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Coast Guard: Illegal Charter Found Near Seminole Boat Ramp

US Coast Guard District 7 | Illegal Charter | Crime

Owners and operators of illegal passenger vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $60,000 or more for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations.

ST. PETERSBURG – Officers from Coast Guard Station Sand Key terminated an illegal charter near the Seminole boat ramp.

The 18-foot vessel had seven passengers and one non-credentialed mariner operating the boat as an illegal passenger-for-hire small passenger vessel. Officers issued three citations: Failure to have a valid Certificate of Inspection, Failure to have a Credentialed Mariner in Control While Operating a Small Passenger Vessel, and Failure to Have a Drug and Alcohol Program.

“Illegal passenger-for-hire operations can be extremely dangerous,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick McIntosh, Station Sand Key boarding team member. “You are putting your life in the captain’s hands any time you get underway.”

The Coast Guard urges passengers to verify their captain has a safety plan and a Coast Guard license. For larger charter boats or those with more than six passengers, ask to see a Coast Guard issued Certificate of Inspection. If the operator cannot produce appropriate credentials, passengers should not get on the boat.

Owners and operators of illegal passenger vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $60,000 or more for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations. Owners and operators that violate a Captain of the Port Order can face over $95,000 in penalties.

Anyone with information regarding an illegal charter is encouraged to contact Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg at (727) 824-7506.

PHOTO COURTESY OF U.S. COAST GUARD DISTRICT 7.

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