A Little Tweaked about the TWIC

26 September 2008 By Kelly Sanford

“I’m gonna need to start carrying a briefcase just to hold all my marine documents,” laughs Capt. Scott Kidd of M/Y WOW, “I’ve got my passport, my license, an STCW, my MMD and now a TWIC.”

Did you just think, “TWIC? What’s a TWIC?”

Well, you wouldn’t be the first yachtie feeling a little tweaked about the TWIC – the Transportation Worker Identification Credential.

Any mariner who holds a USCG license, a Merchant Mariner’s Document and/or STCW is now required to obtain a TWIC in order to secure the validity of those documents.

The original deadline had been set for September 25, 2008, but realizing the gap in registered mariners, the definitive deadline has been pushed back to April 15, 2009. However, crew entering the ports of Newport News, Virginia, Morgan City and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, St. Louis, Missouri, and Miami, Key West and St. Petersburg, Florida, (basically anywhere between the Keys to Fort Pierce) are required to be in possession of a TWIC by January 13, 2009.

TWIC cards are administered by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), which defines the TWIC as “A biometric credential that ensures only vetted workers are eligible to enter a secure area of a Maritime Transportation Security Act-regulated port or vessel unescorted.”

It is important to reiterate that the validity of all USCG marine licensing documents is contingent upon holding a current TWIC after April 15 – including those crew who only hold an STCW.

According to the TSA, “The enrollment process consists of the following components: optional pre-enrollment, in-person enrollment, security threat assessment and notification of the results and issuance of the TWIC to the applicant.”

“It really isn’t a big deal,” says Capt. Kidd. “I pre-enrolled online and went in for an appointment that took about fifteen or twenty minutes. The card came a few weeks later…. It’s not like an STCW – or anything like that – they basically take your fingerprints and your picture; you pay your fee and you’re done.”

The TSA website states, “The fee for a TWIC card will be $132.50 and the credential is valid for five years. Those who hold a valid MMD issued after February 3, 2003 [or] MML issued after January 13, 2006…may pay a reduced fee of $105.25…since similar threat assessments are included in those credentials.” However, if the reduced fee is paid, then the TWIC expires with the corresponding credential (so, if you have it, be sure to use an ’03 MMD to get a reduced rate).

Though the transportation industry has required its employers to make employees aware of the TWIC requirement, the news has been lagging in reaching the ears of the pleasure vessel industry.

To help expedite the process, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, in conjunction with the USCG and organizers of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), will host a TWIC enrollment center during the boat show.

The FLIBS enrollment center will be open at the Marine Professionals Inc booth, which is designated to be at the southwest corner of the Seabreeze Building at Bahia Mar. The center will be open October 29 to November 2 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and November 3 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. To pre-register for enrollment at this or any other center or to get more detailed information regarding the TWIC application process, visit or call 1 866 347 8942.

More details:

To pre-register or to locate an enrollment center:
By phone: 1 866 347 8942