Can the Coast Guard Suspend an Operator’s License?

Can the Coast Guard Suspend an Operator’s License?

In a blog post last month, we explained how overcrowding on ferries and the operation of vessels in poor conditions can lead to safety issues.

It should be noted that many of the same rules and regulations that apply to ferries also pertain to other vessels such as riverboats. Remember, when an operator ignores cargo load limits or decides to operate a vessel in poor conditions, it can lead to capsizing, grounding or sinking events. Aside from death, these incidents can result in severe personal injuries, as people are forced to abandon vessels or participate in rescue operations.

Recently, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that it suspended the merchant mariner’s license of Richard Chesbrough of Salem, Oregon for violating “regulations governing small commercial passenger vessel operations and for negligence.”

According to a Coast Guard release, the suspension will last four months and be followed by an 18-month probationary period due to charges from two separate complaints. The agency said that Chesbrough knowingly operated the vessel Willamette Queen in 2011 in river conditions exceeding those authorized in its certificate of inspection to carry passengers. Additionally, he was accused of negligently grounding the vessel in the Willamette River in May 2012, leading to the evacuation of the passengers.

It should be noted that the Willamette Queen is a sternwheeler paddleboat that provides daytime and evening dinner cruises. As this suspension shows, people who are accused of knowingly operating boats in lieu of the conditions or regulations governing the vessel can and should face consequences.

An Attorney Can Help Following a Vessel Accident

In the video above, David Anderson explains the importance of obtaining counsel following a vessel accident. You should not have to suffer because of the negligence of a vessel operator, who may be driven solely by profit and not concerned with the health and safety of others.

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Latti & Anderson LLPNationwide Maritime Attorneys