CHC Fact Sheet: Commercial Passenger Fishing (Sportfishing) Vessel
- Commercial passenger fishing vessels, also known as charter fishing vessels or sportfishing vessels, take paying customers to catch fish. Sportfishing vessels are different than excursion vessels that offer other activities such as sightseeing, bridge tours, and whale watching trips.
- Under the Current Regulation, sportfishing vessels are required to use CARB diesel and to report to CARB, but they are not required to upgrade to cleaner engines.
- There are ~350 sportfishing vessels statewide, with ~880 engines, spread across different air basins.
- As of 2019, the average age of a vessel was 45 years. More than a half of the engines in the vessels are higher-polluting pre-Tier 1 and Tier 1 engines, and about a quarter are Tier 2.
Sportfishing Vessel Population in the Year 2018
San Francisco Bay Area
South Central Coast
North Central Coast
- Sportfishing vessels that have voluntarily upgraded to cleaner engines, such as to Tier 2 standards, still emit 162 times more diesel particulate matter than a five ‑year ‑old diesel school bus.
- Sportfishing vessels are one of the largest emitting categories of commercial harbor crafts. They emit 11 percent of total commercial harbor craft PM2.5 emissions, and 10 percent of total commercial harbor craft oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions.
- Under the Proposed Amendments, DPM emissions from sportfishing vessels would decrease by 94 percent, and NOx emissions would decrease by 46 percent by 2035.
- Under the Proposed Amendments, sportfishing vessels operating in Regulated California Waters (i.e. 24 nautical miles from the coast) would be subject to the following in-use performance standards:
- use of Tier 4 engines equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPF).
- if engines are rated below 600 kilowatts (kW) and Tier 4 engines are not available, Tier 3 engines equipped with DPFs.
Compliance Exceptions and Extensions
- Initial compliance dates, by which vessel owner/operators would need to upgrade engines or apply for extensions, are summarized below.
- With full compliance extensions, compliance dates for sportfishing vessels would phase in between 2031 and 2034.
- Vessels operating under low-hour use thresholds within 24 nautical miles of the coast do not have to repower or retrofit their vessels.
Limits – All Other Areas
Limits – DACs
- If compliance requires vessel replacement, sportfishing vessels owners can receive up to eight years of compliance extensions or 2034, whichever is earlier, if they can demonstrate financial difficulty.
- The average ticket price can vary significantly depending on the length of the trip. Ticket prices average about $147.50 for a day trip, and about $335.11 per day for a 6‑pack vessel and are projected to increase due to regulatory requirements.
Current Average Ticket Cost
Average Ticket Cost Increase
Projected Ticket Cost
Cost Per Passenger/day, 1‑Day Trip
Cost Per Passenger/day, Multi-Day Trip
Cost Per Passenger/day, “6‑pack” Vessel
Note: This analysis assumes costs are completely passed through to paying customers.
 “6-packs” are vessels that can carry up to six passengers (in addition to two crew). Due to the smaller passenger capacity and market segment, the costs to individual passengers aboard these vessels were calculated separately.