From The Maritime Executive Magazine:

REC veteran Andy Hammond weighs in and cautions mariners to provide sufficient documentation that their medical condition is being treated properly AND that they could perform the normal duties of the license held or applied for.

When the Staten Island Ferry crashed into the dock in October of 2003 the investigation revealed a “system” that may have allowed a mariner to operate under the authority of their license, who was not physically competent to do so. While the regulatory licensing process may not have prevented Richard Smith (Captain) from taking Tremadol and Tylenol PM, which most likely caused him to pass out, resulting in a casualty that killed 11 people, it did prompt the Coast Guard to take a hard look at mariners and physical competency.

A major part of the license and MMD application process is providing documentation that you are physically competent to perform the normal duties of the license or rating applied for, including all emergency duties. There are very specific regulations with regard to visual acuity and color sense. However, the Coast Guard will make the final determination if your general physical condition is suitable to hold a credential.

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