Coast Guard Urges Caution to Mariners This Weekend
Source: U.S. Coast Guard
The Coast Guard urges mariners to exercise vigilance and caution Thursday for the upcoming holiday weekend as celebrations are expected to increase the presence of boaters on the waterways.
The Coast Guard and local partners will be on heightened alert for boaters operating vessels while under the influence in support of Operation Dry Water.
Operation Dry Water is an annual, nationwide campaign that takes place during the Fourth of July weekend targeting boaters suspected of operating under the influence. According to the 2019 recreational boating statistics report, alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2019, accounting for over 100 deaths, or 23 percent of total fatalities.
Additionally, the Captain of the Port Los Angeles-Long Beach is warning the local public of the hazards associated with illegal passenger vessel operations. Illegal passenger vessel operations are commercial operations that require some form of payment (i.e. buying a ticket, paying a required donation or economic benefit, except voluntary sharing of expenses) for a voyage, which the operator of that vessel is not in compliance with federal passenger vessel regulations. These operations are a danger to the public, the environment and the livelihood of licensed, responsible operators.
“Passenger safety is of utmost importance to us at Sector Los Angeles – Long Beach,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kyra Dykeman, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach chief of investigations. “We have experienced fatalities from illegal passenger operations, and highly encourage the public to ask to see an operator’s credentials. These illegal operations often times do not have the needed maritime experience required of licensed individuals and lack adequate lifesaving and firefighting equipment onboard, ultimately, putting the safety of passengers at risk.”
Owners and operators can face maximum civil penalties of more than $65,593 for conducting illegal passenger-for-hire operations. Some potential fines for operating a passenger vessel illegally are:
- Up to $40,640 for failure of an uninspected vessel to be under the control of an individual with the appropriate Coast Guard license.
- Up to $7,846 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
- Up to $4,888 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers.
- Up to $12,219 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than six passengers.
Passengers are highly encouraged to verify a vessel and its operator are in compliance with the above regulations prior to their trip. Before boarding the vessel, ask to see the captain's license and look for a current Coast Guard inspection sticker for commercial vessels carrying more than six passengers.