Seafarers Addiction Rehabilitation Center (SARC)

Frequently Asked Questions


The Seafarers Addiction Rehabilitation Center is a private, non-profit residential treatment facility operated by the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan as a proactive response to the problem of chemical dependency in the maritime industry. In operation since 1975, the program is designed to address alcohol and other drug issues relevant to the United States Merchant Mariner. The staff at the SARC understands chemical dependency to be a primary illness in itself, thereby compounding and contributing to problems in all life areas. SARC rehabilitation efforts are guided by the philosophy that is the foundation of all SIU efforts on behalf of the membership: “the development of the worker as a whole person, not just the person as a worker.” A seafarer may volunteer to attend the rehabilitation program or may be referred to treatment for job-related incidents involving alcohol and other drugs. These referrals may be made by the union, contracted companies, or the United States Coast Guard.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements for admission?


A: You must meet the eligibility requirements for benefits through the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan. This includes 125 days of covered employment in the last calendar year, plus one day of covered employment in the last six months. (More information on eligibility is contained in the SHBP guide in the “Member Benefits and Resources” section of this web site.)

Q: What about confidentiality?


A: The confidentiality of those enrolled at the SARC will be respected at all times. This is a major point of emphasis for the program. All requests for records, correspondence to outside agencies, medical referrals, legal referrals, and all United States Coast Guard correspondence require a signed consent, subpoena or court order to release/exchange information from the participant seafarer. No information will be released to anyone without the proper signed documentation.

Q: What is the admission process?


A: Admission into the SARC must be arranged through port agents. Contact your union hall. A list of halls may be accessed by clicking HERE

Q: How does transportation to and from the SARC work?


A: Transportation (flights, trains) to the SARC is arranged through the port agent. All transportation costs are to be paid by the member. However, a transportation loan may be granted to eligible members, which will be paid back to the union.

Q: What about unemployment?


A: Unemployment benefits must be initiated by the member before admission into treatment. .

Q: What happens if I failed a drug screen?


A: Whether failing a random or pre-employment drug screen, you should contact your U.S. Coast Guard office and arrange to see your investigating officer. At that time, you can voluntarily deposit your z-card/MMD/MMC and receive a settlement agreement. This should be done before admission into treatment.

Q: What about maintenance medications?


A: If you are on a schedule of maintenance medications, you must bring a 90-day supply of meds with you. In addition, only prescribed, non-narcotic medications are allowed.

Q: What if I need to replace paperwork?


A: If you need to replace lost, stolen or expired paperwork (z-card/MMD/MMC, union book, discharges, TWIC, clinic card, etc.), application for these must be made before admission into the SARC.

Q: Is upgrading at the Paul Hall Center/Lundeberg School an option while in treatment?


A: Upgrading is not available while in treatment at the SARC. All members return home at completion of treatment and do not schedule Paul Hall Center/Lundeberg classes while in treatment.

Q: Do I have to work on the farm?


A: No. The days in rehab are filled with individual counseling, group therapy, educational classes, lectures, audio and visual presentations and AA/NA meetings in the evening.

Q: What about phone calls?


A: When arriving at the SARC, one phone call may be made to let family know of your safe arrival. After that, there are no phone privileges for two weeks. After two weeks, you can make phone calls with phone cards only, as no collect calls are allowed. Incoming calls are restricted to emergency calls which will be answered by the staff. Cell phones and mobile email devices are collected by SARC personnel at time of admission and returned at discharge from treatment.

Q: May I bring my laptop computer?


A: No

Q: What other items should not be brought to the SARC?


A: Portable DVD players, mobile email devices, games, weapons, any form of pornography (movies, pictures, magazines, etc.). Also, anything with alcohol in it – mouthwash, cologne, aftershave, etc.

Q: What about registration?


A: Eligible members may be registered for work in a port while attending the SARC. Registration must be completed before admission and does require a fit-for-duty.

Q: What is the length of treatment?


A: A minimum of four weeks to a maximum of 12 weeks. The average stay is five to six weeks.

Q: What should I bring to the SARC?


A: Seasonally appropriate outerwear, casual dress attire for outside meetings, casual clothes for daily wear, sweats, personal toilet articles, bathing suit during summer months. Clothing (T-shirts, jackets, etc.) bearing advertising for bars/pubs is not allowed.

Q: What are the rules and regulations?


A: All clients will be presented with a copy of the facility rules for their signature. Non-compliance will result in disciplinary action up to and including discharge from the program.

Need more information?

Please contact the SARC if you have questions not covered here. You can reach us at:

Seafarers Addiction Rehabilitation Center
45705 Locust Grove Drive
Valley Lee, MD 20692
(301) 994-0010, extension 5330



SARC House

SARC Classroom

SARC Living Room

SARC Recreation Room

SARC Bedroom

SARC Kitchen

SARC Meeting Room