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Press Release | June 8, 2024

Coast Guard terminates voyage of illegal passenger vessel operation in Virginia waters

NORFOLK, Va. — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a commercial boat rental charter operating in violation of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act, near Broad Bay, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Friday.

During a recreational vessel safety boarding, the Coast Guard identified significant safety risks to the passengers onboard.

The individuals chartering the vessel were unaware they were violating safety regulations. The Coast Guard remains steadfast in its commitment to enforcing safety laws while prioritizing the well-being of all individuals on the water. 

Coast Guard Sector Virginia and Coast Guard Station Little Creek cited several violations and terminated the voyage due to unsafe conditions. The violations included:

  • 46 CFR. 176.100(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection
  • 46 CFR 15.515(b), failure of vessel on voyage and subject to inspection to be under direction and control of an individual with an appropriate Coast Guard license
  • 46 CFR 16.201, failure of a marine employer to comply with the requirements concerning chemical testing of personnel

It is important to note that before launching your own passenger for hire operation, the following requirements must be followed:

  • The captain must hold the appropriate U.S. Coast Guard license
  • The captain and crew must be enrolled in a drug and alcohol program
  • If carrying more than six passengers, at least one for hire, then the vessel must also have a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection

Additionally, if businesses are conducting bareboat charter rentals, then:

  • A maximum of 12 passengers plus the charterer are allowed on the vessel, not including crew.
  • The vessel can be crewed so long as the captain and the crew are not specified or provided by or paid through the original rental company agreement.
  • The company may provide a list of suggested captains, but the charterer has the right to go outside that list and choose their own captain.
  • The vessel’s registered owner may not be onboard in any capacity while the vessel is rented (chartered) by a charterer.

The Coast Guard will be conducting periodic, unannounced boardings of both recreational vessels and vessels suspected to be operating illegally as passenger vessels with the goal of ensuring the safety of the boating public and full compliance with the minimum safety and regulatory standards required.

To report potential illegal passenger vessels, please contact the Sector Virginia Command Center at 757-483-8567 or through CGIS Tips (Tip Form )