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Medical Disqualifiers for a Captain's License

Common Questions About Medical Requirements for a Captain's License

What are the medical requirements for a captain’s license?

For a vessel to be operated safely, it's essential that the crew members be physically fit and free of debilitating illness and injury. The seafaring life is arduous, often hazardous, and the availability of medical assistance or treatment is generally minimal.

The following medical guidelines are just that: guidelines. They're not intended to be absolute or all-encompassing. Some individuals may have medical conditions or physical limitations that would render them incompetent to perform their duties aboard a vessel, while others may be capable of working at sea without posing a risk to themselves, their ship, or shipmates even though one of the listed conditions exists.

As the trend towards smaller cruise continues, the ability of each crew member to perform his or her routine duties and respond to emergencies becomes even more critical.

What are the common captain’s license medical disqualifiers?

Here are the top five medical conditions that can delay your captain's license application or cause the application to be denied:

  • Cardiac disease
  • Diabetes
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic use of narcotics

It's important that you provide medical documentation from your doctor if you have one or more of these medical conditions. Any cause for rejection is disqualifying only while the conditions persist or is likely to cause disqualifying complications.

Do you need a physical exam to get a captain’s license?

Yes. Captain’s licenses such as the OUPV and Master license require a physical exam to be completed as part of the application process. The form you need for your captain’s license physical is the CG-719K Merchant Marine Personnel Physical Examination Report.

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The Definitive Guide To Becoming A Licensed Captain

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