Sea Service Experience

Sea Service Experience

Sea Service Experience

This post is about sea service experience, or sea time. In short, it is a measure of your lifetime experience on boats. There are many miss-understandings about sea time: but here are the facts.

Just the Facts

Firstly, sea time is a measure of your experience on boats. And, it is counted in calendar days. Additionally, it includes time on inland waters, as well as oceans. In summary, any day that you are on a boat, and away from the dock, counts as one day.

Secondly, it counts over your lifetime. And, It never expires. Most importantly, you must keep track of his or her own experience. Because, the Coast Guard will not keep track of it for you. Therefore, save all your forms and documents.

Thirdly, there is no minimum size of boat, or horsepower of engine for it to count. But, you must be able to document it to count it. To clarify, use the Small Vessel Sea Service form CG 719S to document your sea time.

Sea Service Experience: form CG 719S

Two most important tips. Firstly, use one form for each boat. And secondly, read and follow the instructions carefully.

Section I Applicant Information

This section identifies the mariner and the boat. The following clarifies info required.

Reference number or SS number

This is about your ID. If you have a USCG issued license, use the reference number from your MMC book. Otherwise, enter your social security number in the next box.

Vessel name and official number

To clarify, this is about the boat ID. If it has a USCG issued Certificate of Documentation (COD), then enter the vessel name and official number. Otherwise, leave the name blank and enter the state issued numbers only.

Gross Register Tons (GRT), Length, etc.

If the vessel has a COD, then copy this info from the COD. Otherwise, enter the vessel’s registered length, and then leave the other boxes empty.

Propulsion and Served as

For example, propulsion means either motor, sail, or auxiliary sail. And served as identifies your job, such as captain, mate, operator, or deckhand.

Body of Water

In other words, the names of the waterways the boat was operated on. Examples of inland waters include: Yaquina Bay and Columbia River. And ocean waters include: North Pacific and Straight of Juan De Fuca. Newport, or Garibaldi are not waterways.

Section II Record of Underway Service

The top part is a worksheet used to estimate the number of days underway each month of the year. Enter the number of days, by year, and month, as you can best remember.

The bottom part has two-columns with three-boxes in each column. Each box must contain a number, even if it is zero. The following explains each box, starting with the top-left box.

Total number of days served on this vessel.

Enter the total number days from the top part in this box. Most important, the total number of days entered into the three boxes in the right-hand column, must equal the number in this box.

Average hours underway (per day)?

A calendar day is 8-hours or more. But, never less than 4-hours. The question asks: Considering all the days listed, what is the average number of hours underway each day?

Average distance offshore.

This may be miles when on ocean waters, or yards for rivers and bays. Enter whatever that average distance was into this box.

Number of days served on the Great Lakes.

Using your best memory, enter the number of days that you were on the Great Lakes into this box. On the other hand, if no days were on the Great Lakes, then enter zero.

Number of days served on waters shoreward of the boundary line.

In other words, days on inland waters. Using your best memory, enter the number of inland days in this box. For example: this includes days on rivers, lakes, and bays.

Number of days served on waters seaward of the boundary line.

These are ocean days. Using your best memory, enter the number of ocean days in this box.

Definition of the term the boundary line.

Boundary line means: a line drawn between the end of the jetty at harbor entrances. Any day that the boat went past the boundary line counts as an ocean day. In addition any day operating on Straight of Juan De Fuca, the Inside Passage through British Columbia, or on waters of SE Alaska also counts as an ocean day.

Section III Signature and Verification

Both the applicant and person testifying to the sea service experience must read and sign the verification statement.

Vessel owners

Vessel owners documenting their own sea service experience must provide proof of ownership. Examples of proof of ownership include: A copy of the Certificate of Documentation, or a copy of the boat’s state registration.


Read and follow the instructions. And then if you have any questions please contact us. Above all, our business is helping mariners. However, selling courses is what we do to stay in business.

More help

Get the Sea Service form CG 719S >>

View Sea Time short list >>

Help with MMC Application form 719B

Help with Physical Exam (form 719K) >>

View all USCG forms on the NMC website

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