Coast Guard halts illegal charter operation near near Hutchinson Island

An 18-foot pleasure craft with three people aboard Feb. 7, 2020 near Hutchinson Island, Florida. Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders received notification from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission of a possible illegal charter operating in the area and launched A Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce 33-foot Special Purpose Craft—Law Enforcement boatcrew who terminated the voyage after discovering multiple violations. (Coast Guard Photo)

An 18-foot pleasure craft with three people aboard Feb. 7, 2020 near Hutchinson Island, Florida.  (Coast Guard Photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of an 18-foot pleasure craft with three people aboard Friday in the vicinity of Hutchinson Island for conducting an illegal charter.

Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders received notification from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission of a possible illegal charter operating in the area. A Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boatcrew conducted the boarding of the pleasure craft and discovered the following violations:

  1. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 26.20-1 for failure to have a merchant mariner credential onboard.
  2. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  3. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 25.25-5(c) for failure to have the appropriate life jackets.
  4. Violation of 33 C.F.R. 110(a) for failure to have distress signals.

“Illegal charters violate the safety of people’s lives at sea within the maritime domain and the safety of lives at sea is our top priority,” said Lt. Chris Mosquera, supervisor of Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Lake Worth Inlet. “Before you step aboard, get underway or even pay for a chartered vessel, ask the captain to see his or her credentials, inspection certificate and vessel safety plan. You have the right to see these items, because you are putting your life at risk and in danger when you get underway on a vessel without a properly credentialed mariner. That risk isn’t worth your life.”


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 $18,943 for failure of an inspected vessel to be under the control of an individual with the appropriate Coast Guard license.
  • 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.


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