HELP! USCG Drug Testing Regulations

24 Jan 2015

>>>The US Coast Guard requires a drug and alcohol testing program and a drug testing consortium.

Part II - HELP!  What Do I Need To Be In Compliance? - USCG Drug Testing Regulations 

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

Read Part 1 of this Series Here >>>

After reading all of those drug and alcohol testing regulations, I am now beginning to doubt my sanity and wondering why I decided to get in this business.  What do I have to do before I can start on my first charter, I start to make a list.

Need to locate a drug test consortium but I think I will use the group that helped me get my Coast Guard Captain’s license as their rates are reasonable and in line with other consortiums. 

  • That takes care of the following issues:
    • Locate a collection site qualified to collect drug test specimens.
    • Deciding what SAMHSA (What does that acronym stand for anyway?) accredited lab to use,
    • Locate a doctor that is qualified to serve as a Medical Review Officer.

After reading the drug testing regulations again and comparing that list to the list of items that Coast Guard left me, I had better make sure that all is in order as that will be what they will be looking for when they pay me a visit again.  It is time to update the list again.

  • I have to appoint somebody as a Designated Employer Representative (DER).  Ummm, have to ask my wife to see if she would be willing to be the DER.  What does the DER do anyway, better get familiar with the responsibilities before asking her.
  • Still have to hire two people as deckhands who are not afraid to touch a fish and still pass a drug test.
  • Take a drug and alcohol supervisory course on drug and alcohol for myself.
  • Get an employee awareness program for drugs and alcohol for my deckhands.
  • Get some alcohol test kits, hopefully the drug test consortium can assist with this.
  • Get all the official drug and alcohol test forms that I need to be in compliance.
  • Still have to figure out how that fish finder device works before I take any fishing passengers out for a great and fun day of fishing.

Well, I read up on what the duties and responsibilities of the DER is and that does not seem like a heavy or onerous task.  So I asked my wife and she said that she would do it ager some discussion. She asked me why couldn’t I assume that responsibility.  I told her that the DER has to be a person in a non-safety sensitive position and as master of the vessel I was in a safety-sensitive position so I could not be the DER.   Whew, that is one task completed.

Next task, I have located two individuals who have worked on charter boats before and are not afraid to touch a fish.  They are hired provided that they pass a drug test and they know that is requirement plus being subject to random drug testing.

Now to take a supervisory course on drugs and alcohol.  Fortunately there are several available with using CD or DVD as the teaching technology.  I bought the DVD and took the course.  It was a very interesting course and I actually learned a lot from it.

The next article will be more on what I did to meet and fulfill the other requirements.  More importantly, did I pass the Coast Guard Inspection.