Arizona group unveils ‘designated captain’ program

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The Lake Havasu (Ariz.) Marine Association is adding to its boating safety campaign with the Designated Captain program.

“This is an entirely new and separate program,” Jim Salscheider, executive director of the Lake Havasu Marine Association, said in a statement. “Designated Captain is targeting recreational boaters who desire to delegate the responsibility of operating a boat to an experienced, licensed and sober captain.”

Ken Samp, owner/operator of Sunset Charters and Tours in Lake Havasu City, is heading up this new program. A pool of Coast Guard-licensed captains have been established, offering their services on an hourly basis for safe and sober vessel piloting to recreational boaters, both rental and privately owned.

Samp screens boaters and recommends captains who best suit the boater’s needs.

“We don’t want boaters hiring just anyone to take the responsibility of operating their boat,” Salscheider said. “If you’re going to turn the helm over to someone else you want to be sure that the person is reliable, experienced and capable. With the Designated Captain program, boaters are assured that their captain for the day is qualified and sober.”

Samp can be reached at (928) 716-8687 or


One comment on “Arizona group unveils ‘designated captain’ program

  1. Bob Adriance

    A few years ago, BoatUS marine insurance looked at alcohol-related claims that resulted in serious injuries and fatalities and found that only about 20% were collisions. The rest were passengers falling or jumping overboard, passengers falling off of fly bridges, tumbling down companionway ladders, etc. The Journal of American Medical Assoc. did a study and found almost the same percentage.

    Nobody would argue that a sober captain isn’t important on a boat. But if having a designated captain aboard gives everyone else aboard a license to drink too much, then it will be opening that captain up to a huge potential liability problem. A boat is not a car; he or she can’t drive a boat and also watch after a group of people who have had too much to drink.

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