Coast Guard cites passenger vessel for operating illegally, terminates voyage

LOS ANGELES — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a 37-foot catamaran in the Long Beach area, citing it for operating illegally. The vessel operated with 10 passengers aboard Saturday, and again with 12 passengers aboard Sunday, near Island Chaffee and Island White off of Long Beach.

A Coast Guard Station Los Angeles-Long Beach law enforcement team conducted the boarding of the vessel and identified the following violations of the Code of Federal Regulation (C.F.R.):

  1. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.10(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  2. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  3. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter.

Owners and operators can face maximum civil penalties of over $59,000 for conducting illegal passenger-for-hire operations.

Some potential fines for operating a passenger vessel illegally are:

  • Up to $18,943 for failure of an inspected vessel to be under the control of an individual with the appropriate Coast Guard license.
  • Up to $7,710 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
  • Up to $4,803 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers.
  • Up to $16,398 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over five gross tons.
  • Up to $12,007 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. This includes ensuring that the captain has the appropriate license and that the vessel meets inspection requirements if carrying more than six passengers for hire, which can be accomplished by looking for a valid Coast Guard inspection sticker.

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