Coast Guard warns of illegal charter boats in LA-Long Beach

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(LOS ANGELES) — The Coast Guard captain of the port of Los Angeles-Long Beach is warning vessel operators and the general public of illegal charter boats in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area.

In an effort to ensure public safety on local waterways, the captain of the port issued several orders to specific vessel operators to cease operations as commercial vessels carrying more than six passengers, including one passenger for hire, and in some cases to cease operations carrying any passengers for hire. A passenger is considered for hire if they contribute any economic benefit, monetary contribution, or a donation as a condition of carriage, to any person having an interest in the vessel, unless the contribution is from a voluntarily sharing of voyage expenses.  

Vessels carrying passengers require a Coast Guard licensed or credentialed operator. In addition, if carrying more than six passengers, the vessel must have a valid certificate of inspection issued by the Coast Guard. A valid certificate of inspection is proof that the Coast Guard has verified the vessel meets specific minimum federal safety standards.

Vessels that do not meet these standards pose serious safety concerns to the public and environment. In addition to the noted safety concerns, vessels that do not comply with federal regulations adversely impact the livelihood of legitimate operators who do comply with federal regulations.

Many passengers book trips online with vessel operators. When reserving trips, prospective passengers are encouraged to ask the operator in advance for proof the vessel is compliant with Coast Guard requirements. Passengers may also request a vessel’s captain to show his or her valid Coast Guard license. If passengers want to verify a captain’s license, the inspected status of a commercial passenger vessel, report an illegal charter operation, or if a vessel operator desires more information on how to meet federal requirements, please call Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center at (310) 521-3801.

By Professional Mariner Staff