By Mark Edward Nero
The Coast Guard captain of the port for the Los Angeles-Long Beach region issued a warning on March 16 to vessel operators regarding illegal charter boats in the San Pedro Bay area.
The captain of the port, in an ongoing effort to ensure public safety on local waterways, 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.
By definition, 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,” according to the USCG.
Vessels carrying passengers require a Coast Guard licensed or credentialed operator, and if carrying more than six passengers, the vessel must have a valid certificate of inspection issued by the Coast Guard. The certificate is proof that the Coast Guard has verified the vessel meets specific minimum federal safety standards.
When reserving trips, the Coast Guard has said, prospective passengers should ask the operator in advance for proof the vessel’s compliant with Coast Guard requirements. Passengers can also request a vessel’s captain to show his or her valid Coast Guard license.
Vessel operators wanting more information on how to meet federal requirements and passengers wanting to either verify a captain’s license, the inspected status of a commercial passenger vessel, or report an illegal charter operation, can do so by calling Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center at (310) 521-3801.