Coast Guard sees uptick in illegal charters following Hurricane Sally

NEW ORLEANS – Coast Guard Sector Mobile issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin addressing the increase in unregulated ferry crossings within the Sector Mobile Inspection Zone, Friday.

Some roads leading off of barrier islands near Pensacola, Florida, are closed due to impacts from Hurricane Sally, creating an increased demand for alternate methods of transportation.

However, recreational vessels may not carry passengers for hire without having a properly licensed captain and crew, along with other safety requirements in accordance with federal regulation.

“While Sector Mobile acknowledges and applauds the boating public for wanting to be of assistance, federal law requires that any vessel carrying passengers for hire fall within Coast Guard oversight and may require a vessel inspection,” said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Kilcullen, chief of the inspection division at Coast Guard Sector Mobile, “These laws are in place to protect passengers and crew while also keeping our waterways safe.”

Vessel operators who are interested in offering chartered trips should start the inspection process by reaching out to the Sector Mobile Domestic Vessel Branch at 251-441-5262 or mobinsp@uscg.mil.

More information can be found by reading the Marine Safety Information Bulletin.

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