Racoo Screening - Drug, alcohol & DNA Tests

Maritime drug testing for operators

Ensure the safety of your maritime crew with maritime drug testing that fits the schedule of any flagged vessel.

Substance abuse was a contributing factor to recent maritime accidents, including the Costa Concordia [1], Lysblink Seaways [2] and a UK-flagged workboat [3].

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Manila amendments state that “even small quantities of alcohol have been shown to sufficiently impair judgement and increase the risk of accidents [4].”

Substance abuse from professional seafarer employees can lead to significant challenges for your maritime operations, including:

Safety risks: Substance abuse can impair seafarers’ judgement and ability to perform their duties effectively and safely, leading to incidents, injuries, and even fatalities [5].

Reduced crew morale: Substance abuse can create misconduct problems and negatively affect the culture onboard your vessels [5].

Legal & financial consequences: Substance abuse can cause legal and financial liabilities for seafarers and your shipping company [6].

Reputational damage: Substance abuse incidents can damage the reputation of your shipping company and the maritime industry [7]

Whether in maritime administration or higher management, Racoo’s maritime drug and alcohol testing programme helps you identify and address potential issues before they escalate.

Speak To Our Experts. Call +44 01793 677480 or Request A Quote

Opt for maritime drug tests to ensure a safe and compliant maritime environment

Create a safe maritime environment

Implementing alcohol tests in the maritime industry may discourage crew members from using drugs, thus decreasing the likelihood of accidents. Reliable testing supports your crew’s wellbeing and helps ensure a safe voyage.

Maintain crew efficiency

Regular screening can ensure your crew remains focused on their duties, supporting a drug and alcohol-free culture and helping to uphold the reputation of your maritime operations.

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Comply with maritime regulations

Our fully managed testing service fits the schedule of any flagged vessel across UK, European and Turkish ports. Our office and collectors are equipped with ship tracking software [8] so we can adjust to when your vessels reach port, and our collectors can use pilot ships to get on board.

Get peace of mind for any flagged vessel

Regular screening can ensure your crew remains focused on their duties, supporting a drug and alcohol-free culture and helping to uphold the reputation of your maritime operations.

maritime drug screening

Speak To Our Experts. Call +44 01793 677480 or Request A Quote

How can maritime drug testing support your operations?

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) has published guidelines for controlling drugs and alcohol onboard ships [9], recommending drug and alcohol screening of professional seafarers.

The suggested best practice maritime drug and alcohol testing regime includes a mix of announced, for-cause and random testing [9].

Racoo Screening can support your maritime drug tests. Different methods, like urine, saliva, or hair samples, can be used to carry out the tests. Our tests can detect a range of substances, ensuring a reliable test result every time.

  • Fully managed so that you can focus elsewhere
  • Tailored to your maritime needs
  • Legally defensible and ethical testing to ensure a safe maritime environment

Speak To Our Experts. Call +44 01793 677480 or Request A Quote

Get your policy reviewed

Get expert substance screening for your operations.

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Random drug & alcohol testing

Why Racoo?

Tailored solutions

At Racoo, we offer bespoke maritime drug and alcohol testing solutions tailored to fit the unique challenges and schedule of the maritime industry. Our testing teams use ship tracking software [8] to time meeting your vessel in port or even board pilot ships to get the testing done.

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Accredited compliance with maritime standards

Given the critical nature of maritime operations, we ensure our testing solutions are legally defensible and meet the current Department of Transport rules. Our partner laboratory facilities are accredited by The United Kingdom Accreditation Service and The British Standards Institution.

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Maritime drug screening across European ports

Racoo offers drug and alcohol screening, training and kits for use in for-cause situations to ports across the UK, European Union and Turkey. Read more about our maritime services here.

Racoo Screening

Over 20 years of experience

We have extensive experience implementing workplace drug testing programmes, ensuring reliable testing results every time.

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Speak To Our Experts. Call +44 01793 677480 or Request A Quote


About maritime drug testing

Can maritime companies conduct drug tests on their crew?2023-10-13T16:17:49+01:00

According to the UK Department of Transport law, “it is an offence for a professional seafarer to be impaired by drink (or drugs) whilst on duty on board a ship.” Therefore, maritime companies in the UK can conduct drug and alcohol testing, especially following specific incidents or as part of a regular random or announced testing programme.

What roles count as ‘seafarers’ for drug and alcohol testing?2023-10-13T16:19:02+01:00

The International Labour Organization (ILO) describes ‘seafarer’ to mean any person who is employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship [10]. 

This can look like:

  • Ship’s officers and seamen/ratings
  • Crew members responsible for the safe handling of passengers
  • Seafarers working on vessels involved in oil and gas exploration and production
  • Seafarers in safety-sensitive positions
  • Seafarers whose actions cannot be discounted as contributing to serious marine incidents

Your company could drug and alcohol test any of the above roles as a seafarer.

What is the alcohol limit for seafarers?2023-10-13T16:19:42+01:00

The alcohol limit for a seafarer on duty differs between UK and international waters, so you’ll need to be aware of where you’re sailing. 

Within the UK, according to the Railway and Transport Safety Act (2003), the limits are [4]:

  • Blood alcohol: 50 milligrams in 100 millilitres
  • Breath: 25 micrograms in 100 millilitres
  • Urine: 67 milligrams in 100 millilitres

Internationally, according to TCW Regulation VIII/1, the limits are [4]:

  • Blood alcohol: 0.05%
  • Breath: 0.25 milligrams per litre
  • Urine: N/A
What’s the best way to test for alcohol?2023-10-13T16:22:24+01:00

A breathalyser test is the best way to screen for alcohol. This is because it gives an instant, calibrated, legally defensible result that you can receive on board. Other methods require lab analysis, meaning you’d have to wait up to several days for a result.

What is the most common maritime drug test?2023-10-13T16:22:00+01:00

The most common type of maritime drug test is a urine test. These can detect various drugs and are favoured in the maritime industry due to their accuracy and affordability. Racoo offers maritime drug testing kits using full chain of custody methods.

Does Racoo only test UK-flagged ships?2023-10-13T16:23:12+01:00

No, Racoo Screening works with vessels of all ‘flags’, not just UK-flagged ships. Our services cover key UK, European and Turkish ports. You can see the full list here.

Should we test during a ‘crew change’?2023-10-13T16:23:59+01:00

A ‘crew change’ can be an ideal time to conduct drug and alcohol screening. It enables you to test joining and leaving crew members at the same time.

Should offshore locations carry out their own testing onboard?2023-10-13T16:26:23+01:00

Whilst Racoo can supply equipment and training to support onboard testing in for-cause situations, we recommend implementing a random testing schedule conducted by a third party. You can see Racoo’s random testing services here.

What are the legal implications of maritime drug testing?2023-10-13T16:28:08+01:00

Maritime companies must ensure their drug testing policies are legally defensible and in line with maritime regulations to avoid potential legal challenges. Racoo’s screening services are designed with legal defensibility in mind to and only work with laboratories that meet The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) ISO 17025 standards.

Are offshore locations covered by the same maritime drug laws as shipping?2023-10-19T12:06:11+01:00

The STCW Convention advises announced and random drug and alcohol tests for seafarers [9]. The UKOG ENG1 medical test [10] and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency [11] stress its significance. Maritime law mandates substance screening for all sea-based oil and gas workers.


Learn more about alcohol and drug testing within the maritime sector

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maritime drug testing


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Costa concordia disaster: how alcohol played a part

maritime drug and alcohol testing


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