Coast Guard terminates illegal charter in Lake Tahoe

The 48-foot pleasure craft, Cirque, in Lake Tahoe, California Sunday, September, 6, 2020 after a Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe 29-foot Response Boat-small crew terminated its voyage for multiple safety violations. The Cirque was escorted by the RBS crewmembers to Tahoe Keys Marina. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

The 48-foot pleasure craft, Cirque, in Lake Tahoe, California Sunday, September, 6, 2020 after a Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe 29-foot Response Boat-small crew terminated its voyage for multiple safety violations.  (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of an illegal charter vessel operating near Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe, Sunday.

A Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew boarded the 48-foot pleasure craft, Cirque, with 19 passengers aboard and discovered the following 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 15.401(a) for not having an individual with an appropriate license
  3. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program
  4. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter

“The Coast Guard will aggressively pursue any operator who is putting their customers at risk by operating outside these critical safety requirements,” said Lt. Andrew Cole, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco’s lead investigating officer. “We urge anyone paying for a trip on a passenger vessel to ask to see the Merchant Mariner Credential of the vessel operator to verify their captain is properly credentialed by the Coast Guard.”

People looking for a chartered boat ride for more than six passengers should ask the boat captain questions regarding their compliance with Coast Guard regulations. Any boat carrying passengers for hire are required to hold a Coast Guard license and meet minimum safety standards. Uninspected passenger vessels are only permitted to carry up to six passengers for hire under Coast Guard regulations. Owners and operators of illegal charter boats can face civil penalties for illegal passenger for-hire operations.

Some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a charter vessel are:

  • Up to $39,936 for failure to operate a passenger vessel without a Coast Guard license as per 46 U.S.C. 8906
  • Up to $16,398 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over five net tons as per 46 U.S.C. 12151(a)(1)
  • Up to $12,007 for failure to have a valid stability letter as per 46 C.F.R. 170.120.
  • Up to $7,710 for failure to have a bona fide drug and alcohol testing program as per 46 C.F.R. 16.201
  • Up to $4,591 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers as per 46 C.F.R. 176.100

For additional recreational boating safety information, please visit the Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division (CG-BSX-2) at https://www.uscgboating.org.

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