USCG National Able Bodied Seaman (AB)
Able Seaman (AB) is any person below Officer and above Ordinary Seaman who holds a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) in the deck department, endorsed by the Coast Guard.
Successful completion of MPT course #252 AB Able Seaman, will meet the below testing requirements without further examination.
Able Seaman Unlimited, Limited, Special, OSV, Sail, Fishing Industry
Navigation and Rules of the Road
* Applicants can raise the category of any Able Seaman endorsement without further examination upon meeting the appropriate professional requirements.
Marlinespike Seamanship - Demonstration
Knot, Bend, Splice, Hitch
One of these items must be successfully demonstrated within 15 Minutes.
- Eye Splice with bitter end whipped
- Short Splice with whipped ends
Each of these items must be successfully demonstrated within 15 Minutes.
- Square Knot
- Clove Hitch
- Sheet Bend
A combination of any six of these items must be successfully demonstrated within 15 Minutes.
- Running Bowline
- Bowline on a Bight
- Cat’s Paw
- Figure Eight
- Carrick Bend
- Round Turn and Two Half Hitches
- Rolling Hitch
- Stopper Hitch
- Timber Hitch
- Stage Hitch
- Barrel Hitch
- Fisherman’s Bend
* IAW 46 CFR 12.405(c), The applicant must provide evidence, to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard, of the knowledge of principal knots, bends, splices, and hitches in common use by actually making them.
* The demonstration can be completed at a Regional Exam Center or via a USCG approved course.
* In order to successfully demonstrate the knowledge requirement the applicant MUST
* Successfully demonstrate ONE of the TWO splices within 15 minutes
* Successfully demonstrate the four required AND six additional knots, hitches, or bends within 15 minutes.
General Requirements for AB
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Pass the prescribed physical and medical examination requirements specified in 46 CFR, part 10, subpart C;
- Present evidence of having passed a chemical test for dangerous drugs or of qualifying for an exemption from testing as described in 46CFR16.220.
- Meet the sea service and training requirements.
- Pass an examination for able seaman;
- Qualify for an endorsement as lifeboatman or lifeboatman-limited; and
- Speak and understand the English language as would be required in performing the general duties of able seaman and during an emergency aboard ship.
Sea Service Requirements for all AB Ratings
AB Limited – 540 days deck service on vessels of 100 GRT or more, not exclusive to rivers & smaller inland lakes of the U. S.
AB Special – 360 days deck service on navigable waters of the U. S.
AB OSV – 180 days deck service on navigable waters of the U. S.
AB Sail – 180 days of deck service on sailing school vessels, oceanographic research vessels powered primarily by sail or equivalent sail vessels on any navigable waters of the U. S.
AB Fishing – 180 days of deck service, not as a processor, on any navigable waters of the U.S.
“Combi” is not deck service
AB MODU – 360 days of service on vessels 65 feet or over on any navigable waters of the U.S.
- Successful completion of (MPT course #252 AB Able Seaman), will meet the below testing requirements without further examination.
- Qualification as Lifeboatman (MPT course #146 PSC - Lifeboatman)
LIFEBOATMAN Requirements (See also PSC – Lifeboatman section)
180 days service in any department of vessels AND successful completion of an approved course,
360 days service in any department of vessels on ocean, coastwise, inland, and Great Lakes routes.