Marijuana use remains incompatible with sea service despite changes in state laws
Submitted by Suspension & Revocation National Center of Expertise Staff
Every year, dangerous drug use disrupts or destroys the careers of hundreds of professional mariners, threatening safety throughout the maritime transportation system at the same time. The ravages of addiction and accidental overdose make headlines daily, yet drug use among both the general population and safety-sensitive workforce continues to increase. Much of the rise is attributable to the growing use of marijuana, which has become at least partially legal in 35 states but remains criminal at the federal level under U.S. Code. Along with criminal concerns, testing positive for marijuana or any other dangerous drug triggers serious consequences for mariners, including termination of employment, removal from safety sensitive duties and revocation of merchant mariner credentials. Even in circumstances where the Coast Guard settles marijuana use cases, mariners are still required to complete rehabilitation and show a year or more of negative drug tests before returning to service.
Despite growing state legalization and a cultural shift toward greater acceptance of marijuana use and consumption of marijuana-derived products such as Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, Coast Guard and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) chemical testing continues to identify as dangerous drug users individuals with significant amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, metabolized into their systems. While CBD itself will not cause a positive DOT test, CBD products commonly contain psychoactive THC in sufficient amounts to cause a positive drug test. Further, once THC is in a person’s system, it may remain detectible in urine samples for weeks and hair samples for months after its use is discontinued.
Whether a mariner is a cadet carelessly indulging in recreational use of marijuana in a location where it is legal at the state level or a master aboard an oceangoing vessel that used legally-obtained CBD ointment to treat bodily aches and pains, the resulting positive drug test will lead to the same cascade of negative consequences that can be difficult to overcome. Unless and until the drug testing system changes, the best decision a mariner can make is to avoid using marijuana or any products derived from marijuana that may contain THC, such as CBD oil. The threat to maritime transportation and risk of career disaster are both too great to take the chance.
The following link provides additional information on DOT chemical testing regarding recreational use of marijuana:
The following link provides additional information on DOT chemical testing regarding use of medical marijuana:
Columbia Pacific Maritime is discussing a partnership with Southwestern Oregon Community College is Coos Bay that will bring US Coast Guard approved courses to the central and southern Oregon Coast. Look for classes to start in the fall of 2020.
In an effort to better serve our mariners Columbia Pacific Maritime has re-structured the 500/1600-ton License Prep Course into three units. A mariner may take one or more units, depending on their individual needs. We will continue to honor our existing agreement with all mariners that are enrolled in the previous 500/1600-ton License Prep Course.
Unit 1 – The Basics ($1,900)
This Unit is for mariners who do not hold an MMC National Deck Officer endorsement as Master or
Mate, or who need a review of the basics. It includes lecture-based instruction
over 14-consecutive days in the five exam modules required for Master 200-ton
- Navigation General
- Chart Navigation
- Rules of the Road
- Deck General
- Safety and Environmental Protection
Mariners successfully completing this Unit will receive
course completion certificates that will satisfy the USCG exam requirements for
Master 100-ton Near Coastal, and Master or Mate 200-ton Near Coastal.
See the Master / Mate 200-ton (Full Course) on the Course
Schedule page for the scheduling options for this Unit.
Unit 2 – 500/1600-ton Inland Exam Modules ($2,500)
This Unit is for mariners who either hold a valid MMC
National Deck Officer endorsement as Master or Mate, OR have completed Unit 1 –
The Basics within one year. It includes self-paced individual instruction in
the 500/1600-ton Inland Exam Modules to prepare the mariner for passing the exams
at a Regional Exam Center. Mariners should have their approval to test before
enrolling in this Unit and are expected to complete this unit within 6-months
of the enrollment date.
See the 500/1600 License Prep open lab dates for scheduling
options for this unit.
Unit 3 – Individual Exam Modules ($500)
This unit is for mariners who require instruction in a
single Inland or Near Coastal exam module. It includes 5-consecutive days
(Monday through Friday) of self-paced individual instruction in the specific exam
module requested by the mariner.
See the 500/1600 License Prep open lab dates for scheduling options for
Now Hiring for the 2019 Alaska Season!
UnCruise Adventures is now hiring Chief Mates, 2nd Mate, and Licensed Deckhands for the summer 2019 season in Alaska!
Applications are reviewed as they come in and qualified candidates will be contacted in approximately two weeks.
Click on this link for more information or to apply online >>
Columbia Pacific Maritime offers a four-day course that will satisfy the exams requirements for the upgrade of an:
- OUPV Inland route to OUPV Near Coastal route.
- Master 25, 50, 100 or 200-ton Inland route to Master Near Coastal route with the same tonnage limitation.
The course will NOT satisfy the exam requirements for the upgrade of a limited or restricted route to a Near Coastal route. To upgrade a limited or restricted route to an Inland route or Near Coastal route you must complete the original OUPV or Master course. Check the route on your MMC officer endorsement and give us a call if you are unsure of what route you have. (503) 841-6066.
Salt water salmon fishing guide position in Ketchikan Alaska. We are looking for a USCG licensed six pack or greater guide for 2019 summer season. Position is for a single handed operation of a 37′ charter vessel providing half day down rigger salmon fishing trips. Guide must be personable, out door enthusiast, minimum maintenance abilities, self motivated, punctual, clean and service oriented. Pay is $160/trip plus tips, last season guide made apx $20,000. Please respond with a simple resume email@example.com and call Larry Jackson at (907) 617-4542.
UnCruise Adventures is hiring Deckhands–Licensed & Assistant Engineers for summer in Alaska! We are reviewing applications as they come in and contacting qualified candidates within two weeks. Our sailing season starts between March and April and goes through September. Interested applicants should apply online: www.uncruise.com/careers.