February 2013 #2



The list is long for those medications that may disqualify a seaman from service. A partial list follows:

  • Narcotic medications (oxycodone, hydrocodone, propoxyphene, morphine and others)
  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-psychotics
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Sedating anti-histamines
  • Cough preparations with Dextromethoraphan, codeine or codeine related meds.
  • Hypnotics and sedatives (e.g. sleeping aids)
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepine (e.g. Valium and Librium)
  • Legally prescribed controlled substances
  • Prescribed hallucinogens (marijuana, peyote, ecstasy)

Even diet substances such as Dexatrim, Metabolife or other stimulants and/or amphetamines make the list. The use of any of the above mentioned items could result in denial of a credential application. They require a waiver with possible periodic requirements at the very least.

The test to be applied is whether the particular medication is incompatible with reliable performance of routine and emergency duties.

There is no clear line drawn regarding these medications. However, full disclosure to your physician on the occasion of your annual physical examination or pre-sign on exam is necessary. More next month on this important topic!


My doctor has prescribed Valium for stress and to help me sleep at night. Will this disqualify me from sailing?

Mitchell D.
From Norfolk

The Coast Guard will require that you seek a waiver in order to continue to sail. It is best if your physician could find a satisfactory medication that does not trigger the need to apply for a Coast Guard waiver. There is no guarantee that such a waiver will be forth coming.

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