Coast Guard urges vessel owners to comply with passenger-for-hire laws

Downtown Jacksonville water taxi inspectionsWILMINGTON, N.C. — The Coast Guard Captain of the Port Sector North Carolina reminds vessel owners who transport passengers for hire, or are interested in participating in this type of business operation, about the federal laws and regulations in place to ensure the safety of passengers, crews and the marine environment.

As per 46 US Code § 2101.21(a), a “Passenger for Hire” is defined as “a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person having interest in the vessel.”  Vessel owners who carry at least one passenger and no more than six passengers for hire are not required to be inspected and certificated by the Coast Guard, however, these vessels are considered Uninspected Passenger Vessels (UPV) and are required to comply with the following:

COAST GUARD CREDENTIAL:  As per 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11.467, the operator of a UPV of less than 100 gross tons must have a valid Coast Guard Merchant Mariner’s Credential endorsed as an Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel.  Additional information on the requirements and application process may be found here: .

DRUG TESTING PROGRAM:  As per 46 CFR Part 16.230(b) a marine employer shall establish a random drug testing program for crew members on UPVs who perform duties and functions directly related to the safe operation of the vessel.  Additional information on these requirements may be found here: .

SAFETY:  In addition to the above requirements, UPVs must comply with certain safety rules found in 46 CFR Subchapter C – Uninspected Vessels, more specifically parts 24, 25 and 26. These requirements may be found here: .

Failure to comply with the above while operating with passengers for hire may result in the termination of the voyage and possible civil penalties assessed to the owner of the vessel.

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