The U.S. Coast Guard has terminated the voyages of two more charter vessels on Lake of the Ozarks, hinting more strongly at a crackdown on potential violations of passenger-for-hire vessel regulations here.
A press release from USCG on August 21 stated that they had terminated the voyages of two charter vessels over the weekend, one on August 17 and the other August 18. The vessels exceeded the legal limit of 12 passengers, the press release stated as cause for the shutdowns.
These actions follow citations issued by the USCG on August 1 to two other vessels carrying passengers for hire on Lake of the Ozarks.
The USCG stated that the terminations of these vessels were done as Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River conducted routine patrols. The alleged August 1 violations were also for excess passengers.
The Coast Guard did not release the names of any of the vessels involved. All of the cases remain under investigation.
The USCG regulates commercial boating on Lake of the Ozarks for vessels who carry passengers for hire. Restrictions apply to the number of passengers and the type of license a boat captain has obtained.
The basic laws and definitions governing charter services can be found in Title 46 United States Code 2101(35) and Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations 175.400.
“Boating safety and legal chartering operations remain top Coast Guard priorities along our waterway system,” said Capt. Scott Stoermer, the captain of the port for Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River. “Given the inherently elevated risks that come with congestion along Lake of the Ozarks in summer months, continued education and law enforcement presence are important elements to best ensure an enjoyable time on the water is also a safe one.”
In the press release from the previous citations, Stoermer also said, “Passengers should understand safety requirements before paying for boating services. People have the right to know they are paying for a safe voyage before handing over their money. Vessel-for-hire services with a captain who is not credentialed puts passengers and surrounding boats in danger. Anyone that suspects a passenger vessel is operating illegally should immediately contact the Coast Guard.”