b)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)
(16) Food handler serving on vessels to which STCW does not apply§10.304(b)
(17) Food handler serving on vessels to which STCW applies§10.304(b)§10.304(c)
(18) Ratings, including entry level, serving on vessels to which STCW applies, other than those listed above§10.304(c)
(19) Ratings, including entry level, serving on vessels to which STCW does not apply, other than those listed above
(20) Vessel security officer§10.305(a)§10.306§10.304(a)§10.304(c)

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§10.303   Medical waivers, limitations, and restrictions.

(a) The Coast Guard may grant a waiver if, after review of all relevant supporting medical documents and consultation with the examining physician, as needed, an applicant does not possess the vision, hearing, or general physical condition necessary; and extenuating circumstances warrant special consideration. An applicant may submit to the Coast Guard additional correspondence, records, and reports in support of a waiver. In this regard, recommendations from agencies of the Federal Government operating government vessels, as well as owners and operators of private vessels, made on behalf of their employees, will be given full consideration.

(b) In general, medical waivers are approved when an applicant does not meet the applicable medical standards, but objective medical evidence indicates that the condition is sufficiently controlled and the effects of medication pose no significant risk to maritime and public safety. The Coast Guard retains final authority for the issuance of medical waivers.

(c) Medical waivers may be granted with specific conditions to which the applicant must adhere, such as more frequent monitoring of the medical conditions, submission of medical exams and/or tests at varying intervals to track the ongoing status of the medical condition, or operational limitations in the manner the mariner may serve under the MMC.

(d) The Coast Guard may place an operational limitation on medical and physical conditions. Any operational limitations will be reflected in the medical certificate.

(e) The Coast Guard may place a restriction on a medical certificate based upon medical and physical conditions of an applicant. Any restriction will be reflected on the medical certificate and may include restriction of route or trade.

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§10.304   General medical exam.

(a) The general medical exam must be documented and of such scope to ensure that there are no conditions that pose significant risk of sudden incapacitation or debilitating complication. This exam must also document any condition requiring medication that impairs cognitive ability, judgment, or reaction time. The Coast Guard will provide guidance on the conduct of general medical exams. Examiners should be familiar with the content and recommended medical evaluation data compiled in the medical guidelines.

(b) Food handlers are not required to submit to a general medical exam, but must obtain a statement from a licensed physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner attesting that they are free of communicable diseases that pose a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals in the workplace.

(c) Demonstration of physical ability. (1) A demonstration of physical ability is required only if—

(i) The medical practitioner conducting the general medical exam is concerned that an applicant's physical ability may impact maritime safety; or

(ii) Table 1 to §10.302(a) of this subpart shows that the mariner must pass a demonstration of physical ability.

(2) For an applicant to satisfactorily pass a demonstration of physical ability, the examiner must be satisfied that the applicant—

(i) Has no disturbance in the sense of balance;

(ii) Is able, without assistance, to climb up and down vertical ladders and inclined stairs;

(iii) Is able, without assistance, to step over a door sill or coaming;

(iv) Is able to move through a restricted opening of 24-by-24 inches (61-by-61 centimeters);

(v) Is able to grasp, lift, and manipulate various common shipboard tools, move hands and arms to open and close valve wheels in vertical and horizontal directions, and rotate wrists to turn handles;

(vi) Does not have any impairment or disease that could prevent normal movement and physical activities;

(vii) Is able to stand and walk for extended periods of time;

(viii) Does not have any impairment or disease that could prevent response to a visual or audible alarm; and

(ix) Is capable of normal conversation.

(3) Guidance on demonstration of physical ability is contained in the relevant Coast Guard guidance for the conduct of general medical exams.

(d) Reports of medical and physical exams, demonstrations, and tests. These reports must be submitted within 12 months from the date signed by the licensed medical professional. When submitted with a complete application package, these reports remain valid for 12 months from the date the Coast Guard accepts a complete application.

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§10.305   Vision requirements.

