Coast Guard warns of illegal charters for shuttle launch

PORT CANAVERAL — The U.S. Coast Guard is warning consumers of illegal charter boats poised to take paying customers to see the final space shuttle launch. The coast guard will be on the lookout for illegal charters on July 8 as the shuttle launches.

“Hiring someone operating a passenger vessel illegally can be very dangerous,” Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Ricks told Florida Today. “If someone suspects they may be hiring an illegal passenger vessel the best thing to do is not put their lives in jeopardy and walk away.

The article offered these tips to find a reputable charter:
• Ask to see an insurance certificate and captains license
• Verify the captain’s license status on the Coast Guard website
• Be suspicious if there is no contact phone number
• Ask how many the boat is certified to carry, and if it is more than six, as to see the inspection certificate

Operating a charter without a license is serious: the operator could face civil penalties of up to $35,000.

To read the full article, go to: Space shuttle watchers: Be on lookout for illegal boat charters

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