Their time on The Program was cut short when the Coast Guard cut in.
Crews found that the operators of the 86-foot luxury yacht named The Program were running an illegal charter — they were not properly licensed to take paying customers out on the water, the Coast Guard said Friday.
The fancy yacht was stopped Thursday near the Miami Sea Buoy, which is approximately five miles east, northeast of Government Cut. There were 12 people aboard, the Coast Guard said.
“The Coast Guard will continue to aggressively pursue vessel operators who place the lives of passengers at risk by not complying with Coast Guard passenger vessel regulations,” Lt. j.g. John Roddy, executive officer of the Coast Guard cutter Flores, said in a news release. “Safety is always the number one priority when out on the water.”
Crews found several violations including failure to have appropriate merchant mariner credentials, failure to have a drug and alcohol program and an inadequate number of approved lifebuoys.
The owners and operators of illegal charter vessels could face nearly $60,000 in fines for violations.
Thursday’s stop comes as the Coast Guard continues efforts to regulate charter boat companies. Earlier this month, a catamaran named Shared Adventure was stopped in the waters near Fort Lauderdale after crews found several violations.
“Unqualified operators put yourself, passengers and other boaters in danger,” Roddy said in the release. “Before you step off the pier onto a boat you charter, you should ask to see the captain’s boating license, request to see their certificate of inspection and their safety plan.”