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renew your usg license in 10 easy steps

If this checklist is overwhelming we get it and that is why we built MM-SEAS software. MM-SEAS will walk you through each step with clear instructions, videos and interactive checklists to make the process painless. I bet we might even be able to help you get a bigger license with only sea time!

If you want to do it yourself, get expert help, or hand it off start to finish — we have a solution to get your USCG License done right.

Make Your 25 ton Captain License Renewal Easy

Captain's licenses must be renewed every five years. Our 25 ton captain license renewal checklist will help you get ready for your next captain's license renewal by checking off these items one by one.

Sea Service

You may need Training

USCG Medical Certificate

Here's the 10 steps for renewal

Your Old MMC

USCG License

TWIC or Exemption Memo

TWIC Card

 Drug Test Documentation

 USCG Fees

Fill out the CG-719B

Email to an REC

Step 1: Gather Your Sea Service Documents From the Last Five Years

It’s time to gather your Sea Service Letters. Go track down every CG-719S (Small Vessel Sea Service form), Sea Service Letter on Company Letterhead, Certificate of Discharge and Active Duty/ Reserve documents (USCG TOSS, Army TOSS, NOAA TOSS, USCG AOPS) of sea service you have earned.

Once you’ve gathered all of your sea service documents, Start by counting up your sea days in the previous five years of your renewal application date. This number is what will drive Step 2!

If you know that you are not going to have 360 days in the last 5 years or it’s just a pain in the rear to track it all down, don't stress out. You can easily renew without it! 

MM-SEAS User Tip: You can add all of your Sea Service documents into the software. The system will calculate everything for you and you will always have a safe place to store your documents.

1.1 Create CG-719S (Small Vessel Sea Service) Forms for Your own Vessels

If you are the owner of a vessel on which you are claiming service, you can easily create and sign perfect CG-719S forms inside of MM-SEAS.

All you need to do is follow the steps and make sure you record every day that you were underway for over four hours on your vessel. MM-SEAS will guide you through creating and signing a perfect CG-719S that is ready to submit to the USCG with your application. 

MM-SEAS User Tip: MM-SEAS gets rid of the typical math errors that happen with CG-719S forms. 

1.2 Proof of Ownership if Using Your own Vessel on CG-719S (Small Vessel Sea Service) Form

If you are the owner of a vessel on which you are claiming service, you must submit one of the following proof of ownership documents for that vessel.
 

Acceptable proof of ownership may include: Title, Registration (state registered vessels), Certificate of Documentation (U.S. Coast Guard registered vessels), Proof of insurance (which clearly identifies the vessel) or a Bill(s) of sale.

MM-SEAS User Tip: Make sure your name is on the proof of ownership and the vessel ID you use on your CG-719S matches your proof of ownership document. If it doesn’t the USCG will not accept any of your sea time for that vessel.

Step 2: Your Sea Days From the Previous Five Years of Your USCG License Renewal Application Date Will Determine if Tests are Required to Renew Your 25 ton Captain License

How many sea days you have in the last 5 years determines if you need to take an open book take home test to renew your 25 ton captain license.

MM-SEAS User Tip: If you have added all of your Sea Service documents into MM-SEAS software. The system will calculate everything for you and let you know if you will be taking an open book take home test renew your 25 ton captain license. 

2.1 Easily Renew your USCG 25 ton captain license endorsement

Everyone who holds an MMC will have a domestic endorsement such as Master 25 ton

You can find these on your MMC booklet below the statement “is entitled under Title 46 (Shipping) U.S. Code to serve in the capacity or capacities specified (National Only), subject to any limitations indicated”.

MM-SEAS User Tip: If you are using MM-SEAS they will be listed under “Domestic Training” on the Renewal Checklist.

2.2 Renewing Your 25 ton Captain License with 360 or more sea days in the previous five years of your renewal application

You do not need to take any tests for your 25 ton captain license renewal.

