My life is on the line

Hello to all. I really need some help here because after 15 years with zero accidents in the wheelhouse the USCG is trying to revoke my license.
Over the years I have always had some trouble with the colorblind plate tests but I always made it through with only a couple being wrong.

I went to a local doctor for my physical to get my fourth issue 200 ton master and master of towing in April of 2011. Instead of using the book test they had the one on the machine that you look through. I could not pass it.

The following week I went to the doctors office that my company uses and passed the plate test with just one plate wrong. I sent in all my paperwork and waited.
A couple weeks went by and then I received a phone call from the USCG suspension and revocation dept. They informed me that the first doctor I went to sent them an email to let them know I had failed the color vision part of my physical.

I was then told I would have to go to the USCG building in New Orleans to test for them. I went to the USCG building and took the Isahara plate test, the same one I have been passing for years, and then they gave me a second book to test with called Dvorine plates. The Dvorine book looked to be 20 years old and was faded and worn. I know I missed a few of those but why even make me take a second one when I had already passed the first.

So that was in August and Friday of last week I received a certified letter from USCG telling me they are going to revoke my license. In the letter it says that I failed the
Isahara test that I took at the USCG building which I know is not true. How did I manage to pass this test so many times in the past 15 years but all of a sudden I can’t see them anymore? BS!!! The letter states that I can just admit guilt and send them my credentials or I can go to court to try and fight it. Of course I am going to fight it because this is all I have ever known. If I lose my license it would be only a couple of months before my family and I would be living on the streets. Apparently they don’t give a rats ass about good American citizens trying to make an honest living.

I am in desperate need of council to fight this. I simply could not start over again at the age of 37. I have only a high school diploma and working on boats is all I have ever done. Like I said, I have no accidents on my record and I have no trouble seeing colored lights at night in the real world but they want to strip me of my livelihood as well as my dignity because of some little colored dots. Thanks for taking the time to read this…

Fight it!!

If you lose, be a deckhand.
You’d still be working.

Definitely appeal their decision. As long as you can pass any acceptable test that is the only requirement. They cannot require you to pass one specific color blindness test.

This is strange. I believe this is the second almost exactly worded letter, with the same scenario. The follow up, at the USCG office, with TWO different eye exams being administered. The physical form says you must pass ONE of the following methods to determine color sense. NOT two.

Unfortunately the lawyer is probably going to be needed. At this point, you have no choice but to fight their decision. By the threat of suspension and revocation, , and threatening you will undoubtedly have to fight them.

One of the most expensive parts of this will be to find a lawyer that is actually “UP” on this type of law. You will only have ONE chance to successfully appeal. You can’t blow it the first time and go back again with a ‘good’ lawyer a second time. You only get one chance. This is not an accident, NTSB, or drug test lawyer. But a lawyer who is up on the medical, physical portion, and who knows the ins and outs of the US Code.

After I wrote this, I see it WAS you who posted in August about this. Get a good lawyer, and have all your ammunition in a pile, and let go when you see the whites of their eyes.

Frickin’ arseholes!

I hear there is a doc in Morgan City, La. that has the ear of the coast guard and able to pass borderline cases. I think his name is Dr. Bourgeois. You can call any clinic there and they know him. Good luck.

Sent from my HTC Inspire using gCaptain

[QUOTE=Robert;56918]Definitely appeal their decision. As long as you can pass any acceptable test that is the only requirement. They cannot require you to pass one specific color blindness test.[/QUOTE]

That’s exactly what I thought. My trial is set for January so I’m going to work all I can until then. Thanks for the replies gentlemen.

sorry to hear of your circumstance…from personal experience the reconsideration then appeal process is very frustrating , time consuming and costly…would not let them revoke your license without initiating the “process”…would not expect that they will not reinstate it without a fight involving the consultation of doctor(s), lawyer(s) and such…again EXPENSIVE!!

