Several major changes have occurred since I last renewed my own captain's license, including the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card requirement, which was prompted by 9/11 and the opening of the Coast Guard's National Maritime Center in 2008. According to Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Jon Allen, TWIC was designed to keep individuals who pose a threat from gaining access to the nation's ports. The card is a tamper-resistant ID issued by TSA that has a fingerprint embedded on the card. All OUPV license-holders will be required to have one by April 15, 2009. The fee for the five-year security credential is $132.50, and other details can be found at tsa.gov/twic.
But the TWIC card is the first of many steps necessary for licensing. A thorough physical exam, drug screening (and subsequent random testing), first aid and CPR certifications are also required. A check of your driving history and criminal background checks are also conducted by the Coast Guard prior to approval. In addition, applicants must include three letters of recommendation with their packet.