U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego recently put an end to three charter boats illegally operating in San Diego Bay, USCG officials confirmed April 14.
The three charters were shut down because of “unsafe overloading conditions, insufficient lifesaving equipment and failure to provide a qualified or licensed operator while carrying passengers for hire,” according to the USCG.
The vessels cannot operate, according to the USCG, until they can prove that they have met all valid charter requirements.
“Illegal charters are a serious risk to their passengers and to other boat operators on the water,” Coast Guard Sector San Diego Cmdr. Ronald Caputo said. “There is a reason for the regulations we put in place; we don’t want lives to be lost. We urge anyone suspecting that a vessel is violating the law to report the alleged violation to Coast Guard Sector San Diego.”
Illegal charter operators can be fined more than $59,000, while charters that violate a captain of the port order could be fined over $500,000 in penalties and face Class D felony charges.
The Coast Guard suggests that vessel passengers make sure the captain has a safety plan and a Merchant Mariner Credential before booking a boat trip. If the boat has over six passengers, passengers should ask for a Coast Guard issued Certificate of Inspection.
For more on boating operations or charter regulations, contact Sector San Diego Investigations Division at 619-572-2904 or SDIO@uscg.mil.