PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — While at the beach, it’s understandable to want to indulge in all the activities the water has to offer.
Boating, in particular, causes an issue the Coast Guard said they see too often.
“If you go on a plane, you ensure that the pilot has a license. If you get in a taxi the driver has a license, and your safety is kind of in their hands. It goes the same way on the boating side of the house,” said Lieutenant Steve Browning.
If you pay to go on a boat, then that boat is considered to be a commercial service. A commercial boat captain is required by law to be U.S. Coast Guard certified.
“That means he’s passed navigational rules, he has done the required time and he’s been given a license to navigate the vessel,” said Browning.
The Coast Guard said all boat owners, private or commercial, are required to have the certification if they charge people for rides.
“And in doing so they don’t carry a credential, they’re not an inspected boat, their boat hasn’t been checked for safety items, and that’s illegal. That’s an illegal charter,” said Browning.
The Coast Guard asked that you know before you go, ask questions and find out if the captain navigating the commercial boat you’re riding on has credentials. If they don’t…
“They could face fines up to 46,000 dollars and be subject to criminal order,” said Browning.