Coast Guard halts illegal charter yacht at Miami marina

Concerned passenger alerts Coast Guard after 'Zenith' collided with bridge

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor

The owner and operator of a 64-foot charter yacht named "Zenith," docked at the Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center, is facing thousands of dollars in fines.

MIAMI - The U.S. Coast Guard said it has put a stop to an illegal charter boat's planned voyage.

A Coast Guard crew boarded the 65-foot pleasure yacht named "Zenith" on Saturday at the Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center.

According to a Coast Guard news release, the yacht was illegally conducting passenger-for-hire cruises without the proper certification.

A concerned passenger notified the Coast Guard after the yacht collided with the Venetian Causeway, which connects Miami to Miami Beach, in Biscayne Bay earlier in the day.

The Coast Guard said the Zenith didn't have a valid certificate of inspection or stability letter and was not using a credentialed mariner. The owner and operator of the Zenith faces up to $41,546 in fines.

U.S. Coast Guard

A picture from the U.S. Coast Guard shows the "Zenith" after it collided with the Venetian Causeway in Biscayne Bay.

"We urge people to request to see the vessel operator's valid credentials or proof of required inspection or examination before hiring a charter vessel," Petty Officer 1st Class Emily White said. "Passengers are risking their safety by hiring a charter vessel without a credentialed mariner in charge or aboard an uninspected vessel, which is subject to federal regulations."

The yacht remained docked at the marina Monday morning.

No injuries were reported after the collision, and there was no damage to the bridge.

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