Passenger Charters in San Diego: A New Management Strategy

The Port of San Diego has recently been criticized for its ineffective management of illegal passenger charter operations, especially regarding small passenger vessels between 22-75ft in length). Illegal passenger charters are not permitted by the Port, the Coast Guard, or as is often the case, by both organizations. Illegal charters create a safety hazard to unknowing passengers and a loss of revenue to the Port. Currently, the Port of San Diego along with Harbor Police and the United States Coast Guard work in bilateral operations in hopes of decreasing illegal charter activity. Their combined efforts over the past few years, however, show little to no improvement in reducing illegal charter operators. As author of this project, I have firsthand experience with the issues illegal charters can cause. I manage a fleet of bareboat charter boats for Marina Sailing and spend the majority of my time at the docks, meeting passengers before charters and talking to other legal passenger charter operators. Legal charter operators have to jump through bureaucratic hurdles to run their businesses, and often they have to pay high premiums to Port authorized private marinas to pick up passengers. Using a well-structured system to increase legal charters, the Port of San Diego could capitalize on a steady revenue stream, all while increasing the safety of passengers in San Diego Bay by decreasing illegal passenger charters.

A capstone project submitted to the faculty of the California Maritime Academy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Transportation and Engineering Management.