Friday, May 7, 2021

USCG, San Diego Harbor Police Crack Down
on Illegal Charter Boats

Coast Guard Sector San Diego and San Diego Harbor Police members say they’re on a mission to stop anyone who may be operating unlicensed and illegal charter boats on Southern California waters.

So far, members say they’ve conducted over 140 safety boardings, including one instance that resulted in an $81,286 civil penalty.

In that instance, Sector San Diego crew members in March stopped operations on a 19-foot runabout state-registered vessel because it had no credentialed mariner aboard while it had passengers, as well as not enough life jackets and lifesaving equipment, according to the USCG. The boat was also loaded beyond the specifications of the vessel manufacturer.

“The primary goal of ending illegal charters in San Diego is to increase passenger safety,” the agency stated. “Frequent examinations by Coast Guard investigators have identified a direct correlation between maritime passenger fatalities and illegal charters.”

As summer ramps up, the Coast Guard Sector San Diego is telling the public to beware of illegal charters. Passengers should make sure the vessel has a credentialed master, and that the master and crew are enrolled in a Department of Transportation Drug and Alcohol Testing program, that the vessel has the appropriate paperwork and safety equipment. Also, if more than six passengers are aboard, the vessel should have a USCG-issued Certificate of Inspection.

For more on recreational boating safety, visit For boating operations or charter regulations, contact Sector San Diego Investigations Division at (619) 572-2904 or SDIO@uscg mil.