Renewing Your Captain’s License: A Quick Overview


Renewing Your Captain’s License: A Quick Overview

As a professional captain, whether you command small passenger vessels or manage private charters, your USCG license is essential. Here’s a concise guide on how to renew your license to ensure continuous operation.

Understanding License Validity and Renewal Requirements

A captain’s license, such as the Six-Pack or 100 GT Master’s license, is valid for five years from the issuance date. Check your Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) for the exact expiration date. Renewal demands careful attention to several key details:

It’s crucial to start the renewal process early and complete the appropriate application forms completely. Delaying could jeopardize your ability to operate legally, as processing by the USCG can take several weeks to months. Once expired, your license is ineffective until renewed, and despite the six-year grace period for renewal without retesting, you cannot operate a vessel during this time.

Renewal Eligibility: Ensure you meet all the renewal criteria, including the required sea service time and a current medical fitness examination. To renew an OUPV or Master 100gt license, you must document 360 days of sea service on the Small Vessel Sea Service Form (CG-719S), with at least 90 days within the last three years.

Handling the Application Forms: Start preparing your renewal application forms well in advance, completing necessary tasks like drug tests, TWIC card renewal, and physical examinations. Each of these tasks has its own form to complete. Double-check each form for completion and accuracy to prevent renewal delays, 

Consider using tools like MM-SEAS USCG Licensing Software to track your sea service, simplifying the renewal process significantly.

Specific Renewal Procedures

Six-Pack License Renewal: For those actively using their license and meeting the sea-time requirements, renewal is generally straightforward. However, license upgrades or insufficient sea time may require additional coursework and examinations.

100 GT Master License Renewal: Active license holders meeting the renewal requirements can anticipate a straightforward process. However, license upgrades or failing to meet sea time may also lead to additional requirements. Note that certificates from courses are valid for only one year in lieu of a CG exam.

Utilizing Third-Party Renewal Services

While the renewal process can be managed independently, third-party services like offer expert guidance and support, ensuring compliance with all regulations and streamlining it. I highly recommend them. Their success rates for accurate application forms and packages are excellent! 


Maintaining the validity of your USCG license is vital for your professional continuity and compliance. By understanding and preparing for the renewal process and utilizing available resources, you can ensure a smooth transition and continue your maritime career with confidence. Visit Confident Captain for more information on licensing courses and to continue your journey as a professional Captain.