MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The US Coast Guard announced Saturday that they intercepted two pleasure crafts on Friday, with a total of 28 people aboard, that were operating as illegal charters near Star Island.

The crafts were the 75-foot pleasure craft, Lady H and the 78-foot pleasure craft, Own the Night, officials said.

“Illegal charters can be dangerous especially with unqualified and untrained operators who are unaware of what to do in maritime emergency situations, which puts your life and those of your friends and family in danger,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Trey Nuniz, a Coast Guard boarding officer. “Before you step aboard a vessel ask to see the captain’s credentials and to see their vessel’s certificate of inspection so you can ensure the vessel has all the required safety equipment required aboard in case of an emergency.”

Coast Guard officials said owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $60,000 or over for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations.

They also said that charters that violate a ‘Captain of the Port Order’ can face over $95,000 in fines.

The craft operators face the following violations:

• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 for failure of a vessel of greater than 5 gross tons to have a Certificate of Documentation while in Coastwise trade.

Here are some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a charter vessel:

• Up to $7,846 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
• Up to $4,888 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers.
• Up to $16,687 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
• Up to $12,219 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than six passengers.
• Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.

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