• Welcome to ScubaBoard


  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Do I need a licensed Coast Guard Captain?

Discussion in 'Scuba Related Court Cases' started by SYNC, May 24, 2014.

  1. SYNC

    SYNC Angel Fish

    5
    0
    0
    Hello

    I am a scientist who just purchased a boat to support research diving projects. For liability protection, my university wants me to have commercial insurance. I don't mind the extra liability protection, too. So, I started an LLC, bought and registered my boat under the business, and obtained commercial insurance. The boat will largely be used by myself, staff, and students - none of whom are paying passengers. Costs to run the boat are out of my pocket or through grants to pay for gas etc. My question is: do I need a licensed CG Captain to run the boat when my passengers are not paying customers? The boat is a 30 footer with twin outboards, less than 5 metric tons. I understand that if I run the boat with paying customers then I absolutely need a licensed CG Captain/Dive Master at the helm. Diving is conducted under university guidelines that are part of AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences). Thank you. S Miller
     
  2. Doubler

    Doubler Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Bremerton, WA
    1,606
    312
    83
    I'm thinking because of what you are doing and taking grant money a Captains license is required. Contact Wookie on the board. He runs a dive boat out of Key West and also does research diving. He is the go to guy for these types of questions.
     
  3. fisheater

    fisheater Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sebastopol, CA
    4,408
    959
    113
    What does the legal dept. of your university say?
     
  4. knotical

    knotical perpetual student

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ka'u
    5,750
    823
    113
    fisheater likes this.
  5. SYNC

    SYNC Angel Fish

    5
    0
    0
    Good questions. Grant money pays salaries and gas, but the costs of the boat are free to the program. University will be okay with whatever is okay with Coast Guard. Seeking out attorney advice, too. I asked around a little before posting, even called the Coast Guard and person I talked to said he thought it was okay but didn't know for sure and would have to check but didn't have time, etc.

    ---------- Post added May 24th, 2014 at 05:52 PM ----------

    I don't think ORV (Oceanographic Research Vessel) is necessary. It also begs the question of passengers who pay and those who don't. ORV removes restriction, however, of the number of passengers so you can have more than 6. I don't need that.
     
  6. knotical

    knotical perpetual student

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ka'u
    5,750
    823
    113
    I'm guessing that if any of the students are doing coursework, someone paid their tuition and the students therefore become paying passengers.

    Disclaimer: - I'm not an attorney.
     
    EireDiver606 likes this.
  7. SYNC

    SYNC Angel Fish

    5
    0
    0
    You can see the potential complexity. Students who participate are not part of classes. They are doing thesis work. They are paid by grants that go to the university. Yes, they are paid, but not paying customers who use the boat. I am not an attorney, too!
     
  8. knotical

    knotical perpetual student

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ka'u
    5,750
    823
    113
    Although not an attorney, I do have a lot of experience working with military regulations (mostly AF, not CG). Not just following the regs, but also interpreting and sometimes even re-writing.

    Were I you, the only way I'd be comfortable without a license would be if someone competent first:
    - identified the portion of the CG regs that say paying passengers requires a captain
    - follow the exemption trail that starts where I previously indicated to see if the specific relevant section or sections is/are amongst those exempted for research vessels.

    Alternatively, I'd want an attorney's (or Coast Guard's) written assessment that students doing thesis work are not paying passengers.

    My opinion remains: since they are paying the university to do thesis work, they are paying passengers.
    One reason: - The Coast Guard is largely about safety. Safety is usually conservative. The conservative interpretation is what I have outlined.
     
  9. SYNC

    SYNC Angel Fish

    5
    0
    0
    Thanks knotical. I took the conservative approach to start, with a captain who will run the boat. Just want to know the parameters moving forward. Now to add a twist, can I pilot the boat to take my wife out for a cruise?
     
  10. knotical

    knotical perpetual student

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ka'u
    5,750
    823
    113
    Good question. Can a vessel be multi-use? Once your boat is designated a research vessel, can it sometimes be used as a pleasure craft? I'd guess that would be OK but you know the value of the opinion of a random stranger on the internet ...
     
    caydiver likes this.

Share This Page