The Superyacht Intelligence Acengy approached 20 captains, from a varied demographic, and asked them if they conducted crew drug tests on board their superyachts, and the results came back evenly split: 50 per cent did conduct drug tests and 50 per cent didn’t.
Of those captains who admitted they didn’t test for drugs on board, the majority stated they had come to this decision simply because drug use is not a problem on board their boat. However, those who did both regular and not so regular drug testing on their crew did not claim to do so because of existing drug problems. Most, but not all, said that the drug testing policy was a simple and effective deterrent, leading crew away from the myriad temptations offered by this wealthy industry. However, we have all heard stories of crew unsuccessfully beating the system; and, one would imagine, if there are unsuccessful attempts, there are most likely successful attempts that go alongside them, which begs the question of whether insufficient evidence of the requirement of drug testing is a viable reason for not undertaking the tests.
A number of captains have stated that a drug testing policy is included as part of their International Safety Management System (ISM) or Mini ISM, but the irony is that while many cite this as the primary reason for undertaking random drug tests on board, a number also cite this as a reason not to. One captain, for example, admitted that drug testing was part of the yacht’s policy, resulting in no evidence of use and therefore no requirement of drug testing. So it would seem that having drug testing included in a yacht’s ISM or Mini ISM is not, in fact, evidence of drug testing taking place on board.
A number of captains have stated that a drug testing policy is included as part of their International Safety Management System (ISM) or Mini ISM, but the irony is that while many cite this as the primary reason for undertaking random drug tests on board, a number also cite this as a reason not to.
The cost of drug testing is something that should be noted, particularly when we consider that of those captains who do test their crew for drugs on board, the majority do the tests themselves, rather than getting external companies to administer the tests – the latter being the more expensive option. In fact, worryingly, one captain cited the cost of drug tests as the sole reason for not administering them on board.
Rather than a mere yes or no to the question of whether drug tests are administered on board, the key to understanding the level of the drug problem in this industry, if you believe there is one at all, is the questions that follow. If you do drug tests, why do you do them? If you don’t, why not? If you do, are they random? Are the crew given warning? It’s a broad topic, and one about which we understand the pertinence. So in issue 80 of The Crew Report we’ll be bringing you the detailed results of our survey, with comment and opinion from key industry players.
In the meantime, if you have any opinions on drug use in the crew sector, as a captain, crewmember, manager or owner, we’d like to hear from you. Simply email Lulu Trask, editor of The Crew Report, at firstname.lastname@example.org.