Background checkEvery boater wishing to obtain a Captain's License is required to go through a Safety and Suitability evaluation. During this process the National Maritime Center (NMC) evaluates an applicants criminal record to ensure that the person serving under the authority of a Captain's License poses no threat to safety of life or property.

Here is a list and short description of the checks performed during this phase of the licensing process:
  • TWIC
    A Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is an identification credential issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), containing biometrics of the card holder. The National Maritime Center uses TSA as their primary source for information when conducting background investigations. A staff application screener will examine and verify that the applicant has applied for a TWIC.
  • Biographical Information
    Biographical information such as name, date of birth, place of birth, social security number, criminal convictions statement, and other data is compared to the information recorded in the license application. Any discrepancies must be resolved prior to a Captain's License being issued.
  • Citizenship, Nationality, and Permanent Residence
    The Safety and Suitability Evaluation (SSE) Branch verifies nationality, citizenship, and possession of a permanent resident card for non-U.S. citizens.
  • Criminal Record Review
    After the SSE verify the citizenship, nationality, and lawful permanent residence, the applicant's criminal record will be reviewed for convictions that show evidence of a mariner's unsuitability for the duties and responsibilities of the Captain's License applied for.
  • Dangerous Drug Use
    An applicant who has been convicted of a violation of a dangerous drug law or has failed a chemical test for drug use may encounter obstacles in both the SSE and the Medical Evaluation Division, and have to prove cure from drug or alcohol abuse or addiction.
  • National Driver Registry
    All applicants must give their consent to a check of their National Driver Registry (NDR) record for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Reckless Driving convictions. The Coast Guard will consider offenses such as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or reckless driving conviction only within the last three years, unless the applicant driver's license is currently suspended or revoked. Prior to the Coast Guard denying the application, the applicant will be supplied the information found in the NDR check and be given the opportunity to comment.
Based on this review the NMC will determine if the mariner is able to move to the next phase of the process. If there is a problem with the safety and suitability evaluation the mariner record will not continue to the next phase until it is resolved.

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