Even though Black said the ship's engine is in fine shape and he doesn't believe it is polluting the waters, the state requires all commercial vessels to be equipped with new engines that reduce emissions in compliance with the Commercial Harbor Craft Regulation.
The purpose of the law, which was adopted Nov. 15, 2007, by the California Air Resources Board, is to reduce the amount of pollution caused by diesel engines on commercial harbor craft that operate within 24 nautical miles of the California coast.
Although the new law seems like it is three years old, it didn't actually go into effect until 2009, which is why the Catalina Flyer is having to search for a replacement boat until the new engines are bought and installed.
Large commercial vessels generally can keep their engines for up to 15 years before they have to replace them in accordance with the Commercial Harbor Craft Regulation, Black said, adding that the Catalina Flyer's engines were bought in 1998 and are due to expire shortly.
He said there is a special incentive, the Carl Moyer program, that's distributing money to various owners of commercial craft to help the businesses buy new engines in accordance with the law.
He's partaking in the program, he said.
With the winter season approaching, Black said he doesn't expect to lose as much money or as many customers had he been forced to buy a new engine during the summer months.
Still, Black said the eight-member crew is going to lose their jobs until the ship is back up and running by February.
Long Beach-based Catalina Express, however, will still offer trips to Catalina on a daily basis out of Long Beach and Dana Point, Black said.
The Catalina Flyer, the largest passenger-carrying catamaran on the West Coast, has been in business since the 1960s, he said.
Commercial Harbor Craft Regulation
What harbor craft owners need to do to comply:
•Since Jan. 1, 2009, all commercial harbor craft are required to install a non-resettable hour meter on each engine of their vessel operation.
•All diesel engines on commercial harbor craft must be fueled with California Air Resource Board diesel fuel, with a sulfur content less than or equal to 15 parts per million, or an alternative diesel fuel such as biodiesel.
•Engines on all new commercial harbor craft vessels will be required to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's marine engine emission standards.