Coast Guard Cracks Down on Illegal Charterers

The Coast Guard said there is a “growing concern” about illegal charter boats in the Bay Area, and has recently boarded over 50 boats to verify captain’s licenses.

“Boaters should expect the Coast Guard to be actively engaging with operators to promote safe and legal passenger vessel operations as all boats carrying passengers for hire are required to hold a Coast Guard license and meet minimum safety standards,” a Coast Guard press release said.

“Our top concern is passenger safety,” said Lt. Anna Funk, a Coast Guard Sector San Francisco investigator. “If someone gets underway on an unlicensed, unregulated charter boat, they could be putting themselves and their loved ones in danger. Illegal charter boats and crews have no oversight and may not have the experience or equipment to ensure passengers are safe.”

There are lots of boats on the Bay. If you’re taking a ride on a charter vessel, the Coast Guard urges you verify the credentials of the operator.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

The Coast Guard said that boat operators who are illegally chartering pose a serious risk on the Bay “because they may not have the proper emergency safety gear and navigation and communication equipment aboard their vessel, and they may not have undergone the proper license exams or vessel inspections.” The penalties for illegally chartering include up to an $80,000 fine.

“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”


  1. Mark Havey 7 months ago

    Really, have they cracked down, or issued a press release? If there was a crackdown, wouldn’t there be a listing of those vessels found violating the law. Personally, more fluff than substance from D11.

  2. Capt Dane Faber 7 months ago

    Yeah.. the illegal charter has some sort of bullseye on it so USCG tags them? First off, the legitimate charter probably charges more- as he (or she) should and rightfully so. The illegal skipper simply tells his charter group that if boarded, they are all invited guests and no compensation paid or received, including food or booze. Why would the do this? Because they are getting a deal or dont understand why the captain is asking them to say if they are boarded. Regret to say this is once again a very unenforceable regulation for the most part.

  3. Armand Seguin 7 months ago

    I totally agree with Mark. I have a USCG Master’s license and would not think that anybody would dare to take anybody away from the dock for $. I thought that the USCG would come down hard and fast, but the milk toast notice (which I’ve noted before) is unlikely to dissuade anybody.

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