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Press Release | July 13, 2023

Coast Guard terminates voyage of an illegal charter vessel near Catalina Island

Coast Guard District Eleven

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of an illegal charter vessel operating in the vicinity of Catalina Island on Jul. 8, 2022.

Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach discovered that the 28-foot pleasure craft was operating as an illegal charter with nine passengers.

The following violations were found:

  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.323(a) for operating in coastwise trade without the appropriate Certificate of Documentation endorsement
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.230(a) for failure to have a random drug testing program

Illegal charters are extremely dangerous to the public. Any captain operating a boat carrying paying passengers is required to hold a Coast Guard license and meet Coast Guard safety requirements. In addition, captains must have their Merchant Mariner Credential with them when paying passengers are on board. The Coast Guard urges passengers to ask to see their captain’s Merchant Mariner Credential. Additional Coast Guard requirements apply to captains taking more than six passengers on a trip. Ask your captain if they comply with Coast Guard regulations.

“The Coast Guard will aggressively pursue any operator who is putting their customers at risk by operating outside these critical safety requirements,” said Capt. Ryan Manning, Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Commander. “We urge anyone paying for a trip aboard a passenger vessel to ask to see the vessel operator’s Merchant Mariner Credential and the vessel’s certificate of inspection if there are more than six passengers.”

Owners and operators of charter boats can face civil penalties for illegal charter operations. Some potential civil penalties for those charters are:

  • Up to $5,661 for not having a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers as per 46 U.S.C. 3318(j).
  • Up to $22,324 for failure to operate a passenger vessel without a Coast Guard license as per 46 U.S.C. 8101(g)
  • Up to $19,324 for operating a coastwise trade without appropriate Certificate of Documentation endorsement as per 46 U.S.C. 12151(a)(1).
  • Up to $9,086 for failure to have a random drug testing program as per 46 U.S.C. 2115

For additional recreational boating safety information, please visit the Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division (CG-BSX-2) at

Individuals with questions regarding passenger-for-hire regulations can contact the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Investigations Division at (310) 521-3770 or email at

Illegal charter operations can be reported to the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center at (310) 521-3801 or

Alternatively, questions may be forwarded to Coast Guard District 11 Prevention, Inspections & Investigations office by email to