The Mercantile Marine Medal was awarded to members of the Mercantile Marine who qualified for the British War Medal 1914-18-20 and served at sea on at least one voyage through a danger zone. The medal is bronze with the effigy of George V on the obverse. The reverse shows a merchant ship moving through rough seas, with a sinking submarine and sailing vessel in the background. The base of the reverse has the words ‘FOR WAR SERVICE MERCANTILE MARINE 1914-1918,’ all surrounded by a laurel wreath.
The ribbon has a narrow central stripe of white, flanked by green and red stripes. The design represents the starboard, steaming and port lights of a vessel.