In order to properly document sea time, candidates must fill out the Small Vessel Sea Service form and transfer all of their sea time information to this document. Please note that one form should be used for each vessel and that the owner, operator, or master must sign off on the time for the form to be valid. If the candidate is the owner of the vessel, he or she may sign off on his or her own sea time.

A day is defined as eight hours of watchstanding or day work, not to include overtime. On commercial vessels where a twelve-hour workday is authorized and practiced, such as on a six-on, six-off watch schedule, each workday may be considered for one and one-half days of service credit. Required sea service is specified in months or years, which are then converted to days, i.e., one year means 360 days and one month is 30 days. Service other than on deck is given half credit (e.g., 1 day credit for every 2 days served) and an approved training program may substitute for all except 30 days of the service requirement. On vessels of less than 100 gross tons, a day is considered as eight hours unless the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection determines that the vessel's operating schedule makes this criteria inappropriate, in no case will this period be less than four hours.