Capt Gary Lead instructor and course developer at Explorers Guide Maritime Academy
There is a lot of misinformation about the USCG requirements for random drug testing for boats used for any type of charter, guiding, etc.
I have been told I was dead wrong. Well lets add a little clarity to the discussion. If you are operating your vessel and charging people to be on the vessel and on federal waters, and are required to have a Merchant Mariners Credential. At this point 46 cfr 16.230 must be followed. It is for both credentialed and non-credential crew (mates)
It starts: 16.230 Random Testing Requirements.
(b) Marine employers shall establish programs for the chemical testing for dangerous drugs on a random basis of crewmembers on uninspected vessels who:
(1)Are required by law or regulation to hold a license issued by the Coast Guard in order to perform their duties on the vessel;
(2)Perform duties and functions directly related to the safe operation of the vessel;
(3)Perform the duties and functions of patrolmen or watchmen required by this chapter; or,
(4)Are specifically assigned the duties of warning, mustering, assembling, assisting, or controlling the movement of passengers during emergencies.
If you have a mate who is going to help with watch, landing the boat, drive the boat or helps people in an emergency, they need to be part of such a program.
So what? In most cases you may not ever be asked to prove you or your crew are part of such a program. However, if you every have an accident, both the investigating officer and your clients attorney may be asking to prove you were not on drugs or booze when it happened.
The random is different then the pre-employment drug test needed to get your credentials.