Captains License - Explorers Guide Maritime Academy

talking about issues effecting captains from oupv 6-pack to masters 100 ton

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We were just informed by Quest Labs of the new US DOT drug testing requirements. These changes help address issues with opiates, designer drug and adulterated specimens.

These changes include:

1) Expanding  the drug test panel to include four Schedule II semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone 

According to Quest Labs- “According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), "hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the U.S." Additionally, the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index" data shows that hydrocodone continues to be one of the most detected opiates in the U. S. general workforce. It is commonly known as Vicodin®.

  • Hydromorphone is both a stand-alone drug as well as a metabolite of hydrocodone. It is approximately 8 times more ~ otent than morphine on a per milligram basis. A common brand name is Dilaudid .
  • Oxycodone is a "semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic and historically has been a popular drug of abuse among the narcotic abusing population" according to the DEA. It is commonly known as Oxycontin®.
  • Oxymorphone is both a stand-alone drug and a metabolite of oxycodone. Common trade names are Opana® and Numorphan®.”

If you are on any of these drugs, it is very important to bring you doctor’s prescription with you when doing a drug test. The same for any of the other drugs being tested.

2) Add MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine) as an initial test analyte.  MDA is short for methylenedioxyamphetamine, an amphetamine-like designer drug.

3) The lower pH cutoff, for both HHS and DOT mandated testing was raised, from 3 to 4 to identify an adulterated specimen on October 1, 2017

A common practice is to buy urine on the black market. When required to do a drug test, tap the sample to the inside of the leg with a hand-warmer attached to maintain proper temperature.

“Collectors at every Quest Diagnostics drug testing collection site are trained and well-versed in the latest DOT policies and procedures.

 These new rules clarified and emphasized that the collector should discard any initial urine collection specimen that was questionable (e.g. due to temperature or suspected tampering) when a shy bladder (the inability to urinate) event develops during the subsequent direct observation collection.”

This is still considered the DOT "5-panel" drug test because there are no new classes, or groups, of drugs. Because all of these drugs are opioids, the test will continue to be referred to as a "5-panel' test.

The other drugs in the “5” panel includes: cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and Phencyclidine (PCP).

Due to operational considerations, the laboratory testing for codeine, morphine, hydrocodone,  hydromorphone,  oxycodone,  and oxymorphone will be broken out into three different groups in the reporting.







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People ask me “Why bother to get a captains license? I do not want to be a fishing guide.”

Well there are many other reasons to take the time and cost to get alicense, be it for business or recreation.

So let’s answer this in two parts

First why get it and second, how can I use it.

Why get a captain’s license. Main reason is safety. Captain’s classes cover many of the basic items to ensure mariners are safe on the water. Rules of the Road, navigation procedure, responding to emergencies, understanding aids to navigation, use of publications to stay up to date on their waterways and more. Active captains are part of drug testing program. In many cases, you are able to get boating insurance at a lower rate. Others have a higher level of respect for someone who took the time to get the credentials.

What can I do with a captain’s license? It opens up opportunities for jobs both on federal waters and nonfederal waters. When an opportunity arises, it’s a little late to try to get the needed license. It takes a minimum of eight week’s from the start if you are working with the right school. Otherwise plan on 3 to 6 months to get it.

When operating private boats, most insurance companies will not let you operate it without a captains license. They want someone with the needed experience to minimize risk.

So what opportunities are available? Being a captain is normally not a 9 to 5 job. You work when people need you. Also you work weekends when people want to play on the water.

Opportunities, just to name a few.

Fishing Guide/ Charter Operator; your classic walleye, muskie, salmon, ocean species trip. However, there are others: Teaching people fishing methods for specific species; Mother Daughter/Mother Son trips; Flyfishing for northern pike, fly fishing in Alaska back waters; A growing sport of bow fishing for Asian carp, we have a number of captains doing this full time.

You need to think outside the box.

Small group tours. What is unique in your area that others may find interesting? They may be common to you but interesting to visitors; back waters on intercoastal; pelicans on Green Bay; backwaters on the Mississippi River; personal water craft tours. I am sure you have such areas in your backyard.

Transportation water taxi. While having seven or more people require an inspected vessel, six or less does not. Doing a UBER in your area, running a water taxi.

Working for others: Driving a parasail boat, hydro boarding, custom dive trips, private yacht services.

In summary, there are many opportunities for a person with boating experience and a captains license; such as teens young just out of high school or those nearing retirement or looking for a career change. The opportunities are there if you have your captains license.


Here is a link to a podcast I did on why get a captains license


Fair Seas and  Following Winds.

Capt Gary

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