(a) General. In addition to the requirements of part 10 of this subchapter, the applicant for an officer endorsement, whether original, renewal, duplicate, or raise of grade, must establish to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard that he or she possesses all the qualifications necessary (including but not limited to age, experience, character, physical health, citizenship, approved training, professional competence, and a test for dangerous drugs) before the Coast Guard will issue to him or her a merchant mariner credential (MMC). An applicant for any STCW endorsement must hold the appropriate national endorsement unless otherwise specified.
(b) English language requirements. Except as provided in § 11.467(h) of this part, an applicant for an officer endorsement must demonstrate an ability to speak and understand English as found in the navigation rules, aids to navigation publications, emergency equipment instructions, machinery instructions, and radiotelephone communications instructions.
(c) Experience and service. Applicants for officer endorsements should refer to § 10.232 of this subchapter for information regarding requirements for documentation and proof of sea service.
(1) An applicant for a national officer endorsement must meet one of the following:
(i) Have at least 3 months of required service on vessels of appropriate tonnage or horsepower within the 3 years immediately preceding the date of application; or
(ii) Have at least 3 months of required service on vessels of the uniformed services as defined in 10 U.S.C. 101(a)(5) of appropriate tonnage or horsepower within the 7 years immediately preceding the date of application; or
(2) No original officer endorsement may be issued to any naturalized citizen based on less experience in any grade or capacity than would have been required of a citizen of the United States by birth.
(3) Experience and service acquired on foreign vessels is creditable for establishing eligibility for an officer endorsement, subject to evaluation by the Coast Guard to determine that it is a fair and reasonable equivalent to service acquired on merchant vessels of the United States, with respect to grade, tonnage, horsepower, waters, and operating conditions. An applicant who has obtained qualifying experience on foreign vessels must submit satisfactory documentary evidence of such service (including any necessary translation into English) in accordance with § 10.232 of this subchapter.
(4) No applicant for an original officer endorsement who is a naturalized citizen and who has obtained experience on foreign vessels will be given an original officer endorsement in a grade higher than that upon which he or she has actually served while acting under the authority of a foreign credential.
(5) Experience acquired while the applicant was less than 16 years of age is generally not creditable. Compelling circumstances and unique experiences acquired before the applicant reaches 16 years of age will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
(d) Citizenship. No officer endorsement may be issued to any person who is not a citizen of the United States with the exception of operators of uninspected passenger vessels that are not documented under the laws of the United States.
(e) Age. Except as specified in this paragraph, no officer endorsement may be issued to a person who has not attained the age of 21 years. The required evidence of age may be established using any of the items submitted to establish citizenship set out in 49 CFR 1572.17.
(1) An endorsement may be granted to an applicant who has reached the age of 19 years as -
(i) Master of near-coastal, Great Lakes and inland, or river vessels of 25-200 GRT;
(ii) Third mate;
(iii) Third assistant engineer;
(iv) Mate of vessels of between 200 GRT and 1,600 GRT;
(v) Ballast control operator (BCO);
(vi) Assistant engineer (MODU);
(vii) Assistant engineer of fishing industry vessels;
(viii) Mate (pilot) of towing vessels;
(ix) Radio officer;
(x) Assistant engineer (limited); or
(xi) Designated duty engineer of vessels of less than 4,000 HP/3,000 kW.
(2) An endorsement may be granted to an applicant who has reached the age of 18 years as -
(i) Limited master of near-coastal vessels of less than 100 GRT;
(ii) Limited master of Great Lakes and inland vessels of less than 100 GRT;
(iii) Mate of Great Lakes and inland vessels of 25-200 GRT;
(iv) Mate of near-coastal vessels of 25-200 GRT;
(v) Operator of uninspected passenger vessels (OUPV);
(vi) Designated duty engineer of vessels of less than 1,000 HP/750 kW;
(vii) Apprentice mate (steersman) of towing vessels;
(viii) Officer in charge of a navigational watch (OICNW);
(ix) Officer in charge of an engineering watch (OICEW); and
(x) Electro-technical officer (ETO).
(f) Physical examination.
(1) Persons serving or intending to serve in the merchant marine service are encouraged to take the earliest opportunity to ascertain, through examination, whether their visual acuity, color vision, hearing, and general physical condition, are such as to qualify them for service in that profession. Any physical impairment or medical condition that would render an applicant incompetent to perform the ordinary duties required of an officer is cause for denial of an officer endorsement.
(2) Applications for an original officer endorsement, raises of grade, and extensions of route, must be current and up to date with respect to service and the physical examination, as appropriate. Physical examinations and applications are valid for 12 months from the date the application is approved.
(g) Character check.
