Coast Guard terminates voyage of unsafe passenger vessel

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla.– Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown, Fla., and Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., terminated the voyage of an unlicensed, sight-seeing tour boat in Crystal River, Wednesday, due to numerous safety violations.

The 29-foot pontoon boat was inspected by Coast Guard boarding officers and was found to be overloaded with 23 passengers, operating in excess of six passengers without proper licensing or sufficient number of lifejackets.

Commercial passenger vessels are required to meet specific safety standards, which include having properly certified operators, proper lifesaving and firefighting equipment, and drug testing programs for crewmembers.

“The Coast Guard is conducting these types of boardings on tour vessels in the Crystal Riverarea to ensure compliance with federal regulations,” aid Lt. Christian Barger, chief investigating officer at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “We want people to be safe and to make sure that they are going out on properly licensed and safe boats when they go out.”

The public is encouraged to inquire with tour operators regarding their compliance with applicable Coast Guard regulations before getting underway on the vessel. Passenger vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire will have a Coast Guard certification sticker displayed onboard. All passenger vessel operators should have a license issued by the Coast Guard.

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