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USCG Inspected Yachts: How to Steer Clear of Illegal Charters

  • USCG Inspected Yachts: How to Steer Clear of Illegal Charters

    Have you ever dreamed about a wedding on a yacht? The breathtaking sight of the sunset kissing the tip of the deep blue sea; your eyes traveling across the waves and your heart listening to the quietness of the ocean. It doesn't have to be a wedding. Perhaps, it’s a big birthday celebration, an engagement, or a corporate party, you can make it magical. Like we always say; one memorable event is worth more than a thousand quick fixes.

    But the best feeling goes beyond the cruise. It is in every sip of fine wine and classic champagne. It is in the rhythm of the band’s music that keeps your head moving on your shoulders. It is in the delicious gourmet meals that taste as good as they look. It is in the laughter of guests aboard the yacht, cruising gleefully without any cares. It is the moment on a beautifully-crafted passenger vessel with a loved one, celebrating the beginning of a new life. What if we told you this dream could become a reality? And what if we told you it is closer than you think?

    Perhaps, you’re an event planner and you just can't wrap your mind around the perfect venue for your client’s special event. You may be terrific at hosting weekend dinners for your family and friends. You may also be great at putting together a luncheon for your office, a child’s birthday party or even a Thanksgiving dinner. But when it comes to special events, you should go a notch higher.


    Why a Private Yacht Charter?

    Everyone wants to move away from the norm. We agree that you can host an amazing event at a restaurant, a hotel ballroom, a banquet hall and even a bar. Yes, you can. You can have amazing lighting, beautiful colors sprinkled on the tables, chairs and the interior decor. You can even have amazing music, food and drinks, and beautiful-smiling faces adorning your fine rug. But isn't that like every other party?

    Hosting your event on a yacht will blow your mind and literally take you away to the place where your dreams come alive. The thought of partying on water is enough to make your heart race as loud as the pistons of a rickety vehicle. Don't also forget that a commercial yacht will give your event that glamor and elegance that you desire. You can set sail at Southern California and cruise through the coastal shores of San Diego Bay.

    A charter yacht is also a remarkable venue for your memorials and anniversaries. For Latinos, the Quinceañera is a big deal and should be hosted with such great attention to details. If you’re a resident of the San Diego community or you’re just visiting, go ahead and enjoy the thrill of our deep-water harbor.


    How To’s of Chartering a Yacht

    Not everyone can own a yacht. In fact, only a few people in the world can comfortably buy a large yacht and not flinch. It is expensive. But the fact that you’re not a Rockefeller or a Ford doesn't mean you cannot host your dream event on the water. You can hire one. But even when you decide to do this, there are a lot of considerations to be made. Invariably, there are options to choose from, but not all of them will fit your specific needs.

    So, what kind of yacht can you charter and how do you go about it? For most people, the first thought that comes to mind is renting a recreational yacht or personal boat. This might work if you’re looking to host a very small number of guests on board, and don’t mind operating the vessel yourself or find a qualified captain. Also, these vessels are not purposefully built for commercial use. However, owners of private yachts sometimes go against the law and operate illegal charters. They carry more than 6 or 8 passengers without the license to do so.

    Apart from the fact that they’re operating illegally, there are concerns about safety. When a vessel carries more passengers than it is licensed to carry, it is against the law. Some of them are not certified by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and do not have licenses to operate as commercial vessels. According to a recent article published in The Log magazine, many officials from ports up and down the coast of California, such as Port of San Diego and Port of Los Angeles, have been working on policies to deter this type of illegal activity on the waterways. The Coast Guard announced back in March of 2017, it would increase the monitoring of illegal charter activities "to ensure public safety on local waterways."

    The Log has reported about this controversial issue many times, stating that if the owner of any large recreational vessel would like to rent out or host a party to more than six people for commercial purposes, the vessel must be registered as charter-for-hire. In addition to carrying valid insurance and obtaining certified inspection documentation, all charter operators must retain an up-to-date county business license as well as permits to serve food and alcoholic beverage.

