STCW Frequently Asked Questions
BT is not required for Maritime Security Awareness (MSA) or Vessel Personnel with Designated Security
Duties (VPDSD). For all other STCW endorsements, valid BT is required.
No, you do not have to hold an entry level credential in order to receive an endorsement as SA
or VPDSD. When applying, you will need to submit an application, 719K/E, drug test, and
evidence that you qualify for SA or VPDSD. You will also need to enroll for a Transportation
Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
All mariners serving on vessels engaged on voyages to which the STCW applies must have
training in and an endorsement for Security Awareness. If any of their assigned duties on ship
will include security of the vessel, they must also hold the VPDSD endorsement. The STCW
regulation VI/6 covers both capacities. Depending on what you qualify for, you will have
VPDSD and/or SA listed under the capacity section of your credential.
The 2010 amendments to the STCW require all mariners serving on a vessel to which the
STCW applies to have endorsements for security awareness. All persons assigned specific
security duties must have the VPDSD endorsement.
It depends on the security endorsement requested. Vessel Security Officer (VSO) requires
certificate of completion of a Coast Guard accepted or Coast Guard approved VSO course.
VPDSD or SA requires a certificate or letter signed by a company official, or a certificate of
completion of a Coast Guard accepted or Coast Guard approved course. See NVIC 21-14 for
Yes, provided the course was completed with 5 years of the application date and that the course
was approved by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) under the voluntary program operated by
Maritime Administration (MARAD). The VPSSD course approvals for DNV and MARAD are
valid. A mariner will be issued an endorsement for VPDSD and SA upon submission of an
application and course completion certificate from a course that was approved under the
AS-D and AS-E are the STCW counterparts to the U.S. ratings of Able Seaman (AB) and
QMED. These STCW endorsements are required by mariners serving as AB or QMED on
vessels that are on voyages to which the STCW applies. More information on manning
requirements and applicability may be found in Title 46 CFR Shipping, Part 15. For more
detailed information on manning requirements, you should contact your local U.S. Coast
Guard Marine Safety Office or Unit.
• You must hold or qualify for any National endorsement as AB.
• You must show at least 12 months of service as RFPNW, this service may be reduced
with evidence of Coast Guard-approved training.
• If you hold an endorsement as AB-Unlimited or AB-Limited, you can qualify for AS-D
without showing sea service. The AS-D competencies are still required.
No. You do not need to have the RFPNW endorsed on your Merchant Mariner Credential
(MMC) to get AS-D, however, you do need to qualify for RFPNW, which requires completion of
service and competencies prior to accruing sea service towards AS-D.
Maybe. The AS-E is considered a higher endorsement than the RFPEW, however, by itself
RFPEW will not qualify you for an AS-E endorsement. In all cases, the AS-E competencies are
• You must hold or qualify for any National endorsement a Qualified Member of the
Engine Department (QMED).
• You must show at least 12 months of service as RFPEW, this service may be reduced
with evidence of Coast Guard-approved training.
• If you hold a QMED endorsement as Engineman or Deck Engine Mechanic, you can
qualify for AS-E without showing sea service.
No. You do not need to have the RFPEW endorsed on your MMC to get AS-E, however, you do
need to qualify for RFPEW, which requires completion of service and competencies prior to
accruing sea service towards AS-E.
No. See 46 CFR 12.603 and NVIC 14-14 for AS-D for more details. See 46 CFR 12.607 and
NVIC 18-18 for AS-E for more details.
Yes, if they are serving on vessels engaged on voyages to which STCW applies.
Not Since January 1, 2013. On that date, the 2010 amendments went into effect, which require
AB and QMED to hold the appropriate AB endorsement. While RFPNW and RFPEW are
required prerequisites for AB, by themselves they are no longer sufficient for mariners serving
as AB or QMED on vessels engaged on voyages to which STCW applies.
After January 1, 2017, we will not automatically add the AS-D or AS-E endorsement unless
requested on the application and the competencies are submitted.
ECDIS is a part of the STCW required competencies for master, chief mate, and OICNW; it is
not itself an endorsement. If you do not have approved ECDIS training, your STCW
endorsement(s) for master chief mate, and/or OICNW will have a limitation indicating that it
is not valid for vessels with ECDIS.
You should be issued a new MMC book with the same expiration date. If submitted with an
application for renewal you should receive a new MMC book and a new expiration date.
This limitation will only apply to your STCW endorsement as Master. Your endorsement for
OICNW, which corresponds to your 2nd Mate endorsement, will not have a tonnage limitation.
Within this policy, mariners who hold an endorsement for Tankerman-PIC (Barge) qualify for
an STCW endorsement for tank vessel service. A mariner who holds or qualifies for an
endorsement as Tankerman-PIC (Barge) will qualify for an STCW endorsement for advanced
tanker operations with a limitation to vessels that are not self-propelled.
The National endorsement as Tankerman (DL) has two possible corresponding STCW
endorsements, Advanced Oil Tanker Cargo Operations and Advanced Chemical Cargo
Operations. Each require service on oil or chemical tankers as appropriate.
The wording of the endorsements has changed. All applications for an STCW tank vessel
endorsement will be issued with the new wording.
No. See NVIC 22-14 for qualifications to obtain a corresponding STCW endorsement.
Yes, all require evidence of continuing competencies via qualifying service and completion of
Coast Guard-approved training. With qualifying service, refresher training is acceptable. If
you have no qualifying service, revalidation training must be completed.
• See NVIC 04-14 for Proficiency in Survival Craft
• See NVIC 08-14 for Basic Training
• See NVIC 9-14 for Advanced Firefighting.
No. The Coast Guard does not require mariners to meet STCW requirements as a prerequisite
to receiving National (domestic) officer endorsements.
No. All applications for STCW as of January 1, 2017, must meet the requirements of
International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for
Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW 1978, as amended). This has been extended for some
STCW capacities, check the current applicable NVIC to see if additional extensions have been
Yes. A mariner whose application has “timed out” or who was denied must re-apply by
submitting a new application. New requirements in effect as of January 1, 2017, must be met
that may require a new record of assessments and updated Coast Guard approved training.
NVIC 03-14 Guidelines for Approval of Training Courses and Programs provides information
for the validity period of courses.
You must meet the current STCW requirements for the international endorsement sought.