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.
Tankermen should renew their benzene card every year.
Renew every year. A 8 hour HAZWOPPER renewal course is required to keep the HAZWOPPER current.
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
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.
Must renew every 10 years.
GMDSS Radio Certificate:
Good for life. Currently a GMDSS License never expires.