    You wouldn't want to be having your party on a yacht and be interrupted by law enforcement agents. That can turn out to be a disaster for you and your guests. There is also the issue of safety that you must consider. The truth is, an Uninspected passenger vessel would normally be able to cater for only a small number of passengers. For example, in case of an emergency, gears such as floaters and firefighting equipment may not go around. The over-crowdedness and weight on the vessel should also be taken into consideration.

    The best option is a commercial passenger yacht which is inspected and licensed by all the necessary authorities. This is where we come in. We offer just the right vessels for your event. We ensure you get the right size and capacity, class and service you desire. But it goes beyond yacht rental. We assist the planner in ensuring that everything goes smoothly. We make sure you get exactly what you desire and even more. Our captains and crew are also USCG-certified and are licensed to sail. Plus, our vessels are insured in the commercial marine category.


    The Breakdown on USCG Certification

    In case you’re not familiar with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the first thing you should know is that it is a unit within the US Armed Forces. It is a part of the country’s seven uniformed services. It also pursues a maritime law enforcement agendum, covering both local and international waters. The laws backing the USCG is quite unique. The body is empowered to carry out military operations on the order of the United States President or the Department of Defense.

    Specifically, all commercial passenger vessels must undergo inspection by the USCG. If they pass the inspection, the owners receive a certificate of inspection which they must place where passengers can see it. This is what a USCG certification implies. On the other hand, a USCG approval is sought for certain items which must be carried on board. Visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, and personal flotation devices need to be checked and approved by the USCG before use.

    So how do you obtain the USCG Certificate of Inspection (COI)? Note that because your boat is properly built doesn't mean you won't have a problem getting certified. Some general requirements include:

    • Proving that your boat is well built, using plans, tests, and calculations.
    • Ensure you meet all requirements, beyond good marine practice. For example, handrails must be 39.5” high and exit doors must be 32” wide.
    • It is easier if the boat is US built, considering all the regulations on subchapter T construction.
    • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing works must meet USCG standards.
    • The vessel must pass intact stability standard tests.
    • The vessel should have a collision bulkhead if you operate on unprotected or partially protected waters. This should be located between 5 and 15% of the waterline stem’s length aft.
    • The boat must comply fully with the codes of federal regulations pertaining to vessel structures.

    From passenger capacity and stability to safety gears and firefighting equipment, there are several checks to be done. And all these checks will be closely followed by ongoing regular inspections.

    A USCG charter boat captain’s license is also a necessary factor to consider in choosing a yacht for your event. You must be sure that the chartered yacht is operated by a certified captain. There are several categories of licenses (credentials) available to a captain; though we will focus on the Master Credentials, which is the highest level. Our captains are USCG-certified Master captains, making them one of the best you can find in the industry.

    Unless you’re operating an Uninspected Small Passenger vessel (not exceeding 6 passengers), you need a certificate of inspection. You should know that it is not easy to come by. A COI is what empowers you to carry more than that number on your vessel.


    How Can We Help With Your Private Yacht Charter Needs

    Legacy Cruises & Events offers fully licensed custom-built commercial yachts for your events, along with superb all-encompassing personalized services and exclusive first-class experiences to make your special day or evening unforgettably spectacular. Our services go beyond luxury yacht rental for your events to include banquet event catering and entertainment services. Whether it is an upscale wedding, a corporate event, a fundraiser, or social mixer, we have got you covered. The goal is to provide the luxury experience available only to the super-rich. This includes a beautiful yacht, like the flagship Sirara, amazing food, great music and premium drinks. Ensure your guests have got their tuxedos and beautiful dresses to look the part. A party on a 65-ft luxury yacht is not something you want to miss. All of this happens nowhere else but in the magical city of San Diego; a place where you can find constant adventure.


    Final Words…

    Feel the ocean’s breeze whispering into your ears aboard one of the world’s most magical commercial yachts. You can make that event truly memorable with all the lights and glamor that you’ve always wanted. Contact us today and speak to one of our event specialists to get started. With safety, comfort, luxury, amazing food, drinks and music, and a scenery that blows your mind, what else can you possibly ask for?

    You can also check out our Book Now Page today to send us details about your coming events and save your date on our calendar. You can also sign up for our guest list using the easy link below. And if you need further information, subscribe to our Newsletter for further updates. Help a friend make their dream events a reality by sharing this page on social media by selecting your favorite social button below.