The U.S. Coast Guard grounded eight illegal charter boats operating on Lake Tahoe in the first week of August.
During a four-day operation, Coast Guard investigators conducted more than 40 boat inspections and boarded more than 60 boats verifying passenger safety, captains' licenses and alcohol testing programs.
As a result, six voyages were terminated and eight boats were issued orders to stop operating for at least one of the following violations: not having a valid certificate of inspection, not having an individual with an appropriate license, failure to have a drug and alcohol program, and not operating as a valid bareboat charter.
"Illegal charters pose a serious risk to their passengers and to other boat operators on the water," said Capt. Jordan Baldueza, the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco deputy commander. "Many times the vessels are overloaded with passengers, lack appropriate safety equipment, or may be operated by individuals lacking awareness of the dangers inherent to the maritime environment. We urge anyone suspecting a vessel of violating the law to report the alleged violation to Coast Guard Sector San Francisco."
Owners and operators of illegal charter boats can face up to $80,000 in civil penalties for illegal passenger for hire operations, according to the Coast Guard.
To report an alleged illegal charter operation, contact the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco Command Center at (415) 399-7300 or SFOSCC@uscg.mil.