Coast Guard District Eleven:
SAN PEDRO— The Coast Guard and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department terminated the voyage of an illegal charter vessel in Marina Del Rey, California, on Sept. 2.
Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach personnel were notified that the 37-foot pleasure craft, SAIL LA VIE, was operating as an illegal charter with 20 passengers onboard.
The following violations were found:
- 46 C.F.R. 176.100 (a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection
- 46 C.F.R. 67.323 for operating in coastwise trade without the appropriate Certificate of Documentation endorsement.
- 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a random drug testing program.
That evening, the Coast Guard issued the vessel a Captain of the Port Order to cease operations as a small passenger vessel until the SAIL LA VIE rectified the violations.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, illegal charters pose serious safety concerns to the public. Any Captain operating a boat carrying paying passengers must hold a Coast Guard license and meet Coast Guard safety requirements. Captains must always have their Merchant Mariner Credentials when paying passengers are onboard. The Coast Guard urges passengers to ask to see their Captain’s Merchant Mariner Credential. Additional Coast Guard requirements apply to captains taking more than six passengers on a trip. Ask your Captain if they comply with Coast Guard regulations.
“The Coast Guard will aggressively pursue any operator who is putting their customers at risk by operating outside these critical safety requirements,” said Lt. Cmdr. Braden Rostad, investigation division chief for Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach, in a news release. “We urge anyone paying for a trip on a passenger vessel to ask to see the captain’s Merchant Mariner Credential to verify they are properly licensed by the Coast Guard.”
Owners and operators of illegal charter boats can face civil penalties for unlawful charter operations. Some potential civil penalties for illicit charters are:
- Up to $5,661 for not having a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers as per 46 U.S.C. 3318(j).
- Up to $22,324 for failure to operate a passenger vessel without a Coast Guard license as per 46 U.S.C. 8101(g).
- Up to $19,324 for operating a coastwise trade without appropriate Certificate of Documentation endorsement as per 46 U.S.C. 12151(a)(1)
- Up to $9,086 for failure to have a random drug testing program as per 46 U.S.C. 2115
Violation of a Captain of the Port Order is a Class D felony, which is punishable by up to six years in prison as per 18 U.S.C. 3581, and a criminal fine of up to $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for an organization as per 18 U.S.C. 3571. Civil penalties for violating a Captain of the Port Order can be up to $111,031 per 46 U.S.C. 70036 (a).
For additional recreational boating safety information, please visit the Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division (CG-BSX-2) at https://www.uscgboating.org.
Individuals with questions regarding passenger-for-hire regulations can contact the Sector LA-LB Investigations Division at (310) 521-3770 or email at SECLALB@uscg.mil.
Illegal charter operations can be reported to the Coast Guard Sector LA-LB Command Center at (310) 521-3801 or LALBCOMMANDCENTER@uscg.mil.