Coast Guard stops illegal charter near Fort Lauderdale

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement team conducts a boarding of the 20-foot pontoon vessel in the Cox’s Landing 15th Street boat ramp, Fort Lauderdale, Dec. 28, 2020. The vessel had eight people aboard, seven were passengers for hire and one owner operating as an illegal small passenger vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement team conducts a boarding of the 20-foot pontoon vessel in the Cox’s Landing 15th Street boat ramp, Fort Lauderdale, Dec. 28, 2020. The vessel had eight people aboard, seven were passengers for hire and one owner operating as an illegal small passenger vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated an illegal charter of the 20-foot pontoon vessel, FL6393PC, Monday in the Cox’s Landing 15th Street boat ramp in Fort Lauderdale.

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement team conducted a boarding of the vessel with eight people aboard: seven were passengers for hire and one owner operating as an illegal small passenger vessel.

The voyage was terminated and cited for the following violations:

  1. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a)-for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  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. 15.515(b)- for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel.
  4. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401(a)- for failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.
  5. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 180.71- for failure to ensure there are appropriate number of life jackets for persons on board and that life jackets comply with 180.71(a)-(e).

“The owner of the vessel should not be the operator of a bareboat charter,” said Lt. Jody Stiger, marine investigator at Coast Guard Sector Miami. “The owner can provide a list of captains to choose from, allowing the charterer to have complete control in selecting a captain and crew they want.”

Owners and operators of illegal passenger 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 passenger 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 for hire.
  • 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 for hire.
  • Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.

For more information about bareboat charters, please click here.

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