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.”
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 SFOSCC@uscg.mil.”