If it is worth it to you…suggest you consult an admiralty lawyer who sympathetic toward mariners and an opthamologist “recognized” in regards to the condition of “color blindness”…AGAIN EXPENSIVE!!

Further suggest in the mean time work engineering and/or deck to support your family…don’t know how your alleged “color blindness” impacts STCW…if you prevail there may possibly be legal ramifications for the USCG…remember who you are dealing with…trying to get the goBerMINT to admit they fucked up is almost impossible!!


So does anyone know a good lawyer who wants to do some pro bono work? I really can’t afford an expensive lawyer, especially if I don’t win the appeal…

there is a lawyer who is a gcapt member out of Houston…see top part of this thread…as far as pro bono doubtful in this economy with everyone struggling…but maybe he would “work with you”??

Thanks SD.

Just a thought… Has anyone ever heard of having daylight running only restrictions on a license?

There might be a lawsuit against the doctor for telling the cosat guard. That could be a violation of confidentiality.

Instruction Guide to the
Merchant Mariner Physical Examination Report
(CG-719K & K/E)

Section V(b) - Color vision:
Current regulations require all applicants to submit the results of color vision testing.
The color vision test performed should be selected from the list provided, and the 719K must be checked normal or abnormal. If any block is checked “Abnormal”, information must accompany the CG 719K to explain. Any alternative test must be approved by the USCG prior to sending the examination report. The use of unapproved alternative testing will likely cause delays in the medical evaluation process. The use of color sensing lenses is prohibited. See NVIC 04-08 encl (5) for further guidance.

NVIC 04-08 encl (5) says:

b. These applicants must demonstrate that they have a normal color sense when tested by the 14 plate (which replaces the obsolete 16 plate), 24 plate, or 38 plate Ishihara pseudoisochromatic plates tests, Farnsworth Lantern, or an alternative test approved by the NMC. The use of color sensing lenses to assist these applicants with passing the color vision test is prohibited by 46 CFR 10.205(d)(2). Any questions about acceptable color sense testing methodologies should be directed to the NMC. See 46 CFR 10.205(d)(2).

Sounds like all results must be submitted.
One result was “Abnormal”.

Post a copy of the revocation letter, or just the text in the body of the letter please.

This is 1 of 6 pages. It has the most relevant info on it. It says I failed the Isahara plate test at the first doctor I went to but that is not true. I only took the Titmus test there. I passed the Isahara 5 days after I went to him. The USCG has that physical on file as well.

First thing first… Make sure you get a copy of your USCG file. I believe you have to request a copy of the file through the mail. The link for the address and procedure is here:
Act on this now… it takes a while to come, but you have everything the USCG has on you. Your lawyer will definitely get it but if you take too much time deciding on a lawyer, you may not get the file on time.

Second is you need help on this. Take the advice from the above posts and make some calls to get a lawyer. It will be exspensive, but most lawyers will work something out with you. Also, if you are in good standing with the company you work for, approach them as to possible solutions to help with payments to a lawyer.

I know from personal experience the USCG will try to bully you into revocation. They will tell you it will be very costful, and you will lose in the end. Don’t let it happen. They tried the same thing with me… end result was just a suspension for a few months. Big difference from what they originally asked for.

Good luck!

I believe the doc in Morgan city gives the Farnsworth Lantern test. It the same or similar test given to navy pilots. Maybe a doc in your area can administer the test and consult with the coast guard?

Sent from my HTC Inspire using gCaptain

Ask yourself one question, which can you afford less, an expensive lawyer or losing your livelihood? You’ll get one shot at this, better get it right the first time.

Both choices SUCK! With one you stand a chance, with another approach you don’t.

Good luck.

My experience, at least with lawyers, is that you get what you pay for. Don’t go cheap. It IS your livelihood.

It’s probably too late to do this, but LICENSE INSURANCE is a must-have. You’d be covered for something like this and for your lost wages, if any.

Just how good is ones color perception? Check it here:

and here: