Coast Guard halts illegal charter near Sea Isle Marina

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach law enforcement boarding team halts a 21-foot pontoon boat Friday, near Sea Isle Marina, Miami, Florida, July 17, 2020. The master of the vessel was citing for conducting an illegal charter. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach law enforcement boarding team halts a 21-foot pontoon boat Friday, near Sea Isle Marina, Miami, Florida, July 17, 2020. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a pleasure craft with eight people aboard, Thursday, who were operating as an illegal charter in the vicinity of Sea Isle Marina.

While on patrol, a Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boat crew conducted a boarding of the 21-foot pontoon discovered the following violations:

  1. Violation of 33 C.F.R. 160.105 failure to comply with Captain of the Port Order.
  2. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  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. 15.515(b) for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel.

“Before you step aboard a vessel ask to see the captain’s credentials and their vessel’s certificate of inspection to ensure the vessel has all the required safety equipment required aboard in case of an emergency,” said Jesus Porrata, chief of investigations, Sector Miami. “Illegal charters can be dangerous with unqualified and untrained operators unaware of what to do in maritime emergency situations.”

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of: $60,000 or over for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations. Charters that violate a Captain of the Port Order can face over $95,000. 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.
  • 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 six passengers.
  • Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.


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