Coast Guard halts illegal charter in Longboat Pass

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In conjunction with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a 21-foot uninspected passenger vessel Friday near Longboat Pass.

FWC observed the uninspected passenger vessel, which is only rated for six passengers, operating with seven passengers for hire and boarded the vessel.

During the boarding, the FWC officer discovered the following violation:

  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100A for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.

“The safety of charter vessel passengers is a top priority for the Coast Guard,” said Brain Knapp, Investigations Division Chief at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “We work every day with FWC and other partner law enforcement agencies to ensure illegal charters are identified and terminated.”

The Coast Guard can initiate suspension and revocation actions against a licensed captain who commits violations. Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $58,389 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations. Some potential fines for illegally operating a charter vessel are:

  • Up to $18,477 for failure of an inspected vessel to be under the control of an individual with the appropriate Coast Guard license.
  • Up to $7,250 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
  • Up to $4,685 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers.
  • Up to $15,995 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
  • Up to $11,712 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than six passengers.

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