Coast Guard halts 2 illegal charter operations in Miami

Vessels do not have proper credentials, officials say

By Annabelle Caceres - Local 10 Intern
Coast Guard

Pictured is a 24-foot pontoon boat that was boarded by a Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team near Watson Island, Florida, Mar. 15, 2019. The Coast Guard terminated the vessel's voyage after boarding it and discovering the crew was…

MIAMI - The Coast Guard continued its crackdown on illegal charter vessels this weekend.

On Friday, the Coast Guard ended the voyage of a 24-foot pontoon vessel with seven passengers aboard near Watson Island after discovering multiple safety violations. On Saturday, a 32-foot pleasure craft with 11 passengers was stopped on the Miami River.

A Coast Guard station near Miami Beach 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boat crew conducted both searches on the boats and found four violations.

The boats did not have a valid certificate of inspection, a drug and alcohol program, a valid stability letter or a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel.

“It can be very dangerous to take part in a charter that doesn’t meet regulations, and educating yourself on what to look for to determine whether or not the operation is legitimate can save your life,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Paula Verden, a watch stander at Coast Guard Sector Miami. “It’s important that people looking to charter a boat verify the captain’s license and safety of the vessel.”

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $42,394 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations.

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