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USCG Captain's License Drug Testing

Common Questions About USCG Drug Testing Requirements

Which captain’s licenses require a drug test?

A drug test is required for all Coast Guard captain’s licenses except endorsements, duplicates, and Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) certificates. Licenses that require a drug test include the OUPV/Six-pack and 25-ton, 50-ton, and 100-ton captain’s licenses.

What kind of drug testing does the USCG use for a captain’s license?

Only a Dot 5 Panel (SAMHSA 5 Panel, formerly NIDA 5) test for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine, and amphetamines will be accepted for a captain’s license. Dangerous drugs according to the Department of Transportation rules are marijuana, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), and amphetamines.

Only a screening that tests for the five dangerous drugs is accepted. All tests must be conducted in accordance with Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug Testing Programs in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations CFR Part 40. All qualifying random and periodic drug testing programs must also meet these requirements.

How do you prove you’ve passed a drug test for a USCG boating license?

Acceptable proof of meeting the captain’s license drug testing requirements can be any one of the following:

  • A completed captain’s license drug test form in report or letter form signed by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) or authorized representative of a consortium showing that you passed a chemical test for dangerous drugs conducted in accordance with 49 CFR 40 within the six previous months with no subsequent positive drug tests during the remainder of the six month period.
  • A letter on company or consortium stationary signed by the authorized official that administers the drug testing program stating that you passed a pre-employment or periodic test for dangerous drugs within the previous six months with no subsequent positive drug tests during the remainder of the six month period.
  • A letter on company or consortium stationary signed by the authorized official that administers the drug testing program stating that you have been subjected to a random drug testing required by 46 CFR 16.230 for at least 60 days during the previous 185 days and didn’t fail or refuse to participate in any required chemical test.
  • If you’re an active U.S. Duty member, a letter from your command stating that you have been subjected to random drug testing for the past six months and have not failed or refused to participate in any required tests.

Random testing letters are not accepted for reserve military members since they are only subject to testing during monthly drills. However, if you’re a reserve or active duty member and passed a required chemical test for dangerous drugs within the previous six months, then you may submit a letter from your command stating this.

Do you need a drug test to renew your captain’s license?

Yes, a drug test is required for a captain’s license renewal unless you are renewing sailing or assistance towing endorsements, duplicates, or STCW certificates. The specifications are the same as when you apply for a new captain’s license.

What happens if you fail your USCG captain’s license drug test?

You cannot be awarded a USCG captain’s license if you fail or do not complete the required drug testing. Once you get your license, a positive drug test will result in removal from your crew duties that directly affect the safe operation of a vessel.

Mariners who fail drug tests may opt to go to a Suspension and Revocation (S&R) hearing in front of a federal Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The hearing is administrative and concerns only the mariner’s right to continued use of a Coast Guard issued license or MMD.

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