Miami-Dade County

Coast Guard continued efforts to crack down on illegal charter boats on last day of Ultra

Coast Guard

The Coast Guard, with the help of local law enforcement, continued its efforts to crack down on illegal charter boats Sunday, the last day of Ultra Music Festival.

The three-day festival, which was held for the first time on Virginia Key, not only increased traffic on the streets, but in South Florida waters as well.

Sunday alone, the Coast Guard and Bal Harbour Police Department stopped three boats at Haulover Inlet. A fourth boat was stopped near the Miami River.

The Coast Guard “terminated the voyage” of three separate boats between Friday and Saturday.

“People illegally chartering vessels and putting their passengers as well as other boaters in danger is something we take very seriously,” said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Tilghman, prevention duty officer at Coast Guard 7th District, in a news release Sunday. “We will continue to maintain a presence in the water and seek out maximum penalties for people who put others at risk through these illegal operations.”

According to the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale law enforcement crew, along with the Bal Harbour Police Department, boarded three separate pleasure crafts at Haulover Inlet. Among the violations found: Not having a valid certificate of inspection; Not having a “credentialed mariner” operating the vessel and Not having a drug and alcohol program.

A fourth boarding took place near the Miami River where crews found similar violations.

Violating charter boat laws could cost owners and operators a maximum of $58,000 in penalties.

In recent months, the Coast Guard has halted several illegal charters. In March, two vessels were stopped in the matter of two days for not having a properly licensed person at the helm, among other violations.

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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.