For mariners that have been frustrated with dealing with the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) for their credentials, there is hope.
The NMC is testing a real-time, person-to-person service for mariners.
As Dale DuPont reported in the August issue of WorkBoat that just hit the streets, the NMC began live online chat beta testing for mariners to talk directly to customer service agents on July 1. The hope is that it will provide a timesaving option for what is often a laborious credentialing process.
The first phase of the program began June 8 with a Help Ticket feature — similar to the current 24/7 email system — that also provides a mechanism that permits the Coast Guard to more readily track a request to completion. As Dale wrote in her News Log story, through late June, the NMC had logged about 20 help tickets a day and still received several hundred direct e-mails daily. The Coast Guard expects these numbers to grow as people become more aware of the system.
Here’s how it works: For the online chat phase, mariners talk directly to one of five agents (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday). Then they are able to save a copy of their conversation transcript and upload files during the chat. While agents are logged into the live chat, the ticketing system will be unavailable but activated again when agents log out.
The Coast Guard plans to evaluate the chat system in October to determine the next step. For more information, you can click on the red Live Chat button under "Important Links" on the NMC homepage.