Credential Expiration Dates for Every Mariner

More paperwork, more problems. Each credential that you carry has an expiration date. When
is that date? Could you name every one? I doubt it.
Here are the expiration dates of merchant mariner documents in order of renewal frequency.

Drug Testing Confirmation:

A Drug Free Certification attesting that you have passed a drug test within the past 185 days is
The second part of this certification should be a statement from your employer stating that you
have been working under a random testing program for at least 60 of the past 185 days and did
not fail or refuse to participate in a chemical test for dangerous drugs.

Benzene Card:

Tankermen should renew their benzene card  every year.


Renew every year. A 8 hour HAZWOPPER renewal course is required to keep the HAZWOPPER current.

USCG Physical:

Renew every year. Keep in mind that the physical must be current for the entire
duration of the voyage. I recommend that you renew your physical every time you get off of a

CPR Card:

Renew every 2 years.


Expires every 5 years.

Tankerman PIC/ Barge PIC:

Expires every 5 years. Requires 90 days spent on a tank vessel as a member of the crew or a renewal class in order to maintain the endorsement.

US Merchant Mariner’s Credential:

Expires every 5 years with a one year grace period upon expiration. Upon expiration
you also must renew: (1) Radar Observer Re-certification/Renewal (1 day training); (2) Basic
Safety Training Refresher course (3-days training) and; (3) an STCW Deck Officer Refresher
course (3 days training)
While on the 1 year grace period, you may not sail on your license.

US Passport:

Must renew every 10 years. 

GMDSS Radio Certificate:

Good for life. Currently a GMDSS License never expires.