MIAMI – An illegal charter boat was busted by the U.S. Coast Guard over the weekend near Miami Marine Stadium, authorities said.
According to Coast Guard officials, 12 people were aboard the 62-foot boat named the Odyssey on Saturday.
Officials boarded the boat and found numerous violations, including not having a valid Certificate of Inspection, failing to have a valid stability letter, failure of a vessel greater than five gross tons to have a Certificate of Documentation with Coastwise endorsement, failure to have a drug and alcohol program, boat was not in control by an individual with the appropriate Merchant Mariner credential and employment of an individual without the appropriate Merchant Mariner credential.
“Before you step aboard a boat ask to see the captain’s credentials and their certificate of inspection to ensure the boat has all the required safety equipment required aboard in case of an emergency,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Pierce, a Station Miami Beach boarding officer. “Illegal charters can be dangerous with unqualified and untrained operators without the required safety equipment and awareness of what to do in maritime emergency situations.”
Owners and operators of illegal charter boats can face maximum civil penalties of $60,000, or more for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations.
Charters that violate a Captain of the Port Order can face more than $95,000 in fines.
Officials did not disclose details about the civil penalties given to the owner or operator of the Odyssey.