USCG Shuts Down Illegal San Diego Charter Operation

Image: U.S. Coast Guard.

U.S. Coast Guard members recently shut down an illegal charter operation in San Diego’s La Jolla State Marine Reserve protected area, the agency announced Oct. 4.

Operation of the Lucky Duck, a 20-foot, state-registered pleasure vessel with six people aboard, including one child, was terminated after the California Department of Fish and Wildlife conducted a boarding Sept. 21 and found the operator violated state laws.

Violations include failing to hire “an appropriately credentialed mariner” and failing to have a drug and alcohol program, according to the Coast Guard.

“The Coast Guard will continue to pursue vessel operators who put the lives of patrons at risk by disregarding Coast Guard passenger vessel regulations,” Coast Guard Sector San Diego spokesman Cmdr. Jamie Koppi said. “Before boarding a vessel, I urge people to ask for the captain’s credentials and safety plan. Don’t jeopardize your life and the lives of your loved ones by entrusting inexperienced operators.”

Alleged offenders could face up to thousands in civic fines, including up to $22,324 for running a passenger vessel without a valid Coast Guard license, and up to $19,324 for not having an appropriate Certificate of Documentation endorsement.

Those wanting to report illegal charter operations can contact Coast Guard Sector San Diego Joint Harbor Operations Center at 619-278-7033 or on the Coast Guard Investigative Service Tips app.

By Karen Robes Meeks