With Expected Increase in Boaters, Coast Guard Warns of Illegal Passenger Operations | West


Graduations are taking place and summer is fast approaching, with officials anticipating one of the busiest boating seasons in years. This summer, many are expected to rent or charter space on a boat – and the Coast Guard will conduct operations to deter and stop illegal passenger operations.

With the COVID-19 pandemic leading more people to seek out outdoor recreation options in recent years, officials said there has also been an increase in advertisements for boat rentals and travel, particularly when it comes to online sales pitches that portray glamorous, inexpensive, and exciting. excursions.

“Some boat companies may operate vessels that have not received a Coast Guard inspection. These vessels are often operated by inexperienced and unlicensed operators who have not received the required training and may not be subject to mandatory drug testing,” the Coast Guard said in a news release. “The public can protect themselves by learning to identify legitimate businesses that operate legally.”

Typically, a vessel that carries more than six passengers for charter on federal waterways will have a Coast Guard inspection sticker and display its Coast Guard inspection certificate. Small, uninspected passenger vessels carrying six or fewer passengers are not required to have a COI. UPVs may choose to undergo a voluntary Coast Guard safety review and display a Coast Guard decal for successful completion.

All operators of vessels carrying passengers for hire are required to hold a Merchant Seaman certification issued by the Coast Guard. Legitimate companies advertise their compliance with Coast Guard requirements.

Violators of passenger transportation laws are subject to civil penalties, federal orders, and criminal prosecution. Owners and operators of illegal passenger vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $60,000 or more for illegal passenger-for-hire operations and more than $95,000 for violating an order of the master of the ship. Coast Guard Harbor.

If you cannot find any indication of compliance with Coast Guard requirements, Rhode Island residents are encouraged to call 508-457-3211 and Connecticut residents are urged to call 203-468-4444. To schedule a UPV appointment, call 401-435-2354 in Rhode Island or 203-468-4501 in Connecticut.

—Jason Vallee


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