Focus Session: Session B – Navigating the Regulatory Seas: License Tracking


This session is a panel discussion regarding the path for mariners to take to enter the industry, i.e. what paperwork should they get from the vessels they work on for license, courses, sea service, and how to navigate the NMC etc.

 This session should be broad enough to answer any questions that might be asked by members of the audience – The focus will be on answering questions to provide assistance in obtaining a merchant mariner credential.

Speakers Biographies:

Luke Harden

Mr. Luke Harden presently serves as a member in the office of Vessel Activities as chief of the Mariner Credentialing Program Policy Division (CG-5434).  This division is responsible for the establishment, review, and revision of mariner credentialing policy in the Coast Guard.  CG-5434 also reviews all appeals of mariner applications for Admiral Cook.           

 Mr Harden is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.  Upon graduating from the Coast Guard Academy in 1984, he was assigned as a student engineer on the CGC CONFIDENCE (WMEC 619), Port Angeles, WA.  Following that assignment, he served as the Deck Watch Officer & Navigator on the CGC Rush (WHEC 721), Alameda, CA.  Later he served as a Marine Inspector/Casualty Investigator/License Examiner at MSO Puget Sound, Seattle, WA; Senior Investigator at MSO Portland, Portland OR; Chief, Inspection, Licensing, & Investigation Departments at MSO St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; as a regulatory project officer within the office of Operating and Environmental Standards of Coast Guard Headquarters, and as a subject matter expert in the matters of mariner credentialing in the Mariner Credentialing Program Policy division. 

In 2004, Mr. Harden retired from the Coast Guard after 20 years of active duty service. He was hired by the Coast Guard as a maritime transportation specialist to work on matters pertaining to merchant mariner credentialing to include development of policy and regulations.   

 Captain Jonathan Kabak

Jonathan Kabak is a Licensed Mariner and Marine Consultant that has worked in Sail Training and Sea Education for nearly two decades.  In that time he has developed programs for organizations as diverse as the South Street Seaport Museum and the United States Merchant Marine Academy.  Most recently he has been affiliated with the Sea Education Association sailing both as a ship’s officer and serving as nautical science faculty for their summer programs.  Jonathan holds a 500ton Ocean Master’s License.  He and his wife live in Providence, RI.


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