The party at sea may be over for a yacht called No Rules II and its owner who was seen on social media providing over-the-top party experiences.
Only NBC 6 was there Wednesday as federal agents boarded the yacht that docks in one of South Florida’s top neighborhoods.
A criminal complaint filed in federal court alleges the owner of No Rules II, Seth Gissen, was doing just that - not following the rules.
The Coast Guard says in October 2017 its team members did a routine boarding on the No Rules II and found it was “operating illegally as a charter vessel with passengers for hire.” Days later, Gissen was given a hand-delivered letter to “immediately cease operations."
Then, on August 4, 2018, a Coast Guard team says they saw the No Rules II in Biscayne Bay and stopped it because it “appeared overloaded” with approximately 50 passengers. An investigator says after it was docked for further inspection, he heard Gissen "instructing his passengers to tell the Coast Guard that the passengers and Gissen were friends" and it was not a charter. But the passengers told Coast Guard agents they were celebrating a bachelor party and had paid $5,500 for the charter.
A week later, the Coast Guard says it again stopped the yacht in the bay because it "appeared heavily loaded with people." The agents reported as they were boarding the boat, it began discharging sewage waste that sprayed them. They say Gissen was standing near the controls at the time of discharge.
As a result, Gissen now faces federal charges for operating an illegal charter. He was jailed and posted a $50,000 bond to be released.
His attorney, Joel Hischorn, told NBC 6 that Gissen had no ill will but did not use the best judgment. He doesn’t believe what Gissen is accused of rises to a level of a criminal act. The charges against Gissen could land him in federal prison for up to six years if he’s convicted.
For several years, Gissen’s neighbors in the walled off community called Bay Point on Biscayne Boulevard have been complaining to Miami Police about Gissen and the boating operation.
NBC 6 found more than 50 calls to 911 in the past few years. The calls were for reports of fighting, a drug overdose and loud music among other things.
"He’s constantly having a party on his boat," said Johan Sohn, who lives in the neighborhood. "Then when they return a lot of them are intoxicated, are trashed, there are sometimes fights."
Florida’s Fish and Wildlife confirms a man and woman who had been on the No Rules II in August 2017 were killed after they left the boat to get on jet skis operated by a different company.
Sabrina LaShea, 34, and Julio Monteiro, 30, died when they crashed into a pole. FWC says the pair had been drinking before the crash.
Gissen wasn’t ticketed for the crash. His attorney, Hirschhorn says Gissen had nothing to do with their deaths because they left the boat.
The Coast Guard is sending out a warning to tourists and those in South Florida who want to hire a charter.
"We can't stress enough the importance of asking the captain to verify his license and looking into the charter company that you are going to book,” said LCDR Ryan Kelley. "If you notice anything suspicious contact the Coast Guard. Furthermore, if the Captain of the charter asks anyone to mislead federal officers or Coast Guard boarding team members by lying to them, this should be an instant red flag. I would urge charter passengers to not partake in this activity, if you do, you also could be found in violation of Federal law."