ST. LOUIS— The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of an illegal passenger vessel July 1, 2023 on Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.
Coast Guard Station St. Louis law enforcement officers terminated the voyage of a 28-foot vessel carrying 12 passengers that was found to be in violation of numerous safety and legal violations.
Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River issued a Captain of the Port Order requiring the operator of the vessel to immediately cease commercial operations until it is in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100 (a) – Failure to have a valid Certificate of Inspection.
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 – Failure to have a valid Certificate of Documentation endorsed for Coastwise Trade.
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401 (a) – Failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.123 – Failure to have vessel marking requirements match the Certificate of Documentation.
Owners and operators of illegal passenger vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $60,000 or more for illegal passenger for hire operations. Charters that violate a Captain of the Port Order can face a penalty of over $111,000. Some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a passenger vessel are:
- Up to $5,661 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire.
- Up to $9,086 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a drug and alcohol program.
- Up to $19,324 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
“Lake of the Ozarks is one of the most dangerous lakes in America due to the high number of fatal boating accidents,” said Lt. Eric Kiehlmeier, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River chief of prevention. “We urge anyone paying for a trip on a passenger vessel to verify that their captain has a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection and a Merchant Mariner Credential. If the captain can’t produce their license, don’t get on the boat.”
To report potential illegal charters, please contact the Sector Upper Mississippi Command Center at 314-269-2332 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org