Safety & Suitability

Background Investigations

Every application that requires a safety and suitability evaluation is completed by the Safety and Suitability Evaluation Branch. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the primary source for conducting background investigations. The Code of Federal Regulations is also used to determine the safety and suitability of an applicant.

The evaluator will determine if the mariner is able to move to the next phase of the process. If the application is missing required TWIC, citizenship, proof of lawful permanent residence/nationality, or conviction statement an Awaiting Information (AI) Letter will be sent to the mariner, which will delay credential issuance.

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

The National Maritime Center uses the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as their primary source for information when conducting background investigations. A TWIC is a credential for all personnel requiring un-escorted access to secure areas of regulated facilities and vessels, and all mariners holding United States Coast Guard-issued credentials. Individuals who meet TWIC eligibility requirements will be issued a tamper-resistant credential containing the worker's biometric data (fingerprint template) to allow for a positive link between the card and the individual.

When applying for your Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) please ensure you identify your occupation as a "Merchant Mariner", so that the National Maritime Center is able to conduct a safety & suitability evaluation of your application.

ID / Citizenship

Proof of U.S. Citizenship or lawful permanent residence can be submitted to the Coast Guard through the Transportation Security Administration with a TWIC application. If the National Maritime Center does not consider the proof adequate, it may require the applicant to supply additional proof to meet the requirement found in 46 CFR 10.221. Guidance on what information can be submitted to resolve this can be located in the Citizenship document.

Driving Record

All applicants must give their consent to a check of their National Driver Registry (NDR) record for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Reckless Driving convictions. The Coast Guard will consider offenses such as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or reckless driving conviction only within the last three years, unless the applicant driver’s license is currently under suspension or revocation. Prior to the Coast Guard denying the application, the applicant will be supplied the information found in the NDR check and be given the opportunity to comment.

Criminal Record

The applicant’s criminal record will be reviewed for convictions that show evidence of a mariner’s unsuitability for the duties and responsibilities of the Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) applied for.

Safe and suitable person means a person whose prior record, including but not limited to criminal record and / or National Driver Registry record, provides no information indicating that his or her character and habits of life would support the belief that permitting such a person to serve under the MMC sought would clearly be a threat to the safety of life or property, detrimental to good discipline, or adverse to the interests of the United States. See 46 CFR 10.211 & 10.213 for the regulations associated with this definition.

Conviction Statement

Each applicant must disclose all convictions in section III of the application CG 719B (Application) that were not previously disclosed.

If an applicant pleads guilty to or is given one of the following, in any jurisdiction, they are considered to have received a conviction:

  • Guilty / no contest
  • Deferred adjudication
  • Required class attendance
  • Contributions of time / money
  • Receive treatment
  • Probation / supervision
  • Forgo appeal of court’s conviction

Expungement of a conviction will not negate a conviction unless the expungement shows that the court's earlier conviction was in error.