Coast Guard teams up with state boating authorities to ensure passenger vessel safety

WASHINGTON ? The Coast Guard announced Tuesday it will team up with state boating authorities to raise awareness and educate vessel operators and consumers on uninspected passenger vessel licensing requirements.

With the onset of boating season, the Coast Guard is working with state boating authorities to improve safety on inland waterways, ensuring that sightseeing cruises, fishing charters and party boats operate safely within the standards established in federal regulations.

Uninspected passenger vessels are those vessels carrying six or fewer passengers for hire on federally navigable waters. Licensed operators of uninspected passenger vessels have demonstrated they possess the knowledge and skills to keep passengers safe and respond to emergencies on the water that may occur.

The Coast Guard has a voluntary examination program where operators of uninspected passenger vessels can have their vessels examined, free of charge or penalty, by the Coast Guard. When these vessels and operators have demonstrated they are in full compliance with federal regulations, the Coast Guard issues a decal for display on the boats. While this decal only demonstrates compliance on the day of the examination, it is a strong indicator that the vessel, its company and its operations meet safety requirements.

Current operators of uninspected passenger vessels who do not hold a valid operator license are encouraged to work with their local Coast Guard Sector Officer in Charge of Marine Inspections to become licensed.

In addition to the full OUPV license, there are two types of modified licenses an operator may seek: a restricted OUPV license that confines operations to a specific geographic location, or a limited OUPV license that is issued to those employed by organizations such as yacht clubs, marinas and educational institutions, and limited to a specific activity and locality. Operators must also comply with drug and alcohol testing regulations.

Additional information on licensing can be found at www.uscg.mil/nmc. For more information on the Coast Guard’s passenger safety programs, go to http://www.uscg.mil/pvs/default.asp.

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