From the field: Marine Safety Unit Chicago hosts 2nd annual meeting for operators of uninspected passenger vessels

CHICAGO - Members of the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Chicago Marine Police and Illinois Dept of Natural Resources take time for a group photo after hosting the public safety meeting for uninspected passenger vessel operators, March 31, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliary 37-25 Flotilla Commander Brian Hinton.

Guest post by Lt. Leslie Downing, MSU Chicago:

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago joined forces with local Coast Guard Auxiliary, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Chicago Marine Police to host a public safety meeting for operators of uninspected passenger vessels, Saturday.

The goal of the meeting was to increase education and compliance of federal, state and local rules and regulations, which govern their industry in an effort to increase safety within the Chicago waterways.

Nearly 70 people attended this event including local captains from all over the Chicagoland area.

Without their compliance and vigilance, regulatory agencies might not otherwise be able to pinpoint those illegal operators who continue to put the lives of their passengers at risk.

“Meetings such as this one are critically important as it enables us to interact with the OUPV community which is often our first line of defense in ensuring safe operations on passenger vessels operating in the Chicagoland area,” said Lt. Cmdr. Stacy Miller, MSU Chicago’s executive officer. “They serve as the eyes and ears for spotting unsafe activity and have been strong partners in combating illegal charter operators.”

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