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  • Writer's pictureNate Gilman

How do I get my Ordinary Seaman rating?

Updated: Jan 19

An ordinary seaman (OS) is the lowest rating on a ship. This is an unlicensed position, and it requires no maritime experience. Ordinary seamen handle a variety of basic tasks, working towards becoming an Able Seaman.

The first step you need to take is getting a valid U.S. Merchant Marine Credential (MMC).

You need to take care of these 6 easy steps to get your entry level MMC:

  1. You must be a US Citizen or alien admitted for permanent residence

  2. Be at least 16 years old (with parental/guardian consent if under 18)

  3. Pass a drug test within 6 months (CG-719P)

  4. Most hold or be approved for Medical Certificate (CG-719K)

  5. Must take the Merchant Mariners Oath in front of a Notary

  6. Pay Mariner's Fees (

Once you've completed those items, you'll complete and submit a CG-719B form. This is the MMC application form.

Note: Getting your MMC is not a guarantee of finding work. This is a certification that allows you to work in the merchant marine industry.

Ordinary seaman duties and responsibilities

Ordinary seamen are doing most of the grunt work around the ship. It's not glorious, but it's the path forward to becoming a licensed Able Seaman in the future. OS responsibilities include general maintenance, cleaning and sanitizing the ship, painting, loading and unloading cargo, and more.

As you gain more experience, you can expect more responsibilities.

How many Sea Days are needed?

There are no sea service requirements for entry level endorsements. Employers will typically want you to complete some basic maritime training before you start working.

What endorsements are included in an Entry Level Rating?

Ordinary Seaman, Wiper, and Steward’s Department (FH).

We hope this made your life a little easier and if you have other questions the MM-SEAS team is always here to help!

We do prefer to answer questions live with screen sharing to make both of our lives easier.

We hold free live virtual master classes Monday and Wednesday from 5:00 - 5:30 pm PT inside of under License Guidance and then Daily Master Classes.

Pro MM-SEAS members get access to our daily live office hours Monday thru Friday from 5:00 - 5:30 pm PT. You also get access to unlimited live 1 on 1 calls with one of our USCG Licensing Specialists. Pro MM-SEAS members can access these features inside of under License Guidance.

Need to renew, upgrade or get your first USCG license?
We're here to help.

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