Coast Guard suspends illegal charter near Destin, Fla.

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office suspended an illegal charter operation Sunday near Destin Pass, Fla.

The illegal passenger-for-hire operation was terminated after determining the vessel was carrying more than six passengers without a valid Certificate of Inspection. The captain was arrested by Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office after suspicion of boating under the influence (BUI) and failing the field sobriety test.

Both vessels operated by Paradise Pontoon and Captain Service, the FL9085SS and FL1161PS, have active Captain of the Port Orders restricting them from operating with more than six passengers-for-hire. The FL9085SS was found in violation of the Captain of the Port Order and operating without a valid USCG Certificate of Inspection.

Potential violations for Illegal Charters are as follows:

  • 46 CFR 67.7: Failure to have a valid Certificate of Documentation endorsement for Coastwise Trade
  • 46 CFR 176.100(a): Failure to have a valid Certificate of Inspection
  • 46 CFR 180.71: Failure to have Type 1 flotation devices for all persons aboard while operating as a small passenger vessel
  • 46 CFR 16.201: Failure to have a Drug & Alcohol program
  • 46 CFR 15.401: Failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner
  • 46 CFR 15.515(b): Failure to have an appropriate merchant mariner credential while operating as a small passenger vessel

Owners and operators can face maximum civil penalties of $60,000.

Charters violating a Captain of the Port Order can face a maximum penalty of $95,881.

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