The USCG National Maritime Center is now following the letter of the CFR for CPR and First Aid. This is a great thing and we fully support the decision but here's what you need to know to stay compliant and not catch an AI on your application. Cards from any American Heart Association Provider or HSI / American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) / Medic First Aid / EMS Safety provider are NOT accepted for First Aid. You need to provide a course certificate with the correct code on it if you are taking CPR / First Aid from an American Heart Association Provider or American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) Provider.
The same rules are in place if you are applying to the USCG for a new Captains license that a First Aid course within one year and a valid CPR card are required.
If you are working to obtain your first domestic officer endorsement such as OUPV, Mate or Master of any tonnage, Chief Mate, Licensed Engineer, Chief Engineer or DDE of any horsepower, you will need to provide documentation of First Aid training within a year prior to the day you submit your application as well as a valid CPR card or proof of USCG Approved CPR training.
Even if your First Aid/CPR card hasn't expired yet, if it's more than 12 months old you'll need to renew it.
No. You never need to take another First Aid and CPR class for any of your domestic upgrades or increases in scope. You're only required to provide First Aid and CPR when applying for your first USCG License that is an Officer Endorsement.
If you're increasing in scope you don't need CPR. Increasing in scope means raising tonnage within the same level. For example: upgrading from Master 25 GRT to Master 50 GRT, Mate 500 GRT to Mate 1600 GRT, or AB Special to AB Unlimited. Increasing in scope also means raising the route such as Master 100 GRT Inland to Master 100 GRT Near Coastal.
The easiest way to think about a raise in grade is something that increases your responsibility level. Mate 200 GRT NC to Master 200 GRT NC, Mate 1600 GRT to 3rd Mate Unlimited, or 3rd Assistant Engineer to 2nd Assistant Engineer. If you're raising in grade you do not need to provide documentation of First Aid training within a year prior to the day you submit your application as well as a valid CPR card or proof of USCG Approved CPR training.
If you're working on any non-licensed credential or any STCW credential you do not need to provide CPR training. If you already hold a valid STCW Basic Training, it covers this requirement.
If you're renewing your current license exactly as it is, you don't need to worry about CPR / First Aid for your USCG license application.
There are currently four options to meet the CPR and First Aid requirement. We listed them in order from easiest to hardest when dealing with the USCG National Maritime Center to get your License.
The easiest way to do this is to take “The American National Red Cross Standard Adult First Aid course” or “The American National Red Cross Community Adult First Aid and Safety course” and ensure that CPR is included as part of the course. You can use your CPR and First Aid card from the American National Red Cross on its own.
You need to make sure you take Adult First Aid/CPR/AED. You must have some portion of the course in-person. Online-only classes aren't valid.
Look up and find courses near you here: redcross.org/take-a-class
If you don’t take CPR and First Aid from the American National Red Cross it’s no big deal but you will need to provide a USCG Approved Course Certificate with the Code the USCG will recognize.
Again, the USCG requires a class that's been taken within the past year. Even though the Red Cross card is valid for two years, you'll need to renew it by taking the class again for it to be valid.
CPR and First Aid courses taken at USCG Approved Maritime Training Schools is the second most common way to take it.
These are great because USCG Approved Maritime Training Schools will always provide you with a USCG Approved Course Certificate. This USCG Approved Course Certificate and code is what the USCG needs to give you credit for getting your license.
CPR and First Aid courses taken from an American Heart Association Provider is a possibility but often causes some confusion. The USCG will not accept your American Heart Association First Aid / CPR card as documentation of taking First Aid. They will only take it as documentation for CPR.
The USCG will accept a USCG Approved Course Certificate with the specific course code for American Heart Association.
If you take any training from an American Heart Association Provider:
You need to ask your instructor to take the following steps and provide you with a US Coast Guard (USCG) approved AHA Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Course and Certificate that has the code (AMERHA-216) on it.
You know you have the right thing when it has:
CPR and First Aid courses taken from an HSI / American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) / Medic First Aid / EMS Safety Provider is a possibility, but we've found it also causes some confusion. The USCG will not accept your HSI / American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) / Medic First Aid / EMS Safety card as documentation of taking First Aid or CPR.
The USCG will accept a USCG Approved Course Certificate with the specific course code for HSI / American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) / Medic First Aid / EMS Safety.
If you take any training from an HSI / American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) / Medic First Aid / EMS Safety Provider:
You need to ask your instructor to take the following steps and provide you with a USCG/NMC-approved “Recognition of Participation” (ROP) document that has the code (AMESHI-197) on it if you took it before 12/31/2022 and (HSINST-203) if you took it after then.
Here’s a blog post from ASHI for your instructor if they run into any issues: https://emergencycare.hsi.com/blog/adhering-to-program-approval-stipulations-why-it-matters
You know you have the right thing when it has your name, the code HSINST-203, the date you completed the course and your instructor's name on it.
We hope this made your life a little easier and if you have other questions the MM-SEAS team is always here to help!
No matter what, when you are ready to submit your application, you can choose to have the MM-SEAS staff create a perfect application, handle the USCG application fees and work with the USCG on your behalf to resolve any issues for a flat fee of $299 or you can choose to submit on your own.
Pro MM-SEAS members get access to unlimited live 1 on 1 calls with one of our USCG Licensing Specialists. We've found that answering questions live with screen sharing in a video call makes both of our lives easier. Pro MM-SEAS members can access these features inside of MM-SEAS under License Guidance.
Nate has over 15 years of professional maritime experience and has hawsepiped his way to a 3rd Mate Unlimited Endorsement with full STCW compliance. He is proud veteran of the NOAA Commissioned Corps.