From the Helm,
As this is written, The excitement and anticipation of a new season builds stronger every day.
Reels need cleaning and new line spooled. Rod guides need to be rewrapped or replaced. Countless hooks need sharpening or new ones installed. Boat and fishing shows taunt captains and mates with new gear and electronics. ìIf all this doesnít get your blood boiling,î an old captain once told me, ìyouíre in the wrong game, son.î
On a more immediate note, MCBAís Random Drug Program has been approved by the U. S. Coast Guard. A debt of gratitude is extended to Ensign Selena Warnke, our auditor, for patiently guiding us through the arduous rewriting of our drug program. A special thanks is extended to Capt. Dean Hobbs, ABCD Marine, LLC, who has worked tirelessly the last four months on this demanding project. Capt. Hobbs will assume the position of our new Program Administrator/trainer. Thanks, too, to Capt. Larry Lienczewski our new Administrator/Coordinator, whose unselfish dedication to MCBA is of the highest order. I also want to thank the Michigan Sea Grant agents, Dan OíKeefe and Brandon Schroeder, for their help in putting these drug training sessions together.
The Ludington Charter Boat Association and The Great Lakes Captainsí Association have held training clinics regarding the new USCG drug testing regulations. Additional clinics are scheduled for Lake Huron captains on March 12, Lake Michigan captains on March 19 in Traverse City and March 26 in Grand Haven. Michigan Sea Grant is also working with MCBA in developing an on-line training program, which we hope to have in place by April 15.
Contacting captains will now be done by telephone in order to address the ìIMMEDIACYî of reporting for testing. Therefore, it is critical all captains provide MCBA with a telephone number where you can be reached seven days a week, 365 days a year. In the event you cannot be reached by phone (remote hunting, fishing trips or vacations), you MUST notify MCBA when you are leaving and when you are returning. If your name is drawn for testing and you canít be contacted, you will be dropped from membership for ìfailure to test.î Your name will be forwarded to the USCG for further action. Do not let this happen.
MCBA got into the position it did back in November of 2010 when we were cited for ìnon-complianceî. Captains and mates failed to report for testing when notified to do so or didnít report at all. This WILL NOT happen again. Those who do not comply will be dropped. As captains, we hold a ìMerchant Marine Officerís Licenseî issued by the USCG. With that license come definite expectations and requirements. Failure to meet those obligations can cost you your license (or in the case of mates, the privilege of crewing on charter boats). From this day forward, MCBA will operate by the highest professional standards. We expect our captains and mates to exemplify those same standards. Anything less is unacceptable.
Also, I want to dispel the notion those notified to report for testing have ì10 days to get it doneî. Those notified are to report IMMEDIATELY. Not tomorrow or the next day. Get it done now. MCBA will be notified by the collection facility the next day whether you complied or not.
And while at the collection site, make certain you have a copy of your Custody Control Form (CCF), signed and dated and with the time of your collection before you leave. Keep this receipt in a file at your home or office should MCBA need this verification. No receipt means you didnít report as directed; therefore, you will be dropped from MCBA. We will not tolerate an irresponsible few, jeopardizing a program that serves over 600 mariners who are abiding by the rules.
Captain Terry Walsh
President – MCBA