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  • Nate Gilman

USCG Licensing Rules for CPR and First Aid Cards

Updated: 3 days ago



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 American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) 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.


You never need to take First Aid and CPR for any of your domestic upgrades or increases in scope. You are only required to provide First Aid and CPR when applying for your first USCG License that is an Officer Endorsement.


If you are increasing in scope you do not need CPR. Increasing in scope means raising tonnage within the same level i.e. 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 i.e. 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 are raising in grade you also 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 are 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 takes care of this requirement.


If you are renewing your current license exactly as it is you do not need to worry about CPR/ First Aid for your USCG license application.




How to get the right documentation for your CPR and First Aid


There are currently four main options to meet this requirement. We listed them in order of easiest to hardest when dealing with the USCG National Maritime Center to get your USCG License.

Take CPR and First Aid from The Red Cross


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 just 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.


Look up and find courses near you at: https://www.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.


Take CPR and First Aid from a USCG Approved Maritime Training School


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.



Take CPR and First Aid from an American Heart Association Provider


CPR and First Aid courses taken from an American Heart Association Provider is a possibility but 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.


  1. Log onto the American Heart Association Instructor Network

  2. Go to the Courses drop down, Select Heartsaver

  3. Select Heartsaver 1st Aid/CPR/AED under Instructor-Led Training

  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page

  5. Click the Miscellaneous drop down for the information on The US Coast Guard (USCG) approved AHA Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Course and Certificate

  6. Download the The US Coast Guard (USCG) approved AHA Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Course and Certificate inside their instructor Network

  7. Email you the pdf of the The US Coast Guard (USCG) approved AHA Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Course and Certificate

You know you have the right thing when it has your name, the code AMERHA-216, the date you completed the course and your instructor's name on it.


Take CPR and First Aid from an American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) Provider


CPR and First Aid courses taken from an American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) Provider is a possibility but causes some confusion. The USCG will not accept your American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) card as documentation of taking First Aid or CPR.


The USCG will accept a USCG Approved Course Certificate with the specific course code for American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI).


If you take any training from an American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) 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.


  1. Log into their instructor portal

  2. Locate the ASHI and MEDIC First Aid USCG ROPs inside their instructor portal

  3. Download the ASHI and MEDIC First Aid USCG ROPs inside their instructor portal

  4. Email you the pdf of the USCG/NMC-approved “Recognition of Participation” (ROP) document


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 AMESHI-197, the date you completed the course and your instructor's name on it.


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We all know that U.S. Coast Guard licensing can be a frustrating experience.


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