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Press Release | Sept. 9, 2023

Coast Guard terminates voyage of an illegal charter vessel in Marina Del Rey

Coast Guard District Eleven

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — The Coast Guard and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department terminated the voyage of an illegal charter vessel in Marina Del Rey, California on Sept. 2, 2023.

Personnel at Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach were notified that the 37-foot pleasure craft, SAIL LA VIE, was operating as an illegal charter with 20 passengers onboard.

The following violations were found:

  • 46 C.F.R. 176.100 (a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection
  • 46 C.F.R. 67.323 for operating in coastwise trade without the appropriate Certificate of Documentation endorsement.
  • 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a random drug testing program.

That evening, the Coast Guard issued the vessel a Captain of the Port Order to cease operations as a small passenger vessel until the SAIL LA VIE rectified the violations.

Illegal charters pose serious safety concerns 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. Captains are required to have their Merchant Mariner Credential at all times when paying passengers are onboard. Passengers are urged by the Coast Guard 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 are in compliance 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 Lt. Cmdr. Braden Rostad, investigation division chief for Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. “We urge anyone paying for a trip on a passenger vessel to ask to see the captain’s Merchant Mariner Credential to verify they are properly licensed by the Coast Guard.”

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

Violation of a Captain of the Port Order is a Class D felony which is punishable by up to six years in prison as per 18 U.S.C. 3581, and a criminal fine of up to $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for an organization as per 18 U.S.C. 3571. Civil penalties for violating a Captain of the Port Order can be up to $111,031 as per 46 U.S.C. 70036 (a).

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 LA-LB Investigations Division at (310) 521-3770 or email at

Illegal charter operations can be reported to the Coast Guard Sector LA-LB Command Center at (310) 521-3801 or

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