Illegal charter operation stopped by Coast Guard in Fort Lauderdale

Pontoon with 10 people aboard found with multiple violations

FORT LAUDERDALE - The United States Coast Guard on Sunday terminated the voyage of a 28-foot pontoon after discovering multiple safety violations.

The pontoon had 10 people aboard, officials said.

A law enforcement crew boarded the boat in Fort Lauderdale and discovered violations of not having a valid certificate of inspection, not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel, failure to have a drug or alcohol program and failure to have a valid stability letter.

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 five passengers. 
  • Up to $11,712 for failure to have been issued a valid stability letter prior to placing a vessel in service with more than six passengers.

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