Able Seaman

  • Length5 Days
  • Pre-requisiteNone

Course Description

This five-day able-bodied seaman course (MITAGS-1) is for mariners at the entry-level position. It provides you with the knowledge, understanding and proficiency to work safely and efficiently aboard today’s merchant vessels as a mariner with an AB Unlimited, AB Limited or AB Special license. Marlinspike seamanship proficiency is demonstrated by actually tying various knots, bends, hitches and splices.

What You Will Learn

  • Marlinspike Seamanship, Shipboard Terminology
  • Rules of the Road
  • Aid to Navigation
  • Watchstanding and Helmsman Duties
  • Ship Construction and Cargo Handling, Anchoring and Mooring
  • Fire Fighting, Towing, Deck Maintenance
  • Shipboard Emergencies and Life Saving
  • First Aid
  • Marine Pollution
  • Identify the fundamentals and requirements of standing a proper wheelhouse watch, lookout watch, and steps to properly relieve a watch
  • Identify the fundamentals and state the requirements of being a helmsman of a Navigational Watch
  • State the various emergency situations that may occur aboard ship and the proper actions that need to be taken in order to survive
  • Identify the emergency radio equipment found aboard ship, which aids in survival and rescue; as well as a pyrotechnics and lifesaving signals.
  • State the environmental protection procedures and regulations
  • Define and identify common terminology associated with ship construction
  • Define common terminology and definition as applied to the Navigation Rules of the Road
  • Identify lights, dayshapes, and sound signals when used in accordance with the Navigation Rules of the Road
  • Identify Distress Signals, and signals to attract attention
  • Identify terms associated with ship construction and the basic components that comprise vessel structure
  • State how to measure, advantages and disadvantages, and care of natural, synthetic and wire rope

Any student who completes the U.S. Coast Guard-approved able seaman course will satisfy the following Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) 2010 and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) training requirements:

  • The written examination requirement of 46 CFR 12.405(a) for the “Deck General and Navigational General,” “Deck Safety and Rules of the Road;” AND
  • The “Practical Marlinspike Seamanship Demonstration” requirement of 46 CFR 12.405(c); AND

  • The written “Survival Craft” examination requirements of 46 CFR 12.409 for any endorsement as Able Seaman restricted to vessels without lifeboats; AND

  • The training requirements of STCW Code Section A-II/5, Table A-II/5, and the competency requirements of 46 CFR 12.603(a)(4); AND

  • The following Tasks from Enclosure (3) to Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars NVIC 14-14: 2.1.A, 2.1.B, 2.2.A, 2.2.B, 2.2.C, 2.2.D, 2.3.A, 2.3.B, 2.5.A, 3.1.A, 3.2.A, 4.1.A, 4.2.A, 4.3.A, 4.4.A, 4.4.B, 4.4.C, 4.4.D, 4.5.A, 4.6.B, 4.6.C, 4.7.A, 4.8.A, 4.8.B, 4.8.C, 4.9.A, 4.10.A, 4.11.A, 4.12.A, 4.13.A, 5.1.A, 5.2.A, 5.3.A, 5.3.B, 5.3.C, 5.4.A, 5.5.A, 5.5.B, 5.5.C, 5.5.E, 5.6.A, 5.6.B, 5.6.C, 5.7.A, 5.8.A, 5.9.A, 5.10.A, 5.10.B, 6.1.A, 6.1.B, 6.2.A, 6.3.A, 8.4.A, 8.4.B, and 8.5.A. Applicants are not required to present the completed record of assessment sheets when applying for STCW endorsement.

How to Get an AB Endorsement

To get certified as an able seaman by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), you must meet these general requirements:

  • Be age 18 years or older
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Pass a drug test
  • Provide a valid medical certificate
  • Complete the CG-719B application

Additional requirements rely on your desired AB type, which can include:


  • AB Unlimited: Mandates 1,080 days of deck service on a vessel transversing the Great Lakes or ocean.
  • AB Limited: Requires 540 days of deck service on a vessel traveling U.S. rivers and inland lakes. The ship must have a gross register tonnage (GRT) of at least 100.
  • AB Special: Demands 360 days of deck service on a vessel navigating U.S. bodies of water.

Less common types of AB include:

  • AB OSV
  • AB Sail
  • AB Fishing

Our ordinary seaman training courses provide the necessary skills to meet the above able seaman requirements.

Able Seaman Course

The Able Seaman (AB) Course (MITPMI-1) is a five-day USCG approved course for entry-level mariners on commercial vessels. This training is designed to provide you with the knowledge and proficiency required of a licensed mariner so you can maximize safety and performance at sea.


To qualify for an Able Seaman rating, you need to:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Pass a drug test
  • Pass a medical and physical exam
  • Fall in line with the sea service requirements
  • Provide proof of citizenship and your Social Security card
  • TWIC


Levels of AB License and Sea Service Requirements

  • AB Limited: This level requires 18 months of service aboard a ship weighing over 100 gross tons on the ocean or in U.S. waters.
  • AB Unlimited: The sufficient amount of sea time for an AB Unlimited endorsement is 1080 days.
  • AB Special: To qualify for AB Special, you need 360 days of experience aboard a ship on the ocean or U.S. waters.
  • AB OSV (Off-shore Supply Vessel): AB OSV requires six months of experience on an ocean or U.S. vessel.
  • AB Sail: Individuals seeking an AB Sail rating spend at least six months aboard a sailing school vessel or oceanographic research vessel.
  • AB MODU (Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit): This level requires 360 days of service aboard a vessel that’s 65 feet or longer.
  • AB Fishing: AB Fishing requires 180 days of sea experience.


How to Get an AB Endorsement

You need an AB endorsement or an Ordinary Seaman (OS) endorsement to serve on major commercial vessels. For AB endorsement, you need qualifying sea service experience and must demonstrate proficiency in the necessary safety and navigation rules. You are also required to fill out a CG-719B application form and pass a lifeboatman course.

Required Examinations

For the Able Seaman Course, there are several examination requirements, which include tying knots, splices, bends and hitches. To pass, you will need to demonstrate your ability to complete a certain number of them within several 15-minute increments.

Sign up for our Able-bodied Seaman Course now or contact us for more information.


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Available Dates - BALTIMORE

  • CourseAble Seaman
  • DateJan 29 2024 to Feb 02 2024
  • Price$1,265
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Available Dates - SEATTLE

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