Fort Lauderdale charter pontoon boat was operating illegally, Coast Guard says

A Fort Lauderdale-based pontoon boat that ran charters was grounded Sunday after Coast Guard crews found several safety violations, the Coast Guard said.

“It’s important that people looking to charter a boat verify the captain’s license and safety of the vessel,” Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin Mercado, investigation officer at Sector Miami said in a news release. “Educating yourself on what to look for in a legitimate operation can ensure that you have a safe and fun time on the water.”

According to the Coast Guard, there were 10 people on the 28-foot pontoon boat at the 15th Street Marina in Fort Lauderdale.

Crews found several safety violations, including not having a valid Certificate of Inspection and not have a “credentialed mariner” in control of the boat. The owners also didn’t have a program requiring the operators to be tested for drugs and alcohol, the Coast Guard said.

The violations could cost the owners and operators more than $40, 000 in civil penalties.

Last weekend, the Coast Guard stopped a charter boat in Biscayne Bay named “Sea You Twerk,” and cite the operators with several violations.