Part 1. Q&A published in the DOT's Coast Guard Marine Employer Guidebook
Do I need a chemical testing program?
A prevailing question smaller commercial operators (employing only one or two employees) often ask is "Do the chemical testing regulations apply to me?" The answer is a big "Yes". The chemical testing regulations apply to most commercial vessel operations regardless of the number of employees and regardless of whether the vessel is inspected or uninspected. This includes "guide services".
Do "independent contractors" or part time crewmembers need to be part of a marine employer's chemical testing program?
Again, the answer is "yes". If an individual meets the definition of a crewmember, as described in 46CFR16.105, they must be part of the chemical testing program, regardless of how short the time period they work on board the vessel. Enclosure 6 has been included in this guide in order to assist with the problem of having part time crewmembers in the chemical testing program.
With bareboat charters, who is responsible for ensuring a drug testing program is in place for that chartered vessel (the hired captain, vessel owner, people who chartered the vessel, etc.)?
The marine employer is responsible. This can be played out in several ways depending on the arrangements/contracts and should probably be looked at on a case by case basis. Any one of the people listed above can play the part of the marine employer. That person must have a chemical testing program in place.
I change mates so frequently; do I have to obtain a pre-employment test for each mate?
The pre-employment test may be waived if one of the conditions under 46CFR16.210 is met.
What are the penalties for violation of these regulations?
The following enforcement actions may be taken for noncompliance with the Coast Guard chemical testing regulations:
- Certificate of Inspection (COI) may be removed or not issued
- Civil Penalty may be assessed of up to $5,000.00 per day per violation
- Suspension & Revocation (S&R) proceedings may be initiated against an individual's license, MMD, or COR
- Captain of the Port (COTP) order may be issued
- Letter of Warning
- CG-835 (deficiency ticket) may be issued.
What about the marine employer who runs a "non-profit" or charity operation and the crewmember who is a "volunteer"?
In these two cases the financial or payment status is not an issue. The requirements for chemical testing still apply.
Are individuals changing positions or ships within a company's fleet considered "new hires" and need a pre-employment test?
What is a "serious marine incident"?
See detailed description here from the Coast Guard
Are breathalyzer devices required onboard?
Yes, but only for inspected vessels certified for unrestricted ocean or restricted overseas routes.
-Source: US Coast Guard Marine Employer Guidebook
Part Two: Questions and answered prepared by Maritime staff specific to our program.
What is The Maritime Consortium?
The Maritime Consortium was created by and for the marine industry in 1989. Membership includes passenger vessels, towing and barge firms, offshore supply vessels, partyboats, charterboats, and numerous other types of firms covered by the regulation. The Consortium works directly with officials from Coast Guard Headquarters to clarify the regulation and incorporate changes in the rules. Consortium staff is fully knowledgeable of all aspects of the drug regulation. We are a nationally accredited program meeting all elements of the drug testing rules and having industry standards.
What is Provided by the Consortium?
The Maritime Consortium, Inc. provides all the required paperwork, recordkeeping, random number generation, report submission to the USCG and chain of custody testing required by the regulation. The Consortium locates a collection site 30 miles or less from each member to perform all test collections. In addition to the standard requirements, the Consortium also provides random testing services specifically designed for seasonal operators. A full description of the particular Maritime services is outlined here.
How do I know Maritime will provide me the required services?
Maritime guarantees, in writing, 100% full compliance with all the drug and alcohol testing rules. We have been in the business of providing companies compliance for the full 11 years the rule has been in effect.
How do I know I am getting the best price?
Maritime guarantees to match the price any comparable program, or refund your membership fee. See our full comparison chart here. As you will note, you may find that no other program matches Maritime's services and depth.
Can I set up and manage my own program instead of joining Maritime?
Yes its possible. First step is to, read, understand and comply with 49 CFR 40, 46 CFR parts 4, 5, 16. Second, You have to write a company policies and drug abuse materials. Lastly, you need to find a Lab, a MRO and a collection site that complies with DOT and Coast Guard regulations. But you will have to find someone other than you to do random selections if you are a Coast Guard licensed person. Your alternative is to join Maritime and let us do all that work and guarantee you compliance for the price of about one drug test.
How Do I Enroll in the Consortium?
To enroll in the Maritime Consortium, please complete the Enrollment Application for yourself and crewmember(s). You will receive a certificate of compliance, an identification card for each enrolled employee, and a consortium information booklet which includes Employee Assistance Program materials and procedures. Please read the Membership Agreement for details on the services you will be provided as well as information on Pre-employment testing.
Enrollment covers all costs of random, reasonable cause and post accident drug tests for each enrolled person, regardless of the number of times they are selected for tests over the course of the year. Please see the enclosed application for details on prices and enrollment conditions.
What further information is available on this site?
Everything you need to learn everything about the drug and alcohol testing regulations. A full list and the links can be found on our regulations resource page.
Also, for other questions, you can contact USCG Headquarters' Marine Safety Office at 202-267-0686, or The Maritime Consortium at 800-775-6985.