Coast Guard halts second weekend illegal charter in Miami

A 32-foot pleasure craft that was boarded by a Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team in the Miami River, Florida, Mar. 16, 2019. The Coast Guard terminated the vessel's voyage after boarding it and discovering the crew was conducting an illegal charter operation. (Coast Guard Photo)

A 32-foot pleasure craft that was boarded by a Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team in the Miami River, Florida, Mar. 16, 2019. (Coast Guard Photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a 32-foot pleasure craft with 11 passengers aboard Saturday in the Miami River making this the second illegal charter operation in the Miami area interdicted in two days.

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 33-foot Special Purpose Craft—Law Enforcement boatcrew conducted the boarding of the pleasure craft in the Miami River where they 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.

“It can be very dangerous to take part in a charter that doesn’t meet regulations and educating yourself on what to look for to determine whether or not the operation is legitimate can save your life,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Paula Verden, watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Miami. “It’s important that people looking to charter a boat verify the captain’s license and safety of the vessel.”

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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