Resolution: U.S. Coast Guard Federal Navigable Waters Licensing
Release Date: Feb 10, 2010
Introduction: A change in enforcement by the U.S. Coast Guard regarding federal navigable waters boat licensing based on standards established for larger commercial boat operations on major bodies of water, would have an immediate negative impact on Minnesota fishing guides, tour boat operators, and casual boat/ pontoon rides offered through commercial businesses such as resorts.
Whereas, Minnesota's tourism industry and businesses support licensing and oversight to ensure public safety on Minnesota's lakes and rivers;
Whereas leisure and hospitality is an $11.2 billion industry in Minnesota that accounts for 16% of Minnesota's state sales tax and provides over 245,000 full and part-time jobs;
Whereas, Minnesota has over 500 guides who take anglers on inland navigable waters and hundreds of resorts and businesses that offer casual boat/pontoon rides to their guests;
Whereas, the U.S. Coast Guards qualifications for licensing of an Operator of an Uninspected Passenger Vessel , or "Six-Pack" was not designed for most inland lakes or rivers nor for small vessels such as 16-20 foot outboard boats;
Whereas for the past several decades, the Coast Guard has exercised discretion in it's enforcement of the "Six-Pack" licensing;
Therefore the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council supports:
Continued use of discretion in pro-active enforcement of the existing licensing requirements for an Operator of an Uninspected Passenger Vessel;
Interim enforcement should address safety issues without penalizing small vessel operators for issues that do not relate to inland lakes;
The U.S. Coast Guard should review standards including knowledge, cost and time commitment to develop licensing appropriate to smaller vessels operating on inland waters;
Minnesota's Congressional delegation should oversee timely action on this issue.