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Press Release | Sept. 7, 2022

Coast Guard terminates two illegal charter vessels in San Diego Bay

District 11 - 510-437-3245


Coast Guard Sector San Diego personnel terminated two illegal charter vessels for unlawful operations over Labor Day weekend.

Sector San Diego boarding team members and investigators identified two illegal charters and terminated both voyages while carrying passengers for hire.

The vessel owners face significant fines and were issued a captain of the port order that restricts the boats from operating until they have satisfied all valid charter requirements to the Coast Guard.

“Illegal charters are a serious risk to their passengers and to other boat operators on the water,” said Cmdr. Jamie Koppi, Coast Guard Sector San Diego prevention, "there is a reason for the regulations we put in place; we don’t want lives to be lost and we want everyone to safely share and enjoy the water. We urge anyone suspecting that a vessel is violating the law to report the alleged violation to Coast Guard Sector San Diego at 619-278-7033.”

The Coast Guard urges anyone paying for a trip on a passenger vessel to verify that their captain has a safety plan and a merchant mariner credential. For larger charter boats or those with more than six passengers, ask to see a Coast Guard issued certificate of inspection. If the operator cannot produce credentials, passengers should not get on the boat and should immediately contact the Coast Guard.

Any boat carrying passengers for hire are required to hold a Coast Guard license and meet minimum safety standards. Proper emergency safety gear, navigational systems and communication equipment are required for safe operations. Uninspected passenger vessels are only permitted to carry up to six passengers for hire under Coast Guard regulations.

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties exceeding $59,000, and if they violate a captain of the port order, they will face over $500,000 in penalties and Class D felony charges.

For additional recreational boating safety information, please visit

For information regarding your boating operations or charter regulations, please contact Sector San Diego Investigations Division personnel at (619) 572-2904 or via email at

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 a potential illegal charter, please contact the Coast Guard Sector San Diego Joint Harbor Operations Center personnel at (619) 278-7033 or