Coast Guard halts illegal charter operation in Fort Lauderdale

Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale crewmembers board a 28-foot pontoon boat Feb. 17, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale. The boat was in violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100A for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection, 46 C.F.R. 15.515B for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel, 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program and 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter. (Coast Guard Photo)

Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale crewmembers board a 28-foot pontoon boat Feb. 17, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale. (Coast Guard Photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a 28-foot pontoon vessel with 10 people aboard Sunday at 15th Street Marina, Fort Lauderdale after discovering multiple safety violations.

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boatcrew conducted the boarding of the pontoon vessel in Fort Lauderdale where they discovered the following violations:

  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100A for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515B for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter.

“It’s important that people looking to charter a boat verify the captain’s license and safety of the vessel,” said Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin Mercado, investigation officer at Coast Guard Sector Miami. “Educating yourself on what to look for in a legitimate operation can ensure that you have a safe and fun time on the water.”


Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $42,394 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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