US Coast Guard warns of illegal charter boats
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG / WECP) – The upcoming July 4th weekend is known as one of the busiest of the year for boaters. But the US Coast Guard is warning people that many chartered boats charge for trips without being properly authorized. So, before you embark on your next aquatic adventure, take the time to make sure your commute is legitimate.
Lt. Steve Browning said some boat owners took people out on the water pretending to be a charter service.
“This is a serious concern. I mean Coast Guard, we want everyone to be safe, ”said Lt. Browning.
There are a few things to watch out for before you and your family board one of these illegal charters. Lieutenant Browning said you should ask things like, “Is that a captain title?” Does he have a license? Is it an inspected vessel? “
One of the main credentials to verify before boarding is a registered captain’s license.
“Like if you board a plane or get into a taxi, the person driving you in that mode of transport has a license to take you from point A to point B,” Lt said. Browning.
This license applies to everything from dolphin trips to fishing charters.
“If you ever are looking to charter a vessel and the captain tells you, you have to go to Walmart and buy a fishing license, that is not a legitimate charter service,” said Chelsea Ray, manager of the Marketing of Captain Anderson’s Marina.
Lt. Browning said they arrested unlicensed captains every day. This means that these boats have not been inspected either.
“If you go out on a ship and pay, and you have more than six people on board, that boat needs to be inspected. He must have a Coast Guard inspection certificate from a marine inspector indicating that it is safe to operate on water, stability, rescue, firefighting, ”said Lt. Browning.
Certified charter boat captain Eric Washington said it really is about safety.
“We have all the training, all the safety equipment. In the event of a problem, we are CPR certified. We will be able to help you. We will have the safety equipment if we have some type of failure, ”Washington said.
U.S. Coast Guard officials have said all illegal charters are investigated if brought to their attention. If caught without a proper license, operators can face fines of $ 46,000.
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