The Truth About Marijuana Onboard

coaching Oct 07, 2019

Maybe you like to smoke a little weed in your off-time. It gives you a pleasant high, you don't get a hangover, and hey, you're from a place where it's legal.

But what about smoking pot on that yacht you're about to work on?

Is it legal? And if not, what are the consequences?

Can you smoke on shore on your time off the boat?

These are good questions to ask before you start that first job on a superyacht.

In Canada and several U.S. states, pot is legal for recreational use and even more states allow it for medical use.

Across Europe and the Caribbean, laws vary from tough enforcement to legal use, or essentially ignored laws that prohibit the drug in theory, but rarely in practice.

With these various regulations worldwide, the rules onboard yachts can sometimes seem a bit hazy. 


Image result for image smoking weed


For example:

  • What if you have a prescription for medical marijuana?
  • What about pot smoking onshore?
  • And how should crew react if they see guests smoking weed while they’re on board? 

Let's start with a yacht in U.S. waters.

In the U.S., marijuana is illegal according to Federal Law.

Since Marine Law falls under Federal jurisdiction, this means that the drug is still a no-go.

In 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a bulletin, reminding crew that as they're serving in “safety-sensitive positions in the maritime industry”, any drug use is prohibited.

The best answer is that crew should avoid use of marijuana  - even if they're legally able to possess.

In the U.S., consequences can be severe for crew if they’re found with drugs onboard.

If you're crew from a foreign country working on a yacht in U.S. waters, getting caught with drugs could lead to you getting deported and the end of your yachting career.

It can be equally bad for the yacht owner - with the possibility of fines or even seizure of the yacht.

Yacht captains can lose their license if found on a yacht with drugs onboard.


Image result for u.s. coast guard marijuana


It’s a trickier call when it comes to guest use, although the laws are still clear.

Charter agreements strictly prohibit drugs on board, and Captains reserve the right to take guests back to shore if they bring drugs on board.

Many guests may feel entitled to bring pot onboard if they come from a state or country where it's legal. It may not occur to them that they're putting the trip in jeopardy.

The best approach to take, is if you see guests with any drugs onboard, immediately inform your captain.

We know the topic might seem confusing, as so many crew come from different countries and different legal backgrounds.

So our guidance to you is clear -- stay away from marijuana if you want to be superyacht crew.

We’ve talked about the importance of reputation and keeping your name clear - and this is important whether it’s about too much partying and drinking, or using drugs.

Make your superyacht career easy and keep any recreational drug use out of your yachting life.



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