§ 11.201Eligibility for officer endorsements and STCW endorsements, general.
(a) In addition to the requirements of part 10 of this chapter, the applicant for an officer endorsement, whether original, renewal, duplicate, or raise of grade, must establish to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard that he or she possesses all the qualifications necessary (including but not limited to age, experience, character references and recommendations, physical health, citizenship, approved training, passage of a professional examination, a test for dangerous drugs, and when required by this part, a practical demonstration of skills) before the Coast Guard will issue a merchant mariner credential (MMC).
(b) Except as provided in § 11.467(h) of this part, an applicant for an officer endorsement must demonstrate an ability to speak and understand English as found in the navigation rules, aids to navigation publications, emergency equipment instructions, machinery instructions, and radiotelephone communications instructions.
(c) An applicant for an officer endorsement must have at least three months of qualifying service on vessels of appropriate tonnage or horsepower within the three years immediately preceding the date of application.
(d) No officer endorsement may be issued to any person who is not a citizen of the United States with the exception of operators of uninspected passenger vessels that are not documented under the laws of the United States.
(e) Except as specified in this paragraph, no officer endorsement may be issued to a person who has not attained the age of 21 years. The required evidence of age may be established using any of the items submitted to establish citizenship set out in 49 CFR 1572.17 of this chapter:
(1) An endorsement may be granted to an applicant who has reached the age of 19 years as:
(i) Master of near coastal, Great Lakes and inland, inland, or river vessels of 25-200 GRT;
(ii) Third mate;
(iii) Third assistant engineer;
(iv) Mate of vessels of 200-1,600 GRT;
(v) Ballast control operator (BCO);
(vi) Assistant engineer (MODU);
(vii) Assistant engineer of fishing industry vessels;
(viii) Mate (pilot) of towing vessels;
(ix) Radio officer;
(x) Assistant engineer (limited oceans); or
(xi) Designated duty engineer of vessels of not more than 4,000 horsepower.
(2) An endorsement may be granted to an applicant who has reached the age of 18 years as:
(i) Limited master of near-coastal vessels of not more than 100 GRT;
(ii) Limited master of Great Lakes and inland vessels of not more than 100 GRT;
(iii) Mate of Great Lakes and inland vessels of 25-200 GRT;
(iv) Mate of near coastal vessels of 25-200 GRT;
(v) Operator of uninspected passenger vessels (OUPV);
(vi) Designated duty engineer of vessels of not more than 1,000 horsepower; or
(vii) Apprentice mate (steersman) of towing vessels.
(f) Persons serving or intending to serve in the merchant marine service are encouraged to take the earliest opportunity to ascertain, through examination, whether their visual acuity, color vision, hearing, and general physical condition where required, are such as to qualify them for service in that profession. Any physical impairment or medical condition which would render an applicant incompetent to perform the ordinary duties required of an officer at sea is cause for denial of an officer endorsement.
(g) Applications for an original officer's endorsement, raises of grade, extensions of route, or STCW endorsements must be current and up to date with respect to service and the physical examination, as appropriate. Physical examinations and applications are valid for 12 months from the date the application is approved.
(h) Applicants for an endorsement as OUPV must meet the requirements for an officer endorsement.
(i) The Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI), may modify the service and examination requirements in this part to satisfy the unique qualification requirements of an applicant. The OCMI may also lower the age requirement for OUPV applicants. The authority granted by an officer endorsement will be restricted to reflect any modifications made under the authority of this paragraph. These restrictions may not be removed without the approval of the OCMI issuing the license or officer endorsement.