Alcohol check on board of ships


There are several safety protocols on board of a ship to ensure that everything runs safe.
External factors can occur at sea which you can’t always control. Like the consumption of alcohol on board.
Fortunately, with a reliable alcohol test, you can monitor or prevent this potential risk.

Alcohol policy on board

Alcohol consumption on board of a ship can be a difficult subject. Shipping regulations state that crew members need to follow the drug and alcohol policies of the shipping company they’re employed with. As a result, part of the responsibility is assigned to the ship and the crew. However, there are a few general guidelines to follow when it comes to consumption on board. This depends on the region and the type of ship.

Shipping companies are bound to make their drug and alcohol policies based on the guidelines of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF). Meanwhile, all ships are part of the IMO regulations. They allow a maximum 0.08% BAC (Blood Alcohol Control). For example, the permitted percentage for car drivers in Europe is between 0.02% and 0.05%.

Company policy can require the crew to be tested for alcohol and drug abuse before boarding a ship. To determine the blood alcohol level, the amount of alcohol in the exhaled air is measured. This can be done by a breath analyser. However, the permitted BAC amount varies at each shipping company, where some allow a maximum of 0.04%, others prefer 0% BAC.

Alcohol testing at sea

Shipping companies can have a policy of controlled alcohol consumption on ships. For example, there can be a limit where the crew isn’t allowed to drink alcohol 4 hours before starting work. Consumption of alcohol during working hours or within 4 hours prior is strictly prohibited.

To ensure that the policy is not violated, random alcohol testing may be conducted on board the vessel. When a crew member is suspected of having a high alcohol content or is unable to perform his duties, the captain or officer can carry out an alcohol test. Most ships have an alcohol tester on board to measure the amount of BAC.

How does an alcohol test work

The most commonly used alcohol tester is an alcohol breath analyser. A breath analyser is a way to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood from their breath. Testing only takes a few seconds:

  • The operator turns on the instrument and attaches a new mouthpiece to the digital tester.
  • He or she then instructs the subject to blow through it until the sample is taken.
  • A few seconds later, the alcohol level is shown on the display.
  • When the reading is completed, the operator removes and discards the mouthpiece.
  • After a short time, the instrument is ready to use again if required.

Which alcohol tester is suitable for a ship

When choosing a suitable alcohol breath analyser, it’s useful to keep a few functionalities in mind:

  • Reliable, accurate and digital tester so it can be used anywhere.
  • Lion fuel cell sensor, so the reading can’t be affected by anything in the breath except alcohol.
  • Bright, easy-to-read display. Preferably illuminated, for use at night.
  • A memory so each measurement is stored with date and time.

Buy an alcohol breath analyser for on board

As the official distributor of Lion laboratories and Alcomate alcohol breath analysers, we have an extensive stock of breath analysers and accessories. Do you want to know more about these products? Please contact one of our specialists, they will gladly tell you more about it.

General contact

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3084 CB Rotterdam
The Netherlands