Cuttermen are called upon to submit themselves to the dangers of the sea in all weather with little more than their experience to carry them safely through. The Ancient Mariner award was established in 1978 to honor the officer and enlisted Coast Guard Cuttermen who personify the dedication and professionalism associated with long service at sea and have held the distinction of Cuttermen longer than any other officer or enlisted member. The cutterman designation comes after five years of sea-service but a person must have a minimum of 10 years sea-duty to qualify for the award.
The Ancient Mariners are charged with keeping a close watch to ensure that the sea service traditions are continued and that the time-honored reputation of the Coast Guard is maintained. During the ceremony, the new Ancient Mariner dons the traditional Ancient Mariner “garb” consisted of a fore and aft style hat, gold braided shoulder epaulets, a Revenue Cutter log book and a nautical long glass.