Certification: National Able Seaman (A/B)

100 Forbes Drive Martinsburg, WV 25404-7120

The National Able Seaman (A/B) is an entry- to mid-level Coast Guard certification. The National Able seaman (A/B) is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. An Able seaman is a qualified member of the deck department that may work as a watchstander and/or day worker. An Able seaman may work in any number of capacities and perform general maintenance, repair, sanitation and upkeep of material, equipment, and areas in the deck department. There are various categories of endorsement issued as Able seaman. The endorsement issued to applicants and advancement from one AB endorsement to another depends on their qualifying experience or training.

More than two years of education or training after high school required?
More than two years of work experience required?
Oral or Written Exam Required?
Renewal Required?
Every 5 Year(s)
Renew through Continuing Educational Units(CEU)?
Renew through Re-Examination?
Renew through Continuing Professional Development(CPD)?
Does applicant have choice of at least two options from above for renewal (CEU, CPD, or exam)?


Your local Regional Exam Centers external site(REC) provide valuable resources toward obtaining a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).


The certification has an education level of an Associates of Arts or Associates of Sciences degree or higher and has a work experience requirement of more than 2 years, or requires obtaining a ‘core’ level certification from the same organization.

  • This certification is related to military occupational specialties.