Are you aware of the concept of license creep? When you renew your USCG license, the new license will expire exactly 5 years from the date of issue of the renewed license. So, if you renew 5 months before your current license expires, you will loose 4 or 5 months of the fee you paid when you got the previous license. If you are on your 4th or 5th renewal, you may have lost over a year’s worth of user fees.
Say you got your first license on January 1, 1980. You would have been required to renew in ’85, ’90, ’95, 2000 and 2005 to be current today. So, you should be on the 6th issue of your license. But, if you always tried to be a good scout and renewed 6 months early each time, you would actually already be on your 7th issue rather than your 6th.
Here is the deal: you pay about $100 in fees to get a 5 year license, but you can only use all 60 months of that if you wait to the very last day to renew. Over the course of your career, you end up getting cheated, because you’re paying fees based on a 60 month renewal cycle, but you are forced to “surrender” some of those months when you renew.
Well, the Coast Guard calls this license creep. They recognize that it happens, and they have put in place system to keep it at a minumum. Here is a link to the official Policy Letter that explains to the REC how to deal with the problem.
When I renewed in December, I asked about this issue, but I didn’t have this Policy Letter in hand, and the license examiner didn’t seem to know anything about this policy and just kinda shrugged his shoulders and said “too bad”…
If your renewal is coming up, print this out and request “delayed issuance” of your next license.