Providing Guaranteed Compliance with the coast guard's drug
testing regulation, with over 9000 members

As Answered by the Coast Guard

How do I know if I am required to comply with the drug and alcohol testing regulations?

Does this regulation affect independent contractors?

How does this regulation affect bareboat charters?

If I change mates frequently, what are the pre-employment test rules?

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

How does this rule affect non-profit entities or volunteers?

If crewmembers change positions within the company, do they have to premployement test?

What are the testing rules in a serious marine incident?

Are breathalyzer devices required onboard?

Answered by The Maritime Consortium
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:

  1. Certificate of Inspection (COI) may be removed or not issued
  2. Civil Penalty may be assessed of up to $5,000.00 per day per violation
  3. Suspension & Revocation (S&R) proceedings may be initiated against an individual's license, MMD, or COR
  4. Captain of the Port (COTP) order may be issued
  5. Letter of Warning
  6. 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 answeres 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 to assist small and medium sized companies to meet the US Coast Guard's Chemical Testing program requirements. Member companies include passenger vessels, towing and barge firms, offshore supply vessels, partyboats, charterboats, ecotour/kayaking/guide services, and all other types of firms covered by the regulations. Consider us an "outsourced HR function" for small to medium sized companies who would find it costly and difficult to comply with USCG chemical testing regulations.  Maritime works directly with the US Coast Guard to clarify regulations if necessary and incorporate changes in our procedures to ensure our members' compliance. Consortium staff are fully knowledgeable of all aspects of the drug regulations. We are a nationally accredited program meeting all elements of random drug testing regulations and industry standards.

What specific services and products does Maritime provide?

The Maritime Consortium, Inc. provides all the paperwork, record-keeping, random test generation, and report submission to the USCG as required by the regulations. Whenever possible, Maritime provides a collection site 30 miles or less from each member business for 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 USCG chemical testing regulations, provided our member companies adhere to the stipulations of their contract. We have been in the business of providing companies compliance for the full 28 years that the regulations have been in effect.

How do I know I am getting the best price?

Maritime guarantees to match the price of 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. First step is to, read, understand and comply with 49 CFR 40, 46 CFR parts 4, 5, 16. Second, You have to write company policies and drug abuse materials. Lastly, you need to find and contract with a Lab, an 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 Coast Guard licensed. 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). Just click on "JOIN" at the top of the website Home Page and then on "Membership Application." 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 and your responsibilities as a member company.

Enrollment covers all costs of random and reasonable cause drug tests for each enrolled person, regardless of the number of times they are selected for tests over the course of the year.

What further information is available on this site?

Everything you need to learn 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 202-795-6729, or The Maritime Consortium at 800-775-6985.

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