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Public Safety Press Releases
Public Safety

Harbor Police Department to Host Outreach Session on Illegal Vessel Charters

The Port of San Diego’s Harbor Police Department invites the public to attend an upcoming outreach session to provide input on the issue of illegal vessel charters operating in San Diego Bay, in order to assist the Port’s efforts to improve regulation of these businesses. 

Currently, there are both legal and illegal vessel charters operating in San Diego Bay. The goal of better regulation is to protect consumers, safeguard public safety, and create a more even playing field for businesses. Vessel charters include whale-watching boats, party boats and sportfishing boats, to name a few examples.

The outreach session will take place on Monday, June 4, 2018. The session will be from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. in the Port Administration Building, 3165 Pacific Highway, San Diego 92101.

“We are interested in hearing from members of the public, including waterfront visitors and the business community, on issues they have encountered with illegal vessel charters and other water sports businesses in San Diego Bay,” said Harbor Police Chief Mark Stainbrook.  “Everyone is welcome to attend this outreach session to provide input on how the Port of San Diego may update and amend the code to better address vessel charter operations and ensure an even playing field.”

In recent years, members of the public have raised concerns about illegal vessel charters. Concerns have included the vessels’ compliance with proper licensing, insurance, and safety requirements; operation under an agreement with the Port; and payment of market rent to the Port for conducting commercial operations. Businesses that don’t follow the rules may risk public safety and may have an unfair competitive advantage over legitimate charter companies. Further, consumers may not have access to information on whether a vessel charter is legal or not.

Chief Stainbrook formed an Illegal Charter Coordination Committee, which began meeting in April 2018, to examine the issue. The committee, made up of a cross-departmental team of Port staff members, has recommended updating and amending the existing Unified Port Code and permit system for vessel charters and other water sports businesses operating on San Diego Bay and with Port jurisdiction. Public input is an integral part of the process of updating the Unified Port Code. The goal is to present the Board of Port Commissioners with proposed revisions in the second half of 2018.

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.

Port of San Diego Public Safety protects and oversees the safety of our dynamic San Diego Bay waterfront—land and sea.

Port Public Safety is responsible for safeguarding waterfront parks and land, maintaining homeland security and collaborating with agency partners to deter crime locally and abroad. Through the Harbor Police Department, the Port provides for the safety of our communities and resources along San Diego Bay and at San Diego International Airport, and is seen as a global leader in maritime and aviation public safety.