Beware of Illegal Boat Operators This Summer

A boating excursion may be one of the most appealing ways to spend a hot summer day, but the Coast Guard warns passengers to watch out for unlicensed operators. Many boat owners load passengers onto vessels that have not received the necessary safety inspections crewed by staff who have not been trained or tested for substance abuse.

Lack of training and unsafe equipment greatly increase the likelihood of a serious accident, and unlicensed operators do not have insurance to cover passengers’ injuries.

The Coast Guard recommends that passengers look for vessels with a Coast Guard inspection decal and Certificate of Inspection. Boats that carry six or fewer passengers are not required to have a certificate, but owners can still have the vessel inspected to obtain a decal.

In addition, operators of commercial boating excursions should have Merchant Mariner Credentials issued by the Coast Guard. If an operator cannot produce evidence of compliance with Coast Guard requirements, you are better off staying ashore. While the owner of an unauthorized vessel for hire faces thousands of dollars in penalties, you are in even more serious danger because you face the risk of physical injury or death.

If you are the victim of a boating accident, in many cases, a maritime injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your losses from an insurance company or other source. When you step onto an unlicensed, uninsured vessel, however, your options for recovery in case of injury are substantially fewer.  

To talk to an experienced maritime attorney at Latti & Anderson about what may be possible in your case, contact us for a confidential consultation.