DRUG TESTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CHARTER VESSELS
46 CFR Parts 4 and 16, 49 CFR Part 40, 33 CFR 95
Requirements for marine employers to have drug testing programs have been effective since November 21, 1988.
These requirements are applicable to all US flagged vessels in commercial service, regardless of vessel size or capacities, including what are
commonly known as Six Pack Charter Vessels.
The rule applies to all commercial service vessels required to be operated by a US Coast Guard
issued licensed individual, onboard any US flagged inspected and uninspected vessel on any route,
commercial fishing vessels 200 GT or greater, and towing vessels 26 feet in length or longer. All
crewmembers responsible for the safe operation and navigation of the vessel or those responsible for
the safe handling of passengers in the event of an emergency must be tested.
Types Of Testing
Types of tests for drugs: Pre-employment, periodic, random, reasonable suspicion, and post serious
marine incident (SMI), return-to-duty, and follow-up.
5-panel standard DOT testing for marijuana,cocaine,amphetamines,opiates,phencyclidine (PCP).
Types of tests for alcohol: 49 CFR Part 40 alcohol-testing requirements do not apply to the
Maritime Industry. 46 CFR Part 4.06 requires post-SMI chemical testing for alcohol use. 33
CFR Part 95.035 allows for a marine employer or a law enforcement officer to direct an
individual to undergo a chemical test for intoxicants when reasonable cause exists or a marine
casualty has occurred.
All employees governed under CFR Part 40 are required to be enrolled in a DOT regulated consortium.
- Incident requiring testing: An SMI is defined in 46 CFR 4.03-2. as a "discharge of 10,000 gallons
or more of oil into the navigable waters of the United States, whether or not resulting from a marine casualty; a discharge of a reportable quantity of a
hazardous substance into the navigable waters or into the environment of the United States,
whether or not resulting from a marine casualty; or a marine casualty or accident required to be
reported to the Coast Guard, involving a vessel in commercial service, and resulting in any of the
following: One or more deaths; an injury to any person (including passengers) which requires
professional medical treatment beyond first aid, and, in the case of a person employed on board a
commercial vessel, which renders the person unable to perform routine vessel duties; damage to
property in excess of $100,000; actual or constructive total loss of any inspected vessel; or actual
or constructive total loss of any uninspected, self-propelled vessel of 100 gross tons or more."
- Reasonable-suspision determination (drugs): The marine employer must have an adequate assumption that the individual has used a dangerous drug. These assumptions should be based on direct observation of specific, contemporaneous physical, behavioral, or performance indicators of probable use. If able, two employers should have witnessed these behaviors.
- Reasonable-suspision determination (alcohol): The employee was directly involved in the occurrence of a marine casualty or the individual operating a vessel and the effect of the intoxicant(s) consumed by the individual on the person's manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior is apparent by observation.
Pre-duty alcohol use prohibitions: Four (4) hours prior to performance of scheduled duty.
Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance 11
- Employee training: Employer must provide education with display and distribution of
informational materials and a community service hot-line telephone number. Distribution to
each employee of the employer’s policy regarding the use of drugs and alcohol is mandatory.
Training must include the effects of drugs and alcohol on personal health, safety, and work
environment; and manifestations and behavioral cues that may indicate drug and alcohol use and
- Supervisor training: One-hour of training is required on the effects of drugs and alcohol on
personal health, safety, and work environment; and manifestations and behavioral cues that may
indicate drug and alcohol use and abuse.
- Reportable employee drug and alcohol violations: Results of all post-SMI tests and positive
drug test results for all mariners who hold a license, certificate of registry or merchant mariner's
document must be reported to the nearest Coast Guard Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection.
Failure to comply with these regulations can result in loss of a license or document, loss of a vessel, or civil penalties at
a rate of $5,500 per day per violation.