(a) Deck standard. (1) A mariner must have correctable vision to at least 20/40 in one eye and uncorrected vision of at least 20/200 in the same eye. The color sense must be determined to be satisfactory when tested by any of the following methods or an alternative test acceptable to the Coast Guard, without the use of color-sensing lenses:

(i) Pseudoisochromatic Plates (Dvorine, 2nd Edition; AOC; revised edition or AOC-HRR; Ishihara 14-, 24- , or 38-;plate editions).

(ii) Farnsworth Lantern.

(iii) Titmus Vision Tester/OPTEC 2000.

(iv) Optec 900.

(v) Richmond Test, 2nd and 4th edition.

(2) Applicants for an STCW endorsement must have correctable vision to at least 20/40 in both eyes and uncorrected vision of at least 20/200 in both eyes. A mariner who previously met these requirements and who suffers loss of vision in one eye after being issued an MMC is subject to the requirements of paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) of this section, as applicable. A mariner holding an MMC prior to January 1, 2017, must continue to meet the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(b) Engineering, radio officer, tankerman, and MODU standard. A mariner must have correctable vision to at least 20/50 in one eye and uncorrected vision of at least 20/200 in the same eye and need only the ability to distinguish the colors red, green, blue, and yellow. The color sense must be determined to be satisfactory when tested by any color-vision test listed in paragraph (a) of this section, or an alternative test acceptable to the Coast Guard, without the use of color-sensing lenses. The Coast Guard will accept Farnsworth D-15 Hue Test as a color vision test to meet the requirements of this paragraph.

(c) Vision waiver. Any applicant whose uncorrected vision does not meet the 20/200 standard and is correctable to listed standards above may be granted a medical waiver in accordance with §10.303 of this subpart. If a vision waiver is granted, a limitation will be placed on his or her a medical certificate indicating the mariner may not serve under the authority of the endorsement unless corrective lenses are worn and spare lenses are carried onboard a vessel. Waivers are not normally granted to an applicant whose corrected vision in the better eye is not at least 20/40 for deck officers or 20/50 for engineer officers.

(d) Vision operational limitation. If corrective lenses are required in order to meet the vision standards above, a mariner may not serve under the authority of the endorsement unless corrective lenses are worn and spare lenses are carried onboard a vessel. This operational limitation will be placed on his or her medical certificate.

(e) Loss of vision. A mariner having lost vision in one eye must wait 6 months from the date of the vision loss before submitting any application, and must provide a statement of demonstrated ability on his or her medical examination.

[USCG-2004-17914, 78 FR 77900, Dec. 24, 2013, as amended by USCG-2018-0874, 84 FR 30881, June 28, 2019]

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§10.306   Hearing requirements.

(a) If the medical practitioner conducting the general medical exam has concerns that an applicant's ability to hear may impact maritime safety, the examining medical practitioner must refer the applicant to an audiologist or other hearing specialist to conduct an audiometer test and a speech discrimination test, as appropriate.

(b) The audiometer test must include testing at the following thresholds: 500 Hz; 1,000 Hz; 2,000 Hz; and 3,000 Hz. The frequency responses for each ear must be averaged to determine the measure of an applicant's hearing ability. Applicants must demonstrate an unaided threshold of 30 decibels or less in at least one ear.

(c) The functional speech discrimination test must be carried out at a level of 65 decibels. For issuance of an original MMC or endorsement the applicant must demonstrate functional speech discrimination of at least 90 percent. For renewal or raise of grade, the applicant must demonstrate functional speech discrimination of at least 80 percent.

(d) Hearing waivers. An applicant who is unable to meet the hearing standards of the audiometer test, but who can pass the functional speech discrimination test; or who requires hearing aids to meet the hearing standards, may be eligible for a medical waiver in accordance with §10.303 of this subpart.

(e) Hearing operational limitation. If hearing aids are required in order to meet the hearing standards above, a mariner may not serve under the authority of the endorsement unless hearing aids are worn in the operational mode, and spare batteries are carried onboard a vessel. This operational limitation will be placed on his or her medical certificate.

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