 

Just turn in your sea service making sure it’s signed everywhere it needs to be, the math adds up and it’s easy to read for the USCG Evaluators. 

Make sure to ask for your automatic upgrade to 50 ton captain when you renew as well. Because you have 90 days where you spent over 4 hrs on the water assisting with the navigation of a boat since you were issued your 25 GRT Captain’s license you can upgrade to a 50 GRT Captain with just the sea service paperwork you already have! The route, size of the boat and what you were doing does not matter. You just need to have been in the Deck department assisting with the safe navigation of the vessel for 90 days to upgrade. 

MM-SEAS User Tip: Make sure your name is on the proof of ownership and the vessel ID you use on your CG719S matches your proof of ownership document. If it doesn’t the USCG will not accept any of your sea time for that vessel.

You will need to take an open book take home test.

 

This will be emailed to you after your application is approved for all domestic licenses that you hold. Remember, you have been sailing and got your original 25 ton captain license so the open book test should be a breeze!

You may use any reference material to complete the examination. Google, the Library, any Book, literally any resource. The only rule is that you may receive no help from any other person.

A grade of 90% is required to pass each module.

For Officer Endorsements, you have a total of 90 days from the date they email the test. You get three attempts (it’s open book so you have to try to fail) and if you don’t pass after your third attempt you pay the $45 examination fee again and you get three more attempts.

 

Do you have 90 days where you spent over 4 hrs on the water assisting with the navigation of a boat since you were issued your 25 GRT Captain’s license? If you do, make sure to ask for your automatic upgrade to 50 ton captain! All you need is 90 days where you spent over 4 hrs on the water assisting with the navigation of a boat since you were issued your 25 GRT Captain’s license and you can upgrade to a 50 GRT Captain with just the sea service paperwork you already have! 

The route, size of the boat and what you were doing does not matter. You just need to have been in the Deck department assisting with the safe navigation of the vessel for 90 days to upgrade. 

MM-SEAS User Tip: When you use MM-SEAS to submit your renewal application our USCG licensing specialist take care of getting you your Open Book Take Home test emailed directly to you.

2.3 Renewing your 25 ton captain license endorsement if you have less than 360 days in the previous five years of your renewal application

mmc license

Step 3: You need A Valid Medical Certificate to Renew Your USCG License

You need a valid medical certificate to renew your 25 ton captain license.

It must either be an unexpired medical certificate or submit a medical certificate application.

Getting your USCG medical certificate is easy.

  • Print off a CG-719K form from the USCG NMC Medical website.

  • Schedule your medical exam with a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who is licensed in the US or US Territory.

  • Bring the printed form CG-719K with you to your medical exam appointment.

  • Have your medical provider complete all 10 pages and sign the form.

  • After your exam, email the completed CG-719K form directly to MEDAIP@uscg.mil as a pdf file.

 

Make sure to include your full name in the subject line or your email to medical. I usually use this format: Last, First, MMC Reference Number. Mine would be: Gilman, Nate, 347478

Click here to print off a CG-719K Form from the Coast Guard Medical website

Step 4: You Need a Picture of Your Current MMC and Attachments to Renew Your USCG License

MM-SEAS User Tip: Add your MMC pages by taking a picture with your phone. This skips the photocopier and allows you to create perfect applications from your phone and desktop. MM-SEAS will store your documents, and automatically alert you as your expiration is coming up.  


Photocopy all attachments on front and back of what you are renewing. This can be your uncancelled MMD, MMC, license, STCW endorsement, Certificate of Registry (COR), or Document of Continuity.

Step 5: You never need a TWIC to renew your 25 ton captain license

You only need a valid TWIC if you need it for work. If you don't need a TWIC for work we recommend using a TWIC Exemption Memo instead.

MM-SEAS User Tip: MM-SEAS can create Perfect TWIC Exemption Memos inside of the site for you. One less thing to worry about and you just saved $125.25 but lost out on TSA Precheck!

