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There’s a New Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC)! U.S. Coast Guard Replaces Old-Style “Red Book”

Get the New Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC)! U.S. Coast Guard Replaces Old-Style "Red Book"
Get the New Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC)! U.S. Coast Guard Replaces Old-Style "Red Book"
Mariners will get a new MMC document with the endorsements incorporated–no more stickers.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced a new merchant mariner credential (MMC) that launched on March 1, 2024.  This milestone marks the first comprehensive revision of the mariner credential in nearly a decade and is strategically designed to enhance both the quality of service and security within the Marine Transportation System (MTS). As the exclusive source of U.S. mariner credentials, the Coast Guard will continue to grant these credentials to mariners who meet the necessary qualifications and suitability criteria, enabling them to serve on U.S. flagged vessels.  

MMCs are required for U.S. mariners who serve on commercially operated vessels such as passenger boats, tug and barges, offshore supply vessels, and deep draft ocean going cargo vessels throughout the nation and internationally. The Coast Guard is replacing the MMC passport-style booklet (“Red Book”) with a new certificate-size one-page credential. The new credential will be issued to all mariners after the implementation date.     

In response to the evolving needs of the Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC), a decision has also been made to update the Merchant Mariner Credentialing process. The existing passport style credential printers at NMC are outdated and due for replacement, prompting the need for a more reliable and modern solution.

As a result, NMC will now issue the new credential on 8.5″ x 11″ waterproof synthetic paper, sourced from the Government Printing Office (GPO). This updated credential incorporates improved security features including anti-copy measures, micro-printing, foiling, and intricate patterns.

The new MMC document will be issued for all approved applications, to include credential endorsements beginning March 1, 2024.

Mariners will no longer receive separate endorsement labels (i.e., stickers), but rather a new MMC document with the endorsements incorporated. The new credential will be issued on a day-forward basis, and all legacy credentials will remain valid until the indicated expiration date.

To validate a new MMC, use the Coast Guard’s credential verification tool at MMLD Credential Verification (

For a document search, select “MMC” as the document type and enter the document number. On the new MMC, the document number can be found on the red cover section beneath the corresponding barcode and will have the prefix “Z”.

You can view a sample of the new credential on the NMC website here:  

Existing passport style credentials will not be replaced immediately, and mariners will receive their new credential during the next application process with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is planning a long-term credentialing solution in the form of an electronic credential or E-credential. E-credentials will contain all required information and security features to meet domestic and international requirements. In addition, the Coast Guard plans to provide printing options for mariners to obtain paper or other non-electronic versions.  

A Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 01-24) and a Federal Register Notice (2024-03568) are also available on the new credential.     

To view a brochure on the new MMC, click here.

Mariners with questions regarding their individual application or issuance of the new credential, can contact NMC Customer Service Center by e-mailing or calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).