Supporting Military Sealift Command's mission requires civil service mariners (CIVMARs) to work aboard ship and far from land-based medical care for extended periods of time. For this reason, CIVMARs must be medically qualified for shipboard assignment. While some conditions are clearly disqualifying, many can be considered acceptable if shown to be sufficiently controlled and not a risk to the individual or the mission. The medical standards are published in COMSC Instruction 6000.1E (Chapter 5), NAVMED P-117 (Manual of the Medical Department), and USCG NVIC 04-08.


General Information


Guidance Regarding Specific Medical Conditions

  1. Hearing
    Per Navy and USCG standards there are minimum permissible limits for hearing loss. A significant hearing loss noted on exam will require an audiologist or specialist evaluation for specialized testing to determine the threshold for speech recognition and recommendations on hearing protection. A waiver may be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the outcome of the specialized testing.
  2. Vision
    Unless otherwise indicated, the visual acuity for rating is correctable to 20/50 each eye. Visual acuity must be correctable to 20/40 or better in each eye for Masters. Visual acuity must be correctable to 20/30 or better in each eye for 1st, 2nd, 3rd Officers, 2nd AE, SK/ASK, AB and OS. For mariners with single eye vision, vision must be correctable to 20/30 or better and will require an ophthalmology evaluation to assess the impact on depth perception and peripheral vision as they relate to safely operating vehicles and machinery. A waiver may be recommended on a case-by-case basis. Abnormal color perception will require an ophthalmology evaluation to fully describe the deficit. No waivers are granted on color vision for Masters, Mates, or Watchstanders. Engineers may be waived if they can demonstrate the ability to reliably distinguish basic colors.
  3. Tuberculin skin test (TST) status
    For initial hire consideration, applicants must provide the result of a TST obtained within the last year, unless they have had a documented positive test in the past. A TST can be obtained at most local public health departments or from personal physicians. Those with a current or past positive test must provide health care provider documentation of evaluation for active TB and whether the appropriate course of medication has been completed in the past, has been initiated, or is medically contraindicated. Chest X-ray results, no more than one month old, must be provided for those with positive PPD.
  4. Diabetes
    Any elevated fasting blood glucose level on a new applicant exam will require a follow-up evaluation to include an HbA1C test. The minimum acceptable HbA1C level is less than 8.0% or less. Diabetes requiring insulin for control cannot be considered for waiver.
  5. Hypertension
    Blood pressure controlled to less than 140/90 is considered acceptable with or without appropriate medications.
  6. Hyperlipidemia
    LDL cholesterol must be less than 160 and triglycerides must be less than 400 to meet MSC standards with or without medication.
  7. Psychiatric History
    Any psychiatric diagnosis or treatment history requires complete documentation from a mental health professional to include history of treatment, hospitalizations, current status, stability, prognosis, risk to self or others, current medications, and determination that follow-up is needed no more frequently than every six months. If applying for a rating requiring the use of small arms, a specific statement from a psychiatrist as to the suitability for small arms duties will be required.
  8. Sleep Apnea
    If you use CPAP/BiPAP you will need to provide documentation stating that you are symptom-free and a compliance report, within the past 6 months, indicating that you use the device greater than 4 hours per night at least 70% of the time. Data for at least one month is required. A note from your doctor simply stating that your sleep apnea is controlled on CPAP is not sufficient.
  9. Immunizations
    All immunizations must be dated to include Month, Day and Year. Any costs incurred to obtain immunizations are the sole responsibility of the applicant.
  10. Other Conditions
    1. Abnormalities on examination with potential impact on mission or risk to individuals on prolonged sea voyages will warrant appropriate evaluation. The conditions requiring evaluation and recommended type of specialist will be indicated on a medical summary form provided to the applicant.
    2. An applicant who has a VA disability rating will be required to provide a copy of the rating to include the name of each condition and the percentage of disability rated for each condition.
    3. If required to work aloft you must weigh less than 295 pounds. (OS, AB, BM, Radio ETs, all Electricians)

Any questions or need for clarification should be directed to the CIVMAR Support Center (CSC) at 866-MSC-JOBS (562-7672).