If you do need a TWIC for work then you should renew it online. 
Go to this link and follow the steps to renew your TWIC

For your 25 ton captain license renewal package you need to provide Recent Evidence of Applying for a TWIC, a Valid 
TWIC or a TWIC Exemption Memo.

USCG License TWIC Card Exemption Memo
TWIC Card

OR

MM-SEAS User Tip: Add your Drug Test Paperwork and MM-SEAS will automatically alert you as the 185 days are coming up. 

For all renewal applications, you’ll need evidence of having passed a chemical test for dangerous drugs. You may also use a letter from a marine employer attesting to participation in a random drug testing program, or a letter attesting to pre-employment drug testing from your employer instead of a drug test. There are a few exceptions to this requirement including increasing in scope, asking for a duplicate, or applying for an STCW only endorsement. 

 

There are three options to meet this requirement. You only need to fulfill one of the options and it must be dated within 185 of your application being submitted.

  • Option One: Provide the results of a DOT 5 Panel Urine Test for Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates, Phencyclidine, and Amphetamines. Make your life easier by bringing the CG-719P Periodic Drug Testing Form with you to the clinic with a certified Medical Review Officer (MRO) approved through AAMRO or MROCC. ​​Make sure your test states Negative and is signed by the Medical Review Officer (MRO). The USCG will not accept a Positive Result, a Negative - Dilute or a Drug Test Document that is not Signed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO)

 

  • Option Two: Provide a letter on marine employer stationary or on command letterhead attesting to participation in random drug testing program. You must include the exact text from the Overview of Drug Test Requirements Option Two on the USCG website in your letter.  Drug testing letters from a Union will not be accepted by the NMC. If you are part of a Drug Testing Consortium they can provide you a Drug Test Letter. You will need to reach out to your Drug Testing Consortium and ask for a Drug Test Letter to use on your upcoming USCG License Application. 

Step 6: You need Negative Drug Test Documentation to renew your 25 ton captain license

Step 7: The Federal USCG Fees

MM-SEAS User Tip: Pay.gov fees are one of the most common errors made by mariners. Our team calculates and pays the fees perfectly every time which helps create a Perfect application. That’s why we include it in our fee and guarantee they are done right every time! 

If MM-SEAS is creating a Perfect MM-SEAS application for you all of your Pay.gov fees are included in the $299 price for a Perfect MM-SEAS application. You are welcome to figure out pay.gov on your own and we drop the MM-SEAS Perfect Application price down to $199 if you paid the right fees. If you paid the wrong amount it will be full price plus any extra fees we have to pay on your behalf!

 

Add your receipt to MM-SEAS if you want to do it yourself under Renewal Checklist

 

This guidance will help calculate your renewal fees and pay for your renewal on Pay.gov. First, you need to use the table as set forth in 46 CFR 10.219 to calculate the appropriate fees for your license renewal. 


Next, go to the USCG Merchant Mariner User Fee Payment page on Pay.gov. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Continue to Form” button. Fill out the form with your personal details. At the bottom of the first section, “Applicant/Mariner Details,” you will need to choose a Regional Exam Center (REC). Choose the REC that is closest to your home address. The “User Fee Information” section will populate as you select your credential category, endorsement, and credential fees. When you are ready, click “Continue” and pay with a credit card. After payment, Pay.gov will automatically email you a receipt. Keep this email receipt and submit it with your renewal application as proof of payment. 

Step 8: Fill Out the CG-719B Application Form

MM-SEAS User Tip: We use your MM-SEAS profile to create perfect CG-719B forms and take care of everything behind the scenes for you. We promise that you will always keep all of the endorsements you want to renew. 

It’s strongly recommended that you ask for every single endorsement that you want to be renewed. If you do not put it in writing as part of your renewal application, the USCG commonly omits endorsements you previously held and are qualified to renew. 

