License pitfalls


#1

If a person holding a license, operates a vessel that requires no license and gets involved in a marine accident or incident, is the license brought into the situation ?
Would it matter if the vessel was for hire or for pleasure?

Or any idea where I might look…I’ve been all over the CFR’s and came up empty…thanks


#2

I sailed with a Captain back in the 90’s. This was a story he related to me. He held an Unlimited Masters license. Lived in Alaska. A buddy with a fishing vessel (owner/operator, no license) needed to get his boat to Seattle. So this Captain went along for the ride. Happened to be the only license on board. He was not on watch, and vessel went on the rocks and sank. One crew drowned. They went after him because he was licensed, but was not acting in capacity as master, or so he thought. USCG reduced him to 3rd Mate for one year, or something like that. I have no knowledge of whether or not that’s the full story, but it has always made me wonder: what if I go out on my buddy’s sailboat or go fishing? What is my liability if I am not the owner/operator? I’ve never found an answer either. Would be nice to know.


#3

**always taught students in 6pac class…that your guests contributing to ice, beer, fuel, etc. was technically considered by the USCG to constitute a “for hire” situation and required a license.

**if your accident or incident is alcohol related then any MMC you hold is most likely in jeopardy when you renew if not before.

**many states and insurance companies now treat BUI the same as DUI…understand that this becoming quite a “cash cow” for them.

**if you are held negligent regarding any accident or incident then any MMC you hold could be in jeopardy when you renew if not before.

**suggest if you must go “pleasure” boating…I tend to do most of my “fishing” out of the ice chest…go out in another’s boat…don’t drive…settle up expenses after the fact…even then you could be at risk and require the services of a schyster…who knows with the way things are in this day and age!


#4

[quote=seadawg;14702]**always taught students in 6pac class…that your guests contributing to ice, beer, fuel, etc. was technically considered by the USCG to constitute a “for hire” situation and required a license.

**if your accident or incident is alcohol related then any MMC you hold is most likely in jeopardy when you renew if not before.

**many states and insurance companies now treat BUI the same as DUI…understand that this becoming quite a “cash cow” for them.

**if you are held negligent regarding any accident or incident then any MMC you hold could be in jeopardy when you renew if not before.

**suggest if you must go “pleasure” boating…I tend to do most of my “fishing” out of the ice chest…go out in another’s boat…don’t drive…settle up expenses after the fact…even then you could be at risk and require the services of a schyster…who knows with the way things are in this day and age![/quote]

I had an instructor tell a class that I had taken the same thing…Settle up at the end…

The reason that I was asking is the boat is going into the yards for a short period of time…The company would like the crew, to man a couple of small boats, no license required …

On a drill yesterday ,with these 32’ boats , the mate (1600 ton master) bumped a dock and narrowly missed another vessel that had some overhang extending past it’s berth …


#5

[QUOTE=Shellback;14699]If a person holding a license, operates a vessel that requires no license and gets involved in a marine accident or incident, is the license brought into the situation ?
Would it matter if the vessel was for hire or for pleasure?

Or any idea where I might look…I’ve been all over the CFR’s and came up empty…thanks[/QUOTE]

Considering that you can have your uscg license taken away if you drive your car under the influence of alcohol, I’m betting that if any type of boating incident occurs that gets some sort of investigation involved (police, insurance or uscg), your license could get suspended, revoked, etc.

Check out 46 CFR 5 for definitions associated with investigations. Misconduct, negligence, etc. are listed and none of them say that you have to be acting under the authority of your license.

Also, take a look here:

46 CFR 4.23-1 Evidence of criminal liability.

If, as a result of any investigation or other proceeding conducted hereunder, evidence of criminal liability on the part of any licensed officer or certificated person or any other person is found, such evidence shall be referred to the U.S. Attorney General.


#6

Shellback,

we are getting into some pretty murky water here…if this vessel is an auxiliary listed as part of a larger vessel’s equipment then the manning requirement or part of might be “waivered”…if operated as a “stand alone” commercially documented vessel will probably require an appropriately licensed operator.

**I have worked for companies who required only licensed personnel to operate zodiacs because of “liability issues”!


#7

Seadawg,

These particular boats, are stand alone 32’ aluminum boats with twin 250 HP out boards…They are state registered and are under 5 tons…

Capt Fran, thanks for the references…I agree with what you’re thinking is too…I have a class A commercial license and am subjected to different consequences, even when operating my own car…


#8

There has to be more to that story. I really don’t see that happening, not that clear cut. I do agree with some things, like losing you’re USCG license for driving a car under the influence. That is a character issue, which is a big part of the USCG licensing process, particularly for an original license. As a driver of the highway, you’re acting in a licensed capacity - I can see the liability on the USCG side. I can’t see someone in the back seat being blamed for anything. Same thing on a buddies boat, or even a cruise ship that you may happen to be on.
I can’t see myself being liable for anything on one of my recreational boat dive excursions, that I go on frequently. They’re is a reason we sign-on as crew members, and have that logged.


#9

Years ago, I was sailing as CE on an ITB with an uninspected tug. Before the inception of “DDE”, so no license required, but I had one. While in Port Arthur, loading cargo, the deck crew was using the hydraulic winches as a poor man’s constant tension winch (leaving them engaged to keep tension on the mooring wires). One of the fittings blew and some hydraulic oil ran off the deck and into the water (about 5 gallons or so). Of course the Coast Guard was called. They took down my license number (but not the Mate’s), but I was not disciplined.

Short answer, yes, the license is brought into the investigation.