‘Captain’ for hire busted for boating under the influence during Gasparilla

Investigations

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A “captains for hire” website is trying to figure out how it missed the DUI arrest of one of its skippers and is discussing reimbursing customers for what turned into a nightmare on Gasparilla evening.

AnchorRides.com offers captains for hire for about $50 dollars an hour.

One of its “captains,” Nathan Stasio, is not a captain at all, according to Coast Guard records.

That didn’t stop AnchorRides.com from advertising Stasio as a captain for hire on its website.

Stasio was hired for $50 dollars an hour for an eight hour shift for the Gasparilla invasion.

The boat owner, who asked not to be identified, said Stasio performed his duties well.

The owner and his party got off the boat in Tampa. He paid Stasio another $250 dollars to take the vessel back to Clearwater.

During the ride back, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officer spotted Stasio speeding through an idle zone.

He later arrested Stasio on a charge of boating under the influence as well as a drug charge, manufacture of cannabis.

Last week AnchorRides.com CEO Zach Hatraf assured us his so called “captains” were all well vetted.

“We do criminal, drug [background checks.] We are looking for things like theft. We’re looking for things like drug use, previous DUIs,” said Hatraf. “Things like that, anything violent, we just have a zero tolerance policy for.”

The company hired to run background checks for Hatraf missed Stasio’s 2015 DUI arrest and his 2017 arrest for violating probation.

We tried to ask Stasio about Saturday night.

“Get off my property,” he said. “Stop harassing me, stop calling my phone.”

To make matters worse, the owner of the boat that Stasio piloted had to pay another $1,050 dollars to get his boat towed back to Clearwater.

Hatraf initially responded, “Anchor is not responsible for activities beyond the scope of our contracts.”

He wrote, “When a customer goes around the Anchor platform, they (and the Skipper) are in violation of our Terms of Service. My advice for anyone looking to pay around a service provider like Anchor, Uber, Lyft, etc. would be to expect a much lower level of service when doing so.”

Since then, he says he learned of Stasio’s DUI history, which would have made him ineligible for the site.

“We did not get a flag on it, that’s really our job,” explained Hatraf.

In a text he wrote, “It’s obvious in this particular individual’s case that something was missed. Although we believe this is an isolated incident, we will still be rerunning background checks on every new profile created since our launch. That’s 200 + profiles and will cost the company thousands of dollars. Money well spent to keep our customers safe.”

Last week we reported that although the website was advertising Stasio as a captain, the Coast Guard confirmed he is not a licensed captain.

The owner of the boat is outraged and said he will never use this service again.

Hatraf added if Stasio falsified information the company will take legal action against him. If missing the arrest record is the company’s fault, it will discuss reimbursing the customer.

“We can’t charge anybody for a service that isn’t rendered properly,” explained Hatraf.

If you know of something that you think should be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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