Coast Guard halts illegal charter in Miami

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team board the 42-foot pleasure craft, Breaking the Habit, after a passenger injury was reported to Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders Sept. 7, 2019. Watchstanders determined that the vessel was operating in violation of a previous Captain of the Port order and the boarding team terminated the voyage. (Coast Guard Photo)

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team board the 42-foot pleasure craft, Breaking the Habit, after a passenger injury was reported to Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders Sept. 7, 2019.  (Coast Guard Photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of the 42-foot pleasure craft, Breaking the Habit, with 13 passengers aboard Saturday near Miami Marine Stadium.

Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders received a report of a passenger injury aboard the Breaking the Habit. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue arrived on scene and transferred the injured passenger to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Watchstanders determined that the vessel was operating illegally and in violation of a previous Captain of the Port order. A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team conducted the boarding of the pleasure craft and discovered the following violations:

  1. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100A for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  2. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515B for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel.
  3. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401A for employment of an individual without the appropriate license.
  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. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter.
  6. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 for a vessel of greater than 5 gross tons not having a certificate of documentation with appropriate endorsement.
  7. Violation of 33 C.F.R. 160.105 for failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.

“The Coast Guard will continue to aggressively pursue vessel operators who place the lives of patrons at risk by not complying with Coast Guard passenger vessel regulations,” said Lt. Brandon Earhart, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Miami Beach. “I want to remind people that before getting underway, ask to see the captain’s credentials, vessel inspection certificate, and safety plan. If there is any doubt, don’t go. Don’t put your life and the lives of your family and friends in the hands of an unlicensed operator.”

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $59,000 for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations and over. Charters that violate a Captain of the Port Order can face over $94,000 in penalties. Some potential fines for illegally operating a charter vessel are:

  • Up to $7,710 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
  • Up to $4,803 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers.
  • Up to $16,398 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
  • Up to $12,007 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than six passengers.
  • Up to $94,219 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.


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