CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — The U.S. Coast Guard shut down an illegal tiki boat operation in John’s Pass on Sunday.
USCG and Treasure Island Police Department marine patrol unit officers terminated the 23-foot boat after they determined it was operating as an illegal small passenger vessel.
The tiki boat was allegedly operating as a bareboat charter.
But officials terminated the voyage, sending the nine passengers, and the boat, back to Treasure Island Marina.
“Under a bareboat charter contract, the person who rents the charter must be given the option to hire any captain of their choosing, or operate the boat themselves,” Brian Knapp, senior investigating officer at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg said. “If a bareboat renter is assigned a captain without any options, the bareboat charter designation no longer applies.”
Violations include failure to have a valid certification of inspection, not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating the vessel, and failure to have a drug and alcohol program, according to the USCG.
USCG also said owners of illegal charter vessels can face maximum penalties of up to $111,031 for violation of a Captain of the Port Order and over $60,000 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations.