Maybe they’re finally starting to come around. Just maybe.
On June 30 the National Maritime Center issued an information bulletin indicating that merchant mariner “certificates suitable for framing” are “coming soon.” Possibly even this summer. They are also looking for feedback on the design of the certificate, and you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments. Click here to see what they might look like.
It is refreshing to see this small but powerfully symbolic step taken to re-establish a decent working relationship between merchant mariners and the Coast Guard. A lot of damage has been done over the last decade or two, and there is still an enormous amount yet to be done. The real heavy-lifting still lies ahead: matters of great substance are pending, from STCW to mariner participation on the safety committees to towing vessel inspections, and more. Mariners who try to participate in the regulatory process need to be treated as valued partners, not inconvenient obstacles. But it has to start somewhere and this was a good place to begin. But it would be foolish to raise our collective hopes too far just yet. Only time will tell whether this was just a token gesture to lessen the immediate heat or a genuine move towards “honoring the mariner.” We hope it is the latter.