How to Obtain a Tankerman License

Tankermen must know how to safely load and discharge hazardous liquids.

Credentialed merchant mariners who have also obtained a Tankerman-PIC endorsement are authorized to work on petroleum and chemical vessels and barges supervising the transfer of oil and other liquids, and the cleaning of the cargo tanks on tank vessels. The National Maritime Center, under the authority of the U.S. Coast Guard, confers a tankerman endorsement to merchant mariners. To earn this designation, applicants must first obtain a merchant mariner credential -- or MMC -- then meet the educational and experience requirements for a tankerman endorsement.

  • Transportation Workers Identification Credential card
  • Medical exam form CG-719K
  • Drug test form CG-719P
  • Proof of seatime service
  • Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping
  • Original application form CG-719B
  • Proof of firefighting course
  • Proof of cargo course

1 Obtaining a Merchant Mariner Credential

2 Visit the Transportation Security Administration's

Visit the Transportation Security Administration's website to apply for a TWIC card. The federal government requires you to possess a TWIC card before you can obtain an MMC.

3 Download physical examination form CG-719K

Download physical examination form CG-719K from the U.S. Coast Guard NMC website. Complete the form, which asks you to list any medications you are taking as well as any medical conditions. You must also undergo a vision and hearing test, and a physical administered by a licensed physician.

4 Download drug test form CG-719P

Download drug test form CG-719P from the U.S. Coast Guard NMC website. Complete this form, which asks for your consent to undergo periodic drug testing by the Coast Guard when you obtain employment. You must also give consent for a drug test by a certified lab. A list of approved labs is available on the NMC website. You must pass this test to obtain your mariner's credential.

5 Obtain proof of seatime service

Obtain proof of seatime service, which can include transcripts, discharge certificates, employers letters or self certification.

6 Provide proof of your Standards of Training

Provide proof of your Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping certificate, which is required for all mariners who sail more than 100 nautical miles offshore or sail into foreign waters. Mariners who work on vessels that weigh more than 200 gross register tons (domestic tonnage), or 500 gross tons (ITC tonnage), are also required to possess this certificate. A list of approved courses and schools that provide training for the certificate is available on the NMC website if you do not have the STCW certificate.

7 Download an MMC application form CG-719B from the NMC website

Download an MMC application form CG-719B from the NMC website. Complete the form, which requires you to provide personal data information, and to verify your drug and criminal history.

8 Attach the application

Attach the application to the front of your documents and check the NMC website for the fees associated with your application. You must write a check or money order for this fee.

9 Find the National Maritime Regional

Find the National Maritime Regional Exam Center nearest to you by visiting the NMC website, which provides addresses for all 17 locations. Mail your application package to the center.

10 Obtaining a Tankerman Endorsement

11 Visit the U.S. Coast Guard NMC website

Visit the U.S. Coast Guard NMC website to find a list of schools that provide Coast Guard approved courses.

12 Enroll

Enroll in a tankerman course that will provide you with the education and training required to obtain a tankerman endorsement. The course you choose must include classes in cargo-handling and tank barge firefighting. Course length varies depending on the school you choose, but typically lasts from four to six months.

13 Provide evidence of experience

Provide evidence of experience through a letter on company letterhead from the owner, operator or master of the vessel on which you served. The letter must confirm that you served a minimum of 90 days on a tank ship or self-propelled tank vessel. It must also confirm that you have a minimum of 10 transfers of bulk liquid cargo, which must include five loadings and five discharges, two commencements of loading and two completions of loading, and two commencements of discharge and two completions of discharge.

14 The Endorsement box

Complete application form CG-719B and check the "Endorsement" box in section two, then write that you are applying for a tankerman endorsement beneath the box that reads "Applying for."

15 Have a licensed physician

Complete physical examination form CG-719K and have a licensed physician administer a physical.

16 Attach all supporting documents supporting to the endorsement application

Attach all supporting documents to the endorsement application. The documents are the physical exam and medical form, evidence of service on tankships, certificate of a firefighting course, certificate of a cargo course and education certificate from an approved tankerman instruction school.

17 Visit the NMC website

Visit the NMC website to obtain the current tankerman endorsement fee, and write a check or money order. Mail the completed application package to the nearest Regional Exam Center.

  • The NMC website offers an online application option as well as the opportunity to visit a regional exam center by appointment to submit the application.

Sampson Quain is a screenwriter and filmmaker who began writing in 1996. He has sold feature and television scripts to a variety of studios and networks including Columbia, HBO, NBC, Paramount and Lionsgate. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.