Coast Guard halts 2 illegal charters near Miami

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team boards a pleasure craft near Miami, Florida, Aug. 29, 2020. A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 45-foot Response Boat—Medium boarding team boarded the vessels, I Need to Relax and Sea Devil, discovered multiple violations and terminated the voyages. (Coast Guard Photo)

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team boards a pleasure craft near Miami, Florida, Aug. 29, 2020.  (Coast Guard Photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated two illegal charters Sunday near Miami.

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boarding team boarded the vessels, I Need to Relax and Sea Devil, and discovered the following violations:

  1. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  2. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515(b) for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating as a small passenger vessel.
  3. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter.
  4. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  5. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401(a) for failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.
  6. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 for failure of a vessel of greater than 5 gross tons to have a Certificate of Documentation while in Coastwise trade.

A Captain of the Port order will be issued to each vessel operator.

“Using unqualified operators puts yourself, passengers and other boaters in danger,” said Lt. Cmdr. Juan C. Avila, Coast Guard Sector Miami chief of enforcement “Before you step off the pier onto a boat you charter, you should ask to see the captain’s boating license, request to see their certificate of inspection and their safety plan.”

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face civil penalties of $60,000 or more for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations. Charters that violate a Captain of the Port order can face over $95,000 in civil penalties. Some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a charter vessel are:

  • Up to $7,846 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
  • Up to $4,888 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire.
  • Up to $16,687 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
  • Up to $12,219 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than passengers for hire.
  • Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port order.

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