Coast Guard investigates and fines six illegal charter boats in Lake Tahoe

A Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe boat crew and El Dorado Sherriff's board a pleasure craft to ensure passenger and crew safety in Lake Tahoe, Calif., August 21, 2019. Coast Guard Sector San Francisco investigators conducted a week-long operation with local law enforcement to terminate unlicensed and illegal charter boat operations on Lake Tahoe. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Anna Frank/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe boat crew and El Dorado Sherriff’s board a pleasure craft to ensure passenger and crew safety in Lake Tahoe, Calif., August 21, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Anna Frank)

SAN FRANCISCO – Coast Guard Sector San Francisco investigators conducted an operation with local law enforcement throughout the course of a week to terminate unlicensed and illegal charter boat operations in Lake Tahoe.

More than 150 vessels were boarded. Six illegal charter boats were discovered, cited, and terminated due to violations.

  1. Violation of 46 C.F.R. § 176.100(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. § 15.805 for failure to operate a passenger vessel with a Coast Guard license

“The primary goal of this operation was to ensure passenger and crew safety,” said Lt. Andrew Cole, Sector San Francisco Investigating Officer.

Before commencing operations with passengers-for-hire, the following requirements must be followed. The captain must hold the appropriate Coast Guard license and the captain and crew must be enrolled in a drug and alcohol program.

If carrying more than six passengers, at least one-for-hire, the vessel must also have a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection.

Additionally, if businesses are conducting bareboat charter rentals, then:

  • A maximum of 12 passengers plus the charterer are allowed on the vessel, not including crew
  • The vessel can be crewed so long as the captain and the crew are not provided by or paid through the original rental company agreement
  • The company may provide a list of suggested captains, but the charterer has the right to go outside that list and choose their own captain

For additional recreational boating safety information, please visit https://www.uscgboating.org/.

For information regarding your boating operations or charter regulations, please contact Sector San Francisco Investigations Division at (510) 813-9636 or email at SectorSFInvestigations@uscg.mil.

To verify a captain’s license, verify the inspected status of a vessel carrying more than six passengers, or if you would like to report an alleged illegal charter operation, please contact the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco Command Center at (415) 399-7300 or SFOSCC@uscg.mil.


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