DOT Agency - United States Coast Guard

The USCG regulation is 49 CFR Title 46, Part 16 - Click Here


Covered employee:

A person who is on board a vessel acting under the authority of a license, certificate of registry, or merchant mariner's document. Also, a person engaged or employed on board a U.S. owned vessel and such vessel is required to engage, employ or be operated by a person holding a license, certificate of registry, or merchant mariner's document. 

Types of tests for drugs:

Pre-employment, periodic, random, reasonable cause, and post-serious marine incident (SMI), return-to-duty, and follow-up. 

Types of tests for alcohol:

49 CFR Part 40 alcohol-testing requirements do not apply to the Maritime Industry. 46 CFR Part 4.06 requires post-SMI chemical testing for alcohol use. 33 CFR Part 95.035 allows for a marine employer or a law enforcement officer to direct an individual to undergo a chemical test for intoxicants when reasonable cause exists or a marine casualty has occurred. 

Definition of incident requiring testing:

An SMI is defined in 46 CFR 4.03-2. In general, an SMI is: A discharge of 10,000 gallons or more of oil into the navigable waters of the United States, whether or not resulting from a marine casualty; a discharge of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance into the navigable waters or into the environment of the United States, whether or not resulting from a marine casualty; or a marine casualty or accident required to be reported to the Coast Guard, involving a vessel in commercial service, and resulting in any of the following: One or more deaths; an injury to any person (including passengers) which requires professional medical treatment beyond first aid, and, in the case of a person employed on board a commercial vessel, which renders the person unable to perform routine vessel duties; damage to property in excess of $100,000; actual or constructive total loss of any inspected vessel; or actual or constructive total loss of any uninspected, self-propelled vessel of 100 gross tons or more. 

Reasonable-cause determination (drugs):

The marine employer must have a reasonable and articulable belief that the individual has used a dangerous drug. This belief should be based on the direct observation of specific, contemporaneous physical, behavioral, or performance indicators of probable use and where practicable based on the observation of two persons in supervisory positions. 

Reasonable-cause determination (alcohol):

The employee was directly involved in the occurrence of a marine casualty or the individual operated a vessel and the effect of the intoxicant(s) consumed by the individual on the person's manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior is apparent by observation. 

Pre-duty alcohol use prohibitions:

Four (4) hours prior to performance of scheduled duty.


Employee training:

Employer must provide education with display and distribution of informational materials and a community service hot-line telephone number. Distribution to each employee of the employer’s policy regarding the use of drugs and alcohol is mandatory. Training must include the effects of drugs and alcohol on personal health, safety, and work environment; and manifestations and behavioral cues that may indicate drug and alcohol use and abuse. 

Supervisor training:

One-hour of training is required on the effects of drugs and alcohol on personal health, safety, and work environment; and manifestations and behavioral cues that may indicate drug and alcohol use and abuse. 

Reportable employee drug and alcohol violations:

Results of all post-SMI tests and positive drug test results for all mariners who hold a license, certificate of registry or merchant mariner's document must be reported to the nearest Coast Guard Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection.