Documenting Sea Service FAQs

Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions

Question: What counts as sea service?

Sea service is a measure of a mariner’s lifetime experience on boats, whether recreational, commercial, or military. It may be counted from the day a mariner turns age 16 and accumulates over his or her lifetime.

A day of sea service is any day that a mariner served upon a vessel in an assigned position in either the deck or engineering department of a vessel (not a passenger). The position may include duties such as: handling lines, being a lookout, steering the boat, and other navigational or propulsion functions.

Sea service never expires and may be reused when applying for new endorsements. It is the mariner’s responsibility to keep copies of all sea service records.

Question: What counts as a day?

On vessels of less than 100 gross registered tons (GRT): Credit for a full day will only be given for service of 4 hours or more (See 46 CFR 10.107, definition of “Day”). No credit will ever be given for days in which less than 4 hours were served.

For the purposes of defining sea service requirements, the Coast Guard considers 1 month as 30 days, and 1 year as 12 months (or 360 days).

Question: How do I document sea service?

To document service aboard vessels of less than 200 GRT: Applicants may use the CG 719-S (Small Vessel Sea Service Form) or they may submit a letter which includes the same information required on the Small Vessel Sea Service Form.

Remember that you must complete a separate Small Vessel Sea Service Form for each vessel you served aboard.

If you are the owner of a vessel on which you are claiming service, you must also submit proof of ownership for that vessel. Acceptable proof of ownership may include:

  1. Title
  2. Registration (state registered vessels)
  3. Certificate of Documentation (U.S. Coast Guard registered vessels)
  4. Proof of insurance (which clearly identifies the vessel)
  5. Bill(s) of sale.

If you are signing as the owner of a corporation that owns the vessel, you must include a copy of proof of ownership of the company, such as a copy of the articles of incorporation. (See 46 CFR 10.232.)

Photographs or imagery of vessels are not acceptable as proof of ownership. If you are not the owner of the vessel, someone with knowledge of your service must attest to its accuracy and validity in the proper location on the form by signing it and completing the associated required information.

To document service on any vessel of over 200 GRT: Applicants may submit any of the following documents signed by an appropriate official, an individual holding an officer endorsement, an owner or an employer who is not the applicant seeking the credit (see 46 CFR 10.232):

  1. Certificates of discharge.
  2. Letters on official letterhead indicating the vessel details, dates of service, waters of service, and position(s) served in.
  3. Other official documents such as service logs or discharge books from marine companies.