Don't let your business go up in smoke

You probably realise that if someone is stoned they're unlikely to put in a decent day's work.
various class C drug paraphernalia scattered on a desk.

But have you considered the threat they pose to you and the rest of the crew?

As well as slowing down reflexes, cannabis impairs a person's thinking skills and coordination, increasing the risk of them causing an accident.


The danger of cannabis

Cannabis changes the way the brain reads incoming messages, causing problems with memory, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, and a loss of concentration.

Someone who can't think clearly or respond quickly can be risk to both themselves and everyone else on board, especially around heavy machinery.

On the road, drivers who are under the influence of cannabis tend to drive at lower speeds. On a vessel that's not always possible, and when the sea conditions change suddenly, a slow response could cause a serious accident. It's worth thinking about.

People who smoke pot regularly can develop dependency on the drug because they're used to functioning and doing certain things when they're stoned. Like a functioning alcoholic. You want your crew to function at their best when they are sober.

Remember too, when you're at sea you're isolated from emergency services. It's pretty clear that cannabis has no place on a vessel.


Signs of being stoned

Cannabis is the most commonly used recreational drug in New Zealand, so it's the drug you're most likely to come across on your vessel. These are the signs to look for:

Behavioural signs

  1. Unusually talkative
  2. Confusion
  3. Forgetting things
  4. Lack of focus
  5. Moodiness
  6. Increased appetite

All of these symptoms can lead to accidents.

Other warning signs

Cannabis has a strong herby scent. Detecting this on a person's clothing or hair could be a sign that they've recently smoked cannabis.

Mints or breath freshener can be used to cover the scent of drugs and alcohol. Similarly, eye drops or sunglasses can be used to mask bloodshot eyes.


What can you do?

If you know someone on your vessel is impaired by cannabis, it's crucial that you take action.

Talk to each member of your crew individually to:

  • outline your vessel's drugs policy
  • determine whether they have a problem with cannabis.

If they have a problem, support them in getting help.


Helpful resources to support you

The good news is help is available. Check out these online resources and treatment services:


If someone on board has a cannabis problem support them in getting help.


Face the facts

By the age of 21, 80% of New Zealanders have tried cannabis at least once. And 10% have developed a pattern of heavy use.*

*Dunedin and Christchurch Longitudinal Studies