A charter operator is facing tens of thousands of dollars in potential fines after the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted the overloaded boat off Cruz Bay, St. John, on Sunday.
According to the Coast Guard, the 29-foot vessel Alternate Attitude was carrying 10 passengers and the captain on a paid excursion in excess of the six-passenger limit.
The Alternate Attitude, reportedly operating as a charter voyage out of St. Thomas for Alliance Point Charters, may only carry up to six passengers, according to a news release.
A Coast Guard boarding team cited the vessel operator with not having a valid certificate of inspection.
“The Coast Guard wants to ensure the safety of vessel operators, crewmembers and passengers when engaging on charters,” said Lt. J.G. Lloyd Banks, the assistant supervisor of Marine Safety Detachment St. Thomas. “We want to support legal operations and assist non-compliant charters to come into compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Our ultimate goal is to facilitate commerce and prevent accidents at sea. We encourage vessel operators to reach out with their questions or concerns so that we can further enable industry partnerships in conducting safe and legal charter operations.”
In USVI waters, vessels less than 79 feet in length may carry a maximum of 12 passengers only if the vessel complies with the requirements established by the United Kingdom. Otherwise, it may only carry a maximum of six passengers.
Owners and operators of illegal passenger vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $60,000 or more for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations. Charters can face over $95,000.