Workers on board fishing boats, oil rigs and other industrial maritime vessels usually obtain a license through the U.S. Coast Guard. This license allows mariners to hold higher-ranking positions on board their vessel.

There are numerous reasons a mariners license may be revoked. Drug and alcohol use or intoxication on board a vessel is one common reason for license suspension or revocation. Any behavior deemed as misconduct can also lead to losing a license, as can a criminal conviction.

There are options beyond losing your license

Just because you’ve received notice that your license is on thin ice, however, doesn’t immediately mean it should be completely revoked.

Here’s what to do if your licensed mariner status is being threatened:

  • Find an attorney: there are numerous layers to the laws and regulations surrounding mariners licensing. Someone familiar with the language and historic decisions in similar cases can provide better guidance and help find potential weaknesses in the case against you.
  • Don’t complicate your case: remain calm and stay silent unless your attorney directs you to speak about the issue. Informal challenges and pushback can be used against you.
  • Be prepared and thorough: gather all documentation and evidence that you’ll need for your case, and find possible witnesses who can vouch for you if necessary.

In any case, it’s possible to reduce your consequences from revocation to suspension. The licensing process can be complicated and difficult to understand. Following these basic guidelines can help protect you from losing access to your rights as a worker.