The Merchant Mariner Medical Manual -COMDTINST M16721.4- is effective on 9 September 2019, incorporating prior guidance on the medical evaluation of merchant mariners contained in several USCG documents.

The Manual includes guidance on the medical certificate and related processes, including procedures for application, issuance, and cancellation of the medical certificate.

Major changes include use of a single manual format, clarification of medical certificate requirements for certain entry-level mariners; and the proposed medical certificate cancellation policy.

The Coast Guard published a draft of the Merchant Mariner Medical Manual in the Federal Register and sought input from the public on the draft on 13 November 2018.

USCG sought public comment because of the perceived complexity of the Merchant Mariner Medical Manual, and because doing so provides the opportunity to create a guidance document that is more viable and to identify and clarify remaining areas of confusion and concern among the regulated community.

The Coast Guard received 37 comment letters in response to the Federal Register notice.

Comments covered a range of topics, including the manual’s ease and use of clarity, requirements for medical certification, medical exam forms, and others.