 

First, fill out the CG-719B form

 

Help with Description of Endorsements Desired Box in Section II - 

 

We know the Description of Endorsements Desired Box on the form is small and you might not have room to fit all of your requested endorsements with every single endorsement you want upgraded, added or an increase in scope in the box. If you can’t fit everything in the box, attach a memo to the form and outline why you are qualified. 

 

If you are just renewing all of your endorsements the USCG prefers that you write, “Renewal of all current credentials” in the Description of Endorsements Desired Box in Section II. We recommend attaching a memo with all endorsements you want renewed as well. 

Step 9: Submit your Application Packet to the Nearest Regional Exam Center (REC)

MM-SEAS User Tip: If you are using MM-SEAS, we can make PERFECT Applications automatically for you, submit them to the National Maritime Center (NMC) and then deal with them in case any issues come up on your behalf. We put everything in the preferred order for the NMC evaluators to make it as easy as possible for your application to be quickly reviewed and approved. 

 

Submit your completed, signed application, with all of the above eight steps documents attached to the nearest USCG Regional Exam Center via email.

All of your documents must be submitted as PDF. You can use electronic signatures as long as they can be verified and your PDF document is not locked afterwards. Your packages of PDF documents cannot be larger than 35MB as the USCG email systems will not accept attachments larger than 35MB. You need to separate all of your documents into 35MB files to submit to the REC. 

When you submit your application packet to the REC, make sure to name each attachment and the email subject line the same:  Last, First, MMC Reference number, (Original/Renewal/Upgrade) Package

As an example my first attachment and email subject line for an renewal would be: Gilman, Nate, 3473478, Renewal Package

Map of USCG License Regional Exam Centers (REC)

Step 10: We’re Here to Help! 

These nine steps may seem a little daunting and we agree.

This is why my team and I built MM-SEAS (www.mmseas.com) Software. If you want to do it yourself, get expert help, or hand it off start to finish — we have a solution to get your USCG License done right.

 

MM-SEAS FREE gives you everything you need to complete your renewal or upgrade application on your own. 

 

MM-SEAS Pro is for mariners who want personal support from live license experts to renew and upgrade their Merchant Mariner Credential while progressing in their career.

Join our USCG licensing office hours every weekday from 5-5:30 PM Pacific. Sign in to www.mmseas.com and click License Guidance for more information. 

 

Visit the MM-SEAS team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube for more tips on license renewals and upgrades.

Go track down every CG-719S (Small Vessel Sea Service form), Sea Service Letter on Company Letterhead, Certificate of Discharge and Active Duty/ Reserve documents (USCG TOSS, Army TOSS, NOAA TOSS, USCG AOPS) of sea service you have earned.

If you need to take the open book take home test to renew your 25 ton captain license depends on how many sea days you have in the last 5 years.

You need a valid medical certificate to renew your 25 ton USCG license. It must either be an unexpired medical certificate or submit a medical certificate application.

Here's the 10 steps for renewal

You want to include a picture of all of the pages with text on them on your current USCG License and attachments.

merchant marine credential

You probably don't need a TWIC.

twic card

You need evidence of having passed a chemical test for dangerous drugs, a letter from a marine employer attesting to participation in a random drug testing program, or a letter attesting to pre-employment drug testing. 

Pay.gov fees are one of the most common errors made by mariners. If MM-SEAS is creating a Perfect MM-SEAS application for you all of your Pay.gov fees are included in the $299 price for a Perfect MM-SEAS application. You are welcome to figure out pay.gov on your own.

Print clearly and legibly while listing all of the endorsements you want to renew. MM-SEAS uses your profile to create perfect CG-719B forms and take care of everything behind the scenes for you. 

Submit your application to the nearest USCG Regional Exam Center via email. If you are using MM-SEAS, we can make PERFECT Applications automatically for you, submit them to the USCG and then deal with them in case any issues come up on your behalf.

Step 10 We're here to help
If you need to renew your 25 ton captain USCG license we will make it easy!

Always Free | $299 if you file with us

(Includes pay.gov fees)

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