Drug Testing : FAQs

Drug Testing : Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What are dangerous drugs?

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), dangerous drugs are:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Codeine
  • Morphine c.
  • 6-AM (heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Amphetamines
  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) (ecstasy)
  • MDA (3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine)
  • MDEA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine).


Question: When am I required to submit proof that I am free of dangerous drugs?

Proof that you are free of dangerous drugs is required for all transactions EXCEPT increases of scope, duplicates, and international endorsements (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping [STCW]), and Medical Certificates.


Question: How do I prove that I am free of dangerous drugs?

The proof can be submitted by using any of the following options:


1. Provide the results of a test that is a DOT 5-Panel and ONLY tests for Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates, Phencyclidine, and Amphetamines. The test MUST have been conducted within the past 185 days (from the date of the application), sent to a laboratory accredited by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and must be signed by a certified Medical Review Officer.


You can use CG-719P to achieve this. If you do not wish to use this form, the National Maritime Center (NMC) will also accept letters or a completed Federal Chain of Custody form. When using either of these two options you must ensure that all required information is included.


2. Provide a letter attesting to participation in a random drug testing program. The letter MUST be on marine employer, command, or consortium stationary; the letter must be signed by an authorized official and must be dated. Drug tests that have not been conducted IAW 46 & 49 CFR will not be accepted, this could include drug tests administered as conditions of employment.

a. Verbiage for Marine Employers: “(APPLICANT’S NAME/SSN) has been subject to a random testing program meeting the criteria of Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 16.230 for at least 60 days during the previous 185 days and has not failed nor refused to participate in a chemical test for dangerous drugs.”

b. Verbiage for Active Duty Military/Military Sealift Command/N.O.A.A./Army Corps of Engineers: “(APPLICANT’S NAME/SSN) has been subject to a random testing program and has never refused to participate in or failed a chemical drug test for dangerous drugs.”


Question: How do I locate an approved drug testing facility?

Finding a Test Site:

  • Search for a provider by going to the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association website.
  • Enter your ZIP code under Location.
  • Under Limit Distance To, enter: 50.
  • Under Industry Accreditation Status, check Accredited Collection Facility.
  • Click Start Search.

This will bring up a list of collection facilities within your area.


NOTE: This directory is not maintained by Mariners Learning System and is provided as a convenience for informational purposes only. Mariners are advised to contact the testing facility of their choice directly to ensure it meets their needs as well as all Coast Guard requirements. Mariners Learning System does not recommend or endorse any particular provider.


Verify the following information with the facility in order to ensure that it will meet Coast Guard requirements:

  • Can perform DOT 5 Panel test that ONLY tests for Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates, Phencyclidine, and Amphetamines.
  • Ensure the laboratory the specimen will be sent to is accredited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • Will be signed by a Certified Medical Review Officer.


Question: Where can I get the Chain of Custody form?

The Chain of Custody form can be obtained by your marine employer or the facility approved to perform a 5 panel DOT.

Things to Look for:

  • The chain-of-custody form should have the words on the top line “Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form”. If those words are not present on the form in the top space, it is not a DOT (Federal) drug test and will not be accepted.
  • Make sure that the name, address, phone number, and fax number of the MRO appears in Step 1 on the top portion of the Custody and Control Form.


Question: Am I able to go to the Regional Exam Center (REC) to have the drug testing completed?

No. RECs are not approved drug testing facilities.


Question: I am a current mariner and I tested positive on my recent drug test. Can I still renew my credential or will I be required to surrender it?

Per 46 CFR 16.201(c), positive drug test results MUST be reported to your local Coast Guard Sector. The local sector will determine what actions need to be taken. A positive drug test can result in an assessment period that may result in the Coast Guard not issuing your renewal.

The DOT is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act to follow the Health and Human Services (HHS) requirements. As of October 1, 2010, HHS will only allow 5-panel drug tests.


Question: Does the drug testing facility have to submit the results or can I?

The NMC will accept test results from the mariner or the facility where the testing took place, but the mariner is ultimately responsible for ensuring that drug testing results are received by the Regional Exam Center (REC). If the results are being submitted as part of an application, the results should be sent to one of the 17 RECs with all other forms. If the results are being submitted after receiving an awaiting information letter from a REC, the results should be submitted to the requesting REC where the application packet was processed.