Coast Guard urges boaters to take precautions while viewing holiday boat parades

Los Angeles – With the holiday boat parade season just around the corner the U.S. Coast Guard reminds recreational boaters that in order to carry any passengers for hire a Coast Guard issued license is required. In addition to having a Coast Guard issued license, federal regulations also require each vessel carrying passengers for hire to carry additional safety equipment.

The Passenger Vessel Safety Act, defines a passenger for hire as being a passenger who “contributes some form of payment or consideration in order to be on the vessel.” Key points to remember if you are taking people on board your boat and wonder if they are passengers for hire are as follows:

  • Is payment or consideration being exchanged?
  • Are these passengers giving you money to help pay for food or fuel?
  • Are you trying to run a business for profit or to supplement the cost of maintaining and operating the boat?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions you may be operating outside the law.

“The Coast Guard actively and immediately inquires into reports of illegal passenger vessel operations, imposing civil or criminal penalties when required. An illegal passenger vessel operation is a serious offense that actively puts people’s lives in danger,” said Lieutenant Commander Dennis C. Miller, Chief of the Inspections Division for Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles – Long Beach.

Boaters who plan on viewing holiday boat parades from their boats are also reminded that federal law requires at least one life jacket for each person on board. Wearing those life jackets may save your life or the lives of others on your boat.

Care must also be taken not to overload – an overloaded boat will reduce stability and maneuverability and increase the risk of capsizing. With the increased number of boats on the water and the distraction from the parade and at some venues, fireworks, the risk of collision is substantially higher than under normal circumstances so staying attentive also imperative. Do not boat under the influence. Boating under the influence remains a direct or indirect contributing factor in approximately one-quarter of all boating deaths in the United States.

Remember that if it is your boat, you are responsible for the lives of those on board. Boat responsibly.

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