The Able-Bodied Seaman (AB) credential allows the holder to serve in certain required deck unlicensed positions on vessels. The AB is not a license, it is a “rating.” Based on the applicant’s experience, the AB is issued as Unlimited, Limited, Special, Offshore Supply Vessels, Sail and Fishing Industry.


NMC Checklist for Able-Bodied Seaman
CFR Reference: 46 CFR 12.401

RECENCY: No recency requirement.


DECK EXAMINATION GUIDE: ESS 7-5, 7-7, 7-9. At this link, you will find two Deck Examination Guides.  If your qualifying service for the license began before March 24, 2014, you may opt to be examined under the procedures of the old Deck Examination Guide.  The old guide’s examinations are significantly less difficult in most cases than the new guide’s.

To Apply for the Credential

Application Procedure

 Credential Assistance

If you need help determining your eligibility or completing your application, please email us at Credential Assistance.