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Guidelines for Assessing Merchant Mariners through Demonstrations of Proficiency in Medical First Aid

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Coast Guard, DOT.


Notice of availability and request for comments.


The Coast Guard announces the availability of, and seeks public comments on, the national performance measures proposed here for use as guidelines when mariners demonstrate their proficiency in Medical First Aid. These measures were developed from recommendations and input provided by the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC).


Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before June 24, 2002.


Please identify your comments and related material by the docket number of this notice [USCG 2002-12032]. Then, to make sure they enter the docket just once, submit them by just one of the following means:

(1) By mail to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

(2) By delivery to room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

(3) By fax to the Docket Management Facility at 202-493-2251.

(4) Electronically through the Web site for the Docket Management System at

In choosing among these means, please give due regard to the recent difficulties with delivery of mail by the U.S. Postal Service to Federal facilities.

The Docket Management Facility maintains the public docket for this Notice. Comments and related material received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this Notice, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also find this docket on the Internet at

The measures proposed here are also available from Mr. Mark Gould, Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division, Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, Commandant (G-MSO-1), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, telephone 202-267-0229, or e-mail address

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For questions on this Notice or on the national performance measures proposed here, e-mail or call Mr. Gould where indicated under ADDRESSES. For questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Dorothy Beard, Chief, Dockets, Department of Transportation, telephone 202-366-9329.

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What Action Is the Coast Guard Taking?

Section A-VI/4-1 of the Code accompanying the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended in 1995, articulates qualifications for ensuring merchant mariners' attaining the minimum standard of competence through demonstrations of their proficiency in Medical First Aid. The Coast Guard tasked MERPAC with referring to the Section, modifying and specifying it as it deemed necessary, and recommending national performance measures. The Coast Guard has reviewed the measures recommended by MERPAC and has developed a final set that we are proposing here for use as guidelines for assessing that proficiency.

The guidelines are set up as follows: First we set forth the Competency within the STCW a mariner must demonstrate to meet the STCW section. Next we give a series of examples of Performance Conditions, a set of Performance Behaviors for each Performance Condition, and a set of Performance Standards for each Performance Behavior.

For example, if the Competency to demonstrate is: “Apply immediate first aid in the event of accident or illness on board,” a Performance Condition for that Competency demonstrating knowledge, understanding, and proficiency is: In a graded practical exercise, given a simulated non-critical patient, * * *

A Performance Behavior for that Condition is: * * * the candidate will perform an initial assessment (primary survey).

A Performance Standard for that Behavior is: The candidate correctly assesses and treats, within 1 minute, life-threatening conditions, including: level of responsiveness; breathing; circulation; and severe bleeding.

If the mariner properly meets all of the Performance Standards, he or she passes the practical demonstration. If he or she fails to properly carry out any of the Standards, he or she fails it.

Why is the Coast Guard Taking This Action?

The Coast Guard is taking this action to comply with STCW, as amended in 1995 and incorporated into domestic regulations at 46 CFR parts 10, 12, and 15 in 1997. Guidance from the International Maritime Organization on shipboard assessments of proficiency suggests that Parties develop standards and measures of performance for Start Printed Page 19793practical tests as part of their programs for training and assessing seafarers.

How May I Participate in This Action?

You may participate in this action by submitting comments and related material on the national performance measures proposed here. (Although the Coast Guard does not seek public comment on the measures recommended by MERPAC, as distinct from the measures proposed here, those measures are available on the Internet at the home page of MERPAC,​hq/​g-m/​advisory/​merpac/​merpac.htm). These measures are available on the Internet at, under this docket number [USCG 2002-12032]. They are also available from Mr. Gould where indicated under ADDRESSES. If you submit written comments please include—

  • Your name and address;
  • The docket number for this Notice [USCG 2002-12032];
  • The specific section of the performance measures to which each comment applies; and
  • The reason for each comment.

You may mail, deliver, fax, or electronically submit your comments and related material to the Docket Management Facility, using an address or fax number listed in ADDRESSES. Please do not submit the same comment or material more than once. If you mail or deliver your comments and material, they must be on 81/2-by-11-inch paper, and the quality of the copy should be clear enough for copying and scanning. If you mail your comments and material and would like to know whether the Docket Management Facility received them, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. The Coast Guard will consider all comments and material received during the 60-day comment period.

Once we have considered all comments and related material, we will publish a final version of the national performance measures for use as guidelines by the general public. Individuals and institutions assessing the competence of mariners may refine the final version of these measures and develop innovative alternatives. If you vary from the final version of these measures, however, you must submit your alternative to the National Maritime Center for approval by the Coast Guard under 46 CFR 10.303(e) before you use it as part of an approved course or training program.

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Dated: April 2, 2002.

Howard L. Hime,

Acting Director of Standards, Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection.

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[FR Doc. 02-9833 Filed 4-22-02; 8:45 am]