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Legal vs Illegal Private Boat Charters

a boat is docked next to a body of water

In many places throughout the US, an ongoing problem is found- the undergoing of illegal charter boat operations. In many cases, those going aboard these boats are completely unaware of the illegality of the situation. There are many elements that contribute to a charter boat being legally run, and it is important to be informed before renting one out. Illegal boat charters pose big safety problems out on the water and without the yearly inspection by the Coast Guard, detrimental accidents by boating occur. Below is a guide on what you should be looking for when renting a charter boat.

Ask to see the boat captain’s license. It is crucial that you rent from a professional. The individual operating the charter should be well trained with in depth education on any emergency procedures that could occur at sea. In addition, onboard at all times, the operator should hold a valid, Coast Guard-issued Merchant Mariner’s license. 

At times, people will get an “Un-inspected Passenger Vessel Merchant Mariner’s Credential” in which they cannot carry more than six beings at a time. If the number of bodies onboard exceeds this limit, the operator must have a Master’s license. 

Safety tutorial. You should always being given a safety tutorial upon your arrival. This is an important step for you to be informed on where your boat’s life jackets are located, along with other safety measures. 

When getting their license, operators learn how to manage any emergency situation that can occur at sea. This includes but is not limited to, a passenger falling overboard, how to maneuver the vessel within any sea condition, recovery procedures, CPR, etc. 

Inspected Vessel. A certificate of inspection should be placed in a visible area on the boat. It indicates that the operator of the charter, in which six or more beings are onboard, has had the boat examined by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. This document is proof that the boat has met all requirements. In addition, this ensures that there has been an agreement in which the owner will maintain the boat in the same condition from when it was inspected. 

Drug testing. The operator of a charter boat has undergone a pre-employment drug test while also passing random drug testing throughout employment. 

Here at Next Level Sailing, your safety is of utmost importance to us. Our San Diego charter boat, known as the Yacht America, is a US Coast Guard inspected vessel that undergoes the necessary annual inspections. When traveling with us, you are aboard a boat with the proper number of life jackets, lifeboats, flares, safety equipment, etc. Illegal charters have become a large issue within the San Diego area and you can be rest assured that we are not one of them. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding the above.