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Press Release | June 17, 2024

U.S. Coast Guard terminates voyage of passenger vessel off New Jersey

PHILADELPHIA — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a small passenger vessel operating in violation of a Captain of the Port (COTP) Order that was in effect against the vessel near Barnegat Light, New Jersey, Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

The COTP Order issued against the commercial vessel prohibited the carriage of paying passengers (i.e., passenger(s) for hire) unless it was operated under the direction and control of an individual holding the appropriate Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).

During a vessel safety boarding, Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light discovered the acting captain, also known as master, of the commercial vessel did not meet the regulatory requirements to serve as the vessel’s master.

The boarding confirmed the vessel was not in compliance, and the voyage was subsequently terminated due to violating the standing COTP Order.

“Credentialed mariners are entrusted with the safety and security of commercial vessels, and the Coast Guard remains steadfast in its commitment to fairly enforce the rule of law while prioritizing the well-being of all individuals on the water and the overall Marine Transportation System”, said Capt. Roberto Rivera, alternate COTP, Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay.

Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light cited the violation and terminated the voyage due to unsafe conditions.

The violation included:

· Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 15.515(c), failure of vessel to be operated under direction and control of an individual holding the appropriate Coast Guard MMC.

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, with 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 or direct representative may not be onboard in any capacity while the vessel is rented (chartered) by a charterer.

The Coast Guard will continue to conduct boardings of both recreational vessels and vessels suspected to be operating illegally as passenger vessels to ensure the safety of the boating public and full compliance with the minimum safety and regulatory standards required by law.

To report potential illegal passenger vessel operations, please contact the Sector Delaware Bay Command Center at (215) 271-4940 or through CGIS Tips (Tip Form