Broward County

Ask the right questions when paying for a boat ride. These people learned the hard way

A U.S. Coast Guard crew stopped a 47-foot catamaran named Shared Adventure Aug. 11 for conducting an illegal charter.
A U.S. Coast Guard crew stopped a 47-foot catamaran named Shared Adventure Aug. 11 for conducting an illegal charter. U.S. Coast Guard/Station Fort Lauderdale

For seven people, a trip on the catamaran named Shared Adventure in the waters near Fort Lauderdale ended up being a stopped adventure when the U.S. Guard came aboard.

The 47-foot catamaran was stopped Sunday for a safety check. There were seven passengers aboard.

Crews found that the operators were conducting an illegal charter and had several violations, including not having a valid certificate of inspection and not having the appropriate merchant mariner credential.

“Illegal charters violate the safety of people’s lives at sea within the maritime domain, and the safety of lives at sea is our top priority,” said Lt. j.g. Peter Hutchinson, executive officer of Station Fort Lauderdale, in a news release.

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels may face fines up to nearly $60,000 for violations, the Coast Guard said.

The voyage termination is part of an ongoing effort to crack down on illegal charter boat companies. Last month, the Coast Guard stopped a boat near Marco Island for operating without a license.

Hutchinson said a person chartering a boat must make sure the person or company is operating legally.

“Before you step aboard, get underway or even pay for a chartered vessel, ask the captain to see his or her credentials, inspection certificate and vessel safety plan,” he said in the release. “You have the right to see these items, because you are putting your life at risk and in danger when you get underway on a vessel without a properly credentialed mariner. That risk isn’t worth your life.”

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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