As summer kicks off, tourists, locals, and all in between will rush to enjoy the South Florida oceans and waterways by boat, but Coast Guard officials warn that this may not always be as simple as it seems.
In recent years, there has been a spree of illegal charter busts in Miami Beach and surrounding areas, an occurrence that is not expected to slow anytime soon, according to U.S. Coast Guard officials in Miami.
Many charters illegally operate with no permits or proper licensing, no valid completion of safety training or drug and alcohol testing, and no certificate of verified inspection.
When caught, they are eligible for termination of use of their vessels as well as monetary penalties and criminal prosecution.
To protect against trouble with the law and ensure personal safety, the Coast Guard is encouraging charter goers to take precautions before taking to the seas.
One way to do so is to ask the captain for proper documentation prior to chartering a vessel, thus ensuring all requirements are met before putting yourself at risk of chartering an illegal vessel.
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