The question is “Does the Radar Observer Endorsement still need to be renewed?”
The answer is YES, a Radar Observer Endorsement is still required to be renewed every five-years to keep the endorsement on your Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC). What has changed is the options for renewing the endorsement.
Recent changes to Title 46 part 11.480 now allows the mariner to renew his or her Radar Observer Endorsement with acceptable documentary evidence of 1-year of relevant sea service within the last 5-years in a position that routinely uses radar for navigation and collision avoidance purposes.
Mariners not able to document evidence of 1-year of relevant experience within the last 5-years may complete an approved Radar Recertification or Refresher course to renew their Radar Observer Endorsement. In service to the maritime industry Columbia Pacific Maritime (CPM) will continue to offer a USCG approved Radar Recertification course for mariners not able to document relevant sea service experience.