USCG Terminates Illegal Charter Near Mercer Island

U.S. Coast Guard members recently halted an illegal charter operating near Mercer Island on Lake Washington.

A boarding team with USCG Station Seattle saw that a 38-foot vessel carrying 15 passengers had a non-credentialed mariner running the operation illegally.

To prevent future illegal operations, the Coast Guard has said that it’s considering additional enforcement against the vessel operator, who has been cited for several violations. In December, the vessel operator was ordered by the Captain of the Port to stop the illegal charter.

The boarding was part of the USCG’s latest efforts to crack down on illegal charters operating along the West Coast. Those running illegal charters could be fined $59,000 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations, over $94,000 in daily penalties for violating a Captain of the Port Order and even criminal charges for repeat offenses.

“Illegally chartered vessels undermine legitimate operations and pose significant safety concerns to everyone onboard,” explained Lt. Alex Cropley, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Seattle. “Terminating these dangerous voyages and educating the boating public is our top priority.”

Cropley also advised anyone encountering vessels operating in an unsafe manner, or who suspects an illegal charter operation to call the Coast Guard on VHF-FM channel 16.

By Pacific Maritime