Coast Guard halts illegal charter on Miami River

Coast Guard Station Miami Beach crewmembers board the 49-foot pleasure craft, Natalie, on the Miami River in Florida, Dec. 7, 2019. The Coast Guard terminated the Natalie's voyage after they discovered it was an illegal charter operation. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ayisha Loya.

Coast Guard Station Miami Beach crewmembers board the 49-foot pleasure craft, Natalie, on the Miami River in Florida, Dec. 7, 2019. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ayisha Loya.

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of the 49-foot pleasure craft, Natalie, with 16 people aboard Saturday on the Miami River.

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 33-foot Special Purpose Craft—Law Enforcement boat crew conducted the boarding of the Natalie 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. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  4. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter.
  5. 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.

“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 Jesus Porrata, Coast Guard Sector Miami Investigations Division investigations officer. “Using unqualified operators puts yourself, passengers and other boaters in danger. 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 maximum civil penalties of over $59,000 for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations. 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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