PHOTO RELEASE: Coast Guard halts illegal passenger vessel operation near Sunset Key

united states coast guard 

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast
Contact: 7th District Public Affairs
Office: 305-415-6683
After Hours: 786-367-7649
7th District online newsroom

Coast Guard halts illegal passenger vessel operation near Sunset Key

Coast Guard halts illegal charter near Sunset Key Coast Guard halts illegal charter near Sunset Key


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KEY WEST, Fla. — The Coast Guard terminated an illegal passenger vessel operator Friday near Sunset Key.

A Coast Guard Station Key West 33-foot Special Purpose Craft—Law Enforcement boarding team conducted a boarding of the 40-foot vessel, Ocean Motion Too, with 10 passengers aboard and discovered the following violations: 

  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515(b) for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating as a small passenger vessel.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter. 
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401(a) for failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.  
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 for failure of a vessel of greater than 5 gross tons to have a Certificate of Documentation while in Coastwise trade.

“The Coast Guard will aggressively pursue any operator who is putting their customers at risk by operating outside these critical safety requirements,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Glynon Sells, boarding officer at Station Key West. “We urge anyone paying for a trip on a passenger vessel to ask to see the Merchant Mariner Credential of the vessel operator to verify their captain is properly credentialed by the Coast Guard.”

Owners and operators of illegal passenger vessels can face maximum civil penalties of: $60,000 or over for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations. Charters that violate a Captain of the Port Order can face over $95,000. Some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a passenger vessel are:

  • Up to $7,846 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
  • Up to $4,888 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire.
  • Up to $16,687 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
  • Up to $12,219 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than passengers for hire. 
  • Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.

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