Gregg Farmer Maritime Safety Blog
Marine Navigation Safety harbor pilot
Mariners are subject to alcohol and drug testing by Federal and State regulations. What happens if these procedures are not properly observed and those in charge of the pilot associations D&A program fail to inform or adhere to the regulations? What happens when a boat Captain fails to report the smell of alcoholic beverage emanating from a member or colleague? There currently is nothing to prevent a coverup of drug and alcohol abuse outside of a random drug and alcohol test order. Those in charge of the D&A policy enforcement are often an employee or fellow association member. What if a member has a previous conviction or has a history of drug or alcohol abuse? What about an arrest for driving under the influence? Many courts allow DUI's to be expunged after a period of time. What happens when a pilot conceals such an event?
These are questions that exist but they are also questions that need to be addressed to ensure those commissioned to guide ships under the public interests are sober while on duty and act responsible when they are not behind the wheel of a car. Is it time to place an alco-sensor on every pilot boat? Should there be penalties for failing to report a past event? What happens to individuals or those in charge of a D&A policy are discovered to cover up an event past or present? Would the public feel safe knowing a member has a Drug or Alcohol problem has acted under the authority of there license?
It's time to take the potential or existing abuse away from those who can or actually do circumvent D&A regulations. Would you as a public member be comfortable allowing a trainee or currently licensed member who has or has had a documented event in there past to take the conduct if a ship? Should a candidate with a clear record be passed over by one who has a past DUI or conviction? What if the applicant becomes a member and it is later discovered a DUI was not reported? Should this constitute and automatic suspension and revocation?