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Compliance for USCG Drug Testing Regulations

12 Jan 2015

HELP!  What Do I Need To Be In Compliance?

… Marine Employers – Help is available for your drug testing program

I have just acquired a 65 feet long boat after making the decision to do charter boat fishing and taking passengers out for leisurely day of fishing.  I previously owned a boat before for my personal use but was not aware of all that I would have to do now I am venturing into the commercial sport fishing world.

I have obtained a master’ license which allows me to operate a vessel that that weighs up to 100 gross tons.  One of the things that I had to complete was to take and pass a drug test to get my Master’s License.  I passed the written exam and took a physical examination to get the license.  Now if I can figure out how the fish finding gadget works, I will be all set to go, or so I thought.

The Coast Guard came by paying me a visit wanting to inspect the vessel to ensure that it was safe to carry passengers.  They wanted to see my license which I was proud to show to them.

The boat passed inspection but with conditions. The Coast Guard told me that I would be required to carry at least two crewmembers in order to safely operate the vessel.  That means that I will have to hire two individuals who will not be afraid to touch a fish.  The Coast Guard said they would be back after I hired these deckhands.  Fortunately they do not have to have a license. The Coast Guard also gave a list of items that I would have to have in order to be in compliance.  

I quickly reviewed the list of items and one thing caught my eye.  I have to have a drug test program.  I asked my marine insurance carrier about this.  They told me that if I did not have that drug test program that they would not be able to cover me nor pay any claims that I might incur.

I went online to National Drug Screening (NDS) to see what information they had for me to be in compliance.  NDS had helped me get my drug test completed for my license.  National Drug Screening offers an affordable program with a DOT US Coast Guard Drug Testing Consortium.  They had a wealth of information on their website with numerous article written by the now retired Coast Guard Drug and Alcohol Program Manager. 

After a review of the posted information, I decided that I could not manage this by myself and so I selected NDS to manage my drug and alcohol testing program. That was a very wise decision that I made as it made my life that much easier.  Now all I have to worry about is keeping the passengers happy and where to find fish once I figure out how that dang fishing finding device works.

I found out from reading the regulations there are several requirements that I will have to do in order to be in compliance with the drug and alcohol testing program.  Some of the regulations which the Coast Guard told me to be aware of was:

  • 49 CFR part 40 (Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs;
  • 46 CFR part 4 (Marine Casualties and Investigations);
  • 46 CFR part 5 (Marine Investigation Regulations – Personnel Action);
  • 46 CFR part 16 (Chemical Testing); and
  • 33 CFR part 95 (Operating a Vessel While under the Influence of Alcohol or a Dangerous Drug.

The next article will be on what had to be done to be in compliance.