(1) An individual may apply for an original officer endorsement, or officer or STCW endorsement of a different type, while on probation as a result of administrative action under part 5 of this chapter. The offense for which the applicant was placed on probation will be considered in determining his or her fitness to hold the endorsement applied for. An officer or STCW endorsement issued to an applicant on probation will be subject to the same probationary conditions as were imposed against the applicant's other credential. An applicant may not take an examination for an officer or STCW endorsement during any period of time when a suspension without probation or a revocation is effective against the applicant's currently held license, merchant mariner document (MMD), or MMC, or while an appeal from these actions is pending.
(2) If information about the applicant's habits of life and character is brought to the attention of the Coast Guard after an original license, certificate of registry, or officer endorsement has been issued, and if such information reasonably supports the conclusion that the applicant cannot be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities of the license, certificate of registry, or officer endorsement issued, or indicates that the application for the license, certificate of registry, or officer endorsement was false or incomplete, the Coast Guard may notify the holder in writing that the license, certificate of registry, or officer endorsement is considered null and void, direct the holder to return the credential to the Coast Guard, and advise the holder that, upon return of the credential, the appeal procedures of § 10.237 of this subchapter apply.
(h) Firefighting certificate.
(1) Applicants for an original officer endorsement in the following categories must present a certificate of completion from a firefighting course of instruction that has been approved by the Coast Guard. The firefighting course must have been completed within the past 5 years, or if it was completed more than 5 years before the date of application, the applicant must provide evidence of maintaining the standard of competence in accordance with the firefighting requirements for the credential sought.
(2) The following categories must meet the requirements for basic and advanced firefighting in Regulations VI/1 and VI/3 of the STCW Convention and Tables A-VI/1-2 and A-VI/3 of the STCW Code (both incorporated by reference, see § 11.102 of this part):
(i) National officer endorsements as master or mate on seagoing vessels of 200 GRT or more.
(ii) All national officer endorsements for master or mate (pilot) of towing vessels, except apprentice mate (steersman) of the vessels, on oceans.
(iii) All national officer endorsements for MODUs.
(iv) All national officer endorsements for engineers.
(v) All national officer endorsements for OSVs.
(vi) All STCW officer endorsements except GMDSS radio operator.
(3) The following categories must meet the requirements for basic firefighting in Regulation VI/1 of the STCW Convention and Table A-VI/1-2 of the STCW Code:
(i) Officer endorsement as master on vessels of less than 500 GT in ocean service.
(ii) All officer endorsements for master or mate (pilot) of towing vessels, except apprentice mate (steersman) of towing vessels, in all services except oceans.
(4) Applicants for a raise of grade of an officer endorsement who have not previously met the requirements of paragraph (h) of this section must do so.
(i) First-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course certificates. All applicants for an original officer endorsement, except as provided in §§ 11.429, 11.456, and 11.467 of this part, must present to the Coast Guard -
(1) Evidence of continued competency in STCW basic training in accordance with § 11.302 of this part or a certificate indicating completion not more than 1 year from the date of application of -
(i) The American National Red Cross Standard First Aid course or American National Red Cross Community First Aid & Safety course; or
(ii) A Coast Guard-approved first-aid course; and
(2) A currently valid certificate of completion of a CPR course from either -
(i) The American National Red Cross;
(ii) The American Heart Association; or
(iii) A Coast Guard-approved CPR course.
(j) Professional examination.
(1) When the Coast Guard finds the applicant's experience and training to be satisfactory, and the applicant is eligible in all other respects, the Coast Guard will authorize examination in accordance with the following requirements:
(i) Except for an endorsement required by the STCW Convention, any applicant for a deck or engineer officer endorsement limited to vessels less than 200 GRT, or an officer endorsement limited to uninspected fishing industry vessels, may request an orally assisted examination instead of any written or other textual examination. If there are textual questions that the applicant has difficulty reading and understanding, the Coast Guard will offer the orally assisted examination. Each officer endorsement based on an orally assisted examination is limited to the specific route and type of vessel upon which the applicant obtained the majority of service.
(ii) The general instructions for administration of examinations and the lists of subjects for all officer endorsements appear in subpart I of this part. The Coast Guard will place in the applicant's file a record indicating the subjects covered.
(iii) An applicant enrolled in an approved comprehensive program of training, service, and assessment will be authorized for an examination not more than 6 months prior to completion of the comprehensive program, provided all sea service and assessments of competency are completed prior to the examination.
(iv) The examination, whether administered orally or by other means, must be conducted only in the English language.
(2) When the application has been approved for examination, the approval is valid for 1 year.
(3) An examination is not required for a staff officer or radio officer endorsement.
(k) Radar observer. Applicants for an endorsement as radar observer must present a certificate of completion from a radar observer course as required by § 11.480 of this part.
(l) Restrictions. The Coast Guard may modify the service and examination requirements in this part to satisfy the unique qualification requirements of an applicant or distinct group of mariners. The Coast Guard may also lower the age requirement for OUPV applicants. The authority granted by an officer endorsement will be restricted to reflect any modifications made under the authority of this paragraph.