Drug test refusal

Has anyone here ever refused to take a drug test? How long did it take before the CG acted on your license?

A refusal is considered a failed test, the company is supposed to report it to the USCG but I’m not sure on the timeline.

If you know you aren’t going to pass you can quit before the test begins or see of you can enroll in a program (they should be posted in the boat).

Here’s what I could find:


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You can see the revocation proceedings and see where people have fought it to get an idea of how long it would take.


Took about 6 weeks for the Coast Guard to act on my license.

I got pulled for a random test and tested that same day. Then about 6 weeks later I got a call from the coast guard saying that they were starting revocation proceedings of my license because I had failed to test which is the same as a failed test. I informed the investigator that I had in fact tested and gave him the location, date, and time. I wasn’t too worried because of the huge paper trail involved with drug tests and expected him to call back saying that they’d found my test. But when he called back and said that there was no record of me testing at that location and I was no longer allowed to work. I told him there must be a mistake and that somebody lost my drug test and he said “WE DONT LOSE DRUG TESTS!”. Then he said the only way I can prove that I had tested was to find the receipt they gave me when I tested and that it’d be a lot easier on me if I just fessed up and admitted that I didn’t take the test. I told him that I did take the test and that I’d look for the receipt but probably didn’t have it anymore. In a panic I called my wife and asked her if she knew where to look and she said to look in your coast guard file in the filing cabinet. I said, “I have a coast guard file?”. Sure enough there it was in all of its golden glory just like willy wonkas golden ticket with the exact time, date and location I told the investigator. I called the investigator back and told him I wanted to fess up. Fess up I had found my receipt! He then told me to fax the receipt to him immediately. I told him I would fax it to him when it was convenient for me since they screwed up. A week after I had faxed the receipt to the investigator with no word back I called and asked him if he figured out how they lost my drug test. He said it wasn’t lost it was just misplaced.
No apologies, nothing.


Tragic, and funny. Glad it ended well for you.

Awesome resource. Thanks.

My ex-co-worker/friend is nervous. He refused one. Been waiting but no word on any repercussions…

If your “ex-co-worker/friend” can’t pass a drug test, “he” is in the wrong industry.



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Ok, I am President of a drug testing company. Normally, when the 3rd party administrator (us) notifies the ship owner of a refusal to test (always immediately) it is treated as a positive test and the employee is removed from the vessel as soon as possible. The time lag between the refusal and contact by the USCG can vary depending on a number of factors, the most important of which is when the USCG is informed of the refusal. This might be impacted by holidays, weekends, vacations in the owner’s HR or legal department. Accidents / incidents with failed drug tests get priority at the USCG. A refusal to provide a urine specimen on a random drug test will probably be acknowledged by the USCG within 4-6 weeks. Another factor on “brown-water” ships is the employees change phone numbers and addresses without informing their employers so no good contact details are available. The actual proceedings can continue for months if the seafarer is a pilot and can afford a good lawyer. Hope this helps.


I drug test outside of my employer, which only tests when somebody f’s up. I do it because I work side jobs so I do it at least twice a year.

KEEP a copy of that paper they give you and download an app called Tiny Scan. Scan that sucker to your phone. Save it on the cloud. You should get cloud space free with your cell provider. And save a copy to your own files. Do that with ALL of your mariner documents. Credential, school certs, sea letters, the whole nine. I even send an email copy to myself. The more copies out there, the better because when you need one, you need one.

And the hell is wrong with you fools still smokin’ weed? Knock it off. You want to smoke weed, meth, etc or take pills etc go carry your ass somewhere else. This is not the business for you.


I like the story about a guy using his wife’s urine to pass a test.
The outcome: “Well son, the good news is you passed. The bad news is you’re pregnant.” :worried:


The Coast Guard wouldn’t have the drug test information unless it was either reported as positive or a refusal to test. The fact that you didn’t test would have been lost between the collection site, testing facility, and the MRO. The Coast Guard wouldn’t have known about it unless it was reported as a failure to test.

I don’t really care what somebody does in his spare time. If a crew member wants to smoke weed in his time at home , go right ahead.

I would prefer this person over somebody who drinks every chance he gets, including during shore leave.
Unfortunately some drugs stay in your system long enough to be detected weeks after use.


I agree with you, I don’t care what a person does on their off time & the federal governments prohibition stance on marijuana is asinine. But a mariner can’t be considered professional if they are going to throw the dice on their career & livelihood over getting high. I prefer not to work with drug users. Sure, the same points can be said against drinking alcohol in port but consuming alcohol isn’t a federal crime & doesn’t demonstrate excessively risky behaviour if done discretely & in moderation. Until the USCG changes the rules, potheads & out of control drunks should find other lines of work IMO.


We’re talking about someone who’s trying to game the system here and is willing to risk his credential. If you know it stays in your system, why do it. What’s more important to you? Your job or weed? That’s the question that separates the wheat from the chaff.

I’m not crazy about chronic drunks either but it’s not like you have to accept the one if you reject the other. How about people just try to stay sober on the job and not try to do an end run around screening tests?


so can people from Colorado still hold USCG tickets?

I guess ya’ll ain’t from around here. :smirk:
Colorado’s laws regarding weed are State laws. At the federal level, weed is classified as a schedule 1 drug along with heroin. Cocaine is considered less harmful and less addictive so a schedule 2. Go figure.
The CG is a federal agency, therefore they enforce federal law.
It doesn’t matter what State you’re from as long as you don’t test positive for drugs.

See here for the whole enchilada: https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling

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I remember some guys from NY telling me they worked on a DP barge that had to load a huge crawler crane on board for a job. Just when they were about to do it the CG came for a drugs test.
The Crane guys said our union is exempt so CG didnt test them but barge boss said sorry your crane not coming onto out barge without a drugs test.

The guys always said they cant get any crew as the always fail the drugs test

Many land based industries are lowering their drug testing standards because too many workers are failling the drug tests. Seems like a lot of folks are getting stoned.
Lower the standards, lower the standards…