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  • Writer's pictureNate Gilman

USCG Captains License Drug Test for Renewal

Updated: Jan 27

For all captain 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. No matter what type of evidence you use, it must be dated within 185 days of your application being submitted to the Regional Exam Center (REC).

You’re required to have a valid drug test when you submit any paperwork or applications to the Coast Guard. All of these options need to be completed within 185 days of submitting your application. The most common mistake we see is related to drug testing paperwork. 11% of the applications submitted to the NMC had an issue with this.

There are three options to meet this requirement. You only need to fulfill one of the options.

Option One: Provide the results of a DOT 5 Panel testing 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).

You’re not required to use the CG-719P Form. However, it’s useful and ensures you’re submitting all of the necessary information.

The 719P form needs to be signed by the MRO and yourself. An MRO is any licensed medical doctor (including doctors of osteopathy (D.O.), a licensed physician assistant, or a licensed nurse practitioner that is approved as an active Medical Review Officer (MRO) through AAMRO or MROCC.

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.

Option Three: Provide a letter on marine employer stationary attesting to pre-employment drug testing. You must include the exact text from the Overview of Drug Test Requirements Option Three on the USCG website ( in your letter.

MM-SEAS User Tip: When you add your Drug Test Paperwork, MM-SEAS will automatically alert you when your 185 day limit is coming up.

MM-SEAS Will Help You Keep Track of Your USCG Captains License Drug Test Paperwork You Need For Renewal

We understand that getting, upgrading and renewing your merchant mariner credential can be a frustrating experience.

This is why my team and I built MM-SEAS ( MM-SEAS makes the complicated licensing process for Captains, Deckhands, Mates, and Engineers simple with an easy to use software that handles the entire USCG licensing process for your first license, renewals and upgrades for you, stores your paperwork, and tracks your sea days.

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

If you have questions about MM-SEAS, or the licensing process, shoot me a note using

the “Ask us anything maritime” above!

We built MM-SEAS to be with you every step of the way! The software makes the merchant mariner credentialing process simple.

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