ASTORIA, Ore. — A charter the U.S. Coast Guard calls “illegal” is being conducted this weekend.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) said it “terminated an illegal charter” this week on the Willamette River near Oregon City. It says a USCG boarding team boarded a 17ft vessel on Thursday with three people on board and determined the vessel was operating as an uninspected illegal passenger vessel.
It says the operator of the vessel was cited for infractions with a maximum civil fine of $103,200, and the operator received an order from the harbor master that prohibits the vessel from operating commercially until it meets the requirements of the USCG charter.
The Coast Guard encourages passengers considering chartering a vessel to verify that the captain has a safety plan and a Coast Guard-issued credential. The USCG advises large charter boat customers or those with more than six passengers to request a certificate of inspection issued by the Coast Guard, and it recommends passengers verify that the vessel has a ship examination sticker. Uninspected Passenger Vehicle (UPV) or a Coast Guard Inspection Tag for T-Boats. The USCG advises that if the operator cannot produce the proper identifying information, passengers should not board the boat and must report the operator to the Coast Guard.
“Illegal charters pose a serious risk to the safety of their passengers and boaters,” said Coast Guard Marine Security Unit Portland Chief of Investigations Lt. Jody Stiger. “Ending these dangerous voyages and educating boaters is our top priority.”
The USCG states, “Any passenger-carrying boat for hire must be licensed by the Coast Guard and meet minimum safety standards. Proper emergency safety equipment, navigation systems, and communications equipment are required to safe operations. Uninspected passenger vessels are only permitted to carry up to six passengers for charter under Coast Guard regulations.”
It indicates Captain’s License Verification, Vessel Inspection Status Verification For boats carrying more than six passengers, or to report a possible illegal charter, contact the Portland Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit at 503